By April 30, 2024All The Talks, videos page

Ambedkar meets Gandhi : A Complex Encounter

The Talk

Ashok Gopal talks about the dynamics between Dr. B.R. Ambedkar and Mahatma Gandhi . “Ambedkar versus Gandhi” is a commonly held view, based on popular narratives of their encounter in 1932, which led to the Poona Pact on political representation for the Depressed Classes. In one narrative, Gandhi emotionally blackmailed Ambedkar to agree to unfavourable terms. According to a contra interpretation, Gandhi won over Ambedkar with his soul force. Ashok Gopal contends that both views are flawed: The Ambedkar-Gandhi encounter was complex. Ambedkar always engaged with Gandhi’s core ideas though he explicitly departed from them. Still, despite their deep differences, the two engaged in dialogue and shared some common principles and concerns.

The Speaker

A graduate in history from Pune University, Ashok Gopal worked as a journalist for 15 years before moving into the development sector as a consulting writer, editor and researcher. Over the last 12 years, he has been involved with a school-based initiative to promote the development of Constitutional values and related competencies through activity-based learning. Ashok Gopal’s biography of Ambedkar A Part Apart (2023, Navayana) is based on a study over more than a decade of the published writings and speeches of Ambedkar in English and Marathi, other primary sources, and works of Dalit Marathi archivists. Kancha Ilaiah, called it “a great book about the greatest modern intellectual of India”.

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