CHENNAI: Arundhati Roy is entitled to her opinion on Mahatma Gandhi and the reaction of lawyer forums demanding action on the noted author is out of bounds, according to former Madras High Court judge K Chandru.
At a discussion elaborating on his book ‘My judgements in the light of Ambedkar’, Chandru said that Gandhi’s position as the father of the nation did not elevate him above criticisms.
“Gandhi was criticised during the independence struggle by the newspapers, especially during the developments centred around Poona Pact,” said Chandru, referring to Gandhi’s infamous disagreement with Dalit icon BR Ambedkar over the demand for a separate electorate for Dalits.
“He said it would split the Hindu community but Dalits have remained oppressed ever since and that particular debate is now more relevant than it ever was,” he said.
“Why not criticise the Tinidivanam subordinate court judge who demanded the removal of the portrait of Ambedkar, who is the father of the constitution, a document by which we, as judges, swore to protect and serve,” he added.
Chandru expressed dissatisfaction over the affairs in the nation where one out of five persons are denied equality. He also said that unlike what Marxists believe, caste system could not be done away with if there was economic uplift of Dalits and encouragement of inter-caste marriages.
Chandru said that the stagnant and pervasive role of caste divisions would crop up after marriage.
“It is beyond the understanding of Marxists. Ambedkar was firm that these measures will not help obliterate caste system,” said Chandru. “I refer to movie songs in my judgements because it has infiltrated deeply. I want my judgements to be understood by illiterate masses,” he said.