HAD it not been for the advent of the British, much of India could have been Islamised. Had it not been for Dayanand Saraswati, Urdu would have replaced Hindi in Northern India. Had it not been for Dr Ambedkar and Savarkar, conversion of Hindus to Islam would have continued. Had it not been for Ramakrishna, Vivekananda and Ram Mohan Roy Bengal could have been christianised.
Could we have faced a more perilous situation? Had it not been for the men I mentioned, anything could have happened. More so, if Dr Ambedkar was not there to save the situation. He tried to block Gandhiji’s policy of appeasement of Muslims and stopped the Christian missionaries’ attempt to convert Dalit Hindus to Christianity. I consider Dr Ambedkar one of the four greatest men of India of the last century.
Muslims were responsible for the worst traumatic event of our history – the partition of India. And yet only two men-Dr Ambedkar and Savarkar – knew Muslims well enough. And both came to the conclusion that Hindus and Muslims are two nations. Ambedkar not only gave a voice to the dumb millions of India, but also a Constitution to the people of India. But, then, he was assisted by the most brilliant minds of India of his time.
In “Bahisht Bharat”, a monumental work of the 1920’s (for the first time in India), Ambedkar provided a deep analysis of the Muslim mind. After a survey of Hindu-Muslim relations down the ages and Muslim vandalism and atrocities, he lambasted Gandhiji for the policy of appeasement. More fundamental was his analysis of the Muslim claim that their religion is “perfect” and that the world is divided into Darul Islam and Darul Harb. Ambedkar says that Muslims have a conqueror’s mind and that their behaviour is conditioned by the thought that they have a “prescriptive right” to rule over Hindus. He drew attention to the near absence of reformist thought in Islam and observed that Muslim obscurantism brought back Hindu orthodoxy. He doubted the credentials of the “nationalist Muslims”. Dr Ambedkar warned the country in 1941 that “Islam can never allow a true Muslim to adopt India as his motherland, or regard a Hindu as his kith and kin.” Indeed, a very strong view. But Gandhiji and Nehru ignored these warnings.
After such strong views on Muslims, Ambedkar could not have allowed a Dalit to convert to Islam. In fact, only he and Savarkar could have stood in the way of Gandhiji.
Sarvarkar also came to the conclusion that Hindus and Muslims are two nations. The difference was only on emphasis. Savarkar also lambasted Gandhiji for his policy of appeasement. But Gandhiji’s appeasement was of political-Islam, not religious Islam.
As time passed, Dr Ambedkar became more disillusioned with Gandhiji and Hinduism. In October 1935 Ambedkar spoke to the Depressed Classes Conference on the oppression of Dalits by caste Hindus.
Christian missionaries tried to take advantage of the sullen mood among the Dalits. The missionaries were so confident they expected the entire Dalit Community to convert. In 1893 JT Gracey, a Christian leader of New York, told an International Missionary Conference that the day was not far off when Christianity would demolish forever the old Pagan religions.
The Christian missionaries, mostly Americans, expected Ambedkar to support their plan to convert the entire Dalit community to Christianity. In fact, a proposal to convert 50,000 Dalits was mooted by the American missionaries. But once Gandhiji got wind of it, he threatened to go on fast indefinitely. On which Ambedkar withdrew his support to the Americans.
The role of Dr Ambedkar has helped protect Hinduism from the various dangers it was facing.