Thursday, Dec 08, 2022
Outlook.com
Pedagogy

One Forgotten Chapter

Why is it that Ambedkar and his work does not get the rightful amount of space in textbooks?

One Forgotten Chapter
Nilotpal Baruah
One Forgotten Chapter
outlookindia.com
-0001-11-30T00:00:00+05:53

The professor may not have been alone in wondering as a child why Ambedkar was seldom described as anything more than the leader of the depressed castes. But teachers, most of them drawn from the forward castes, would possibly have given the matter hardly any thought. When the recent cartoon controversy broke out, Dalits said they could not but read it against the long history of exclusion—from textbooks—of one of the greatest leaders of India. It’s a dilemma they have always been aware of: while Ambedkar is seen as the tallest national leader from among the depressed castes, his representation in pedagogy has always been parenthetical, as a leader of a subset, not of the whole, as if his intellectual heft and his grand achievement—making equality and justice the cornerstones of a fledgling nation—were not enough to earn him a place in the national pantheon.

Think back to your schooldays, when students readily digested the life and times of Mahatma Gandhi and Jawaharlal Nehru in text and poem, skit and song. Ambedkar would appear but briefly, if at all. Annual days would see someone or the other dress up as a Gandhi or a Nehru. Few would remember someone dressing up as Ambedkar, suited, bespectacled, a copy of the Constitution in hand.

Outlook Newsletters

Read More from Outlook

Lament Of Separation: Songs Of Habba Khatun, Last Queen Of Kashmir, Still Echo In Valley

Lament Of Separation: Songs Of Habba Khatun, Last Queen Of Kashmir, Still Echo In Valley

In happy times and sad, Habba Khatun’s sensuous songs make both young and old emotional. With the never-ending conflict bringing tragedies to every doorstep, Habba’s lyrics of separation amplify their mourning.

How Indian Laws Govern People’s Right To Love And Live

How Indian Laws Govern People’s Right To Love And Live

In India, only those relationships between a man and a woman are considered to be legitimate when there is a marriage between the two.

Kohli Quits Test Captaincy, Leaves Leadership Vacuum

Kohli Quits Test Captaincy, Leaves Leadership Vacuum

Virat Kohli, 33, had recently stepped down as India's T20I captain and was subsequently removed as the ODI captain.

UP Elections 2022: How Congress Is Harnessing Power Of 'Persecuted' Women To Counter BJP

UP Elections 2022: How Congress Is Harnessing Power Of 'Persecuted' Women To Counter BJP

A Mahila Congress leader, who is the face of the ‘Ladki Hoon, Lad Sakti Hoon’ campaign, however, has accused the party of anti-women bias after she was denied a ticket.