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To best understand and address the inequality in India today, Arundhati Roy insists we must examine both the political development and influence of M. K. Gandhi and why B. R. Ambedkar’s brilliant challenge to his near-divine status was suppressed by India’s elite. In Roy’s analysis, we see that Ambedkar’s fight for justice was systematically sidelined in favor of policies that reinforced caste, resulting in the current nation of India: independent of British rule, globally powerful, and marked to this day by the caste system.
This book situates Ambedkar’s arguments in their vital historical context— namely, as an extended public political debate with Mohandas Gandhi. “For more than half a century—throughout his adult life—[Gandhi’s] pronouncements on the inherent qualities of black Africans, untouchables and the laboring classes remained consistently insulting,” writes Roy. “His refusal to allow working-class people and untouchables to create their own political organizations and elect their own representatives remained consistent too.”
In The Doctor and the Saint, Roy exposes some uncomfortable, controversial, and even surprising truths about the political thought and career of India’s most famous and most revered figure. In doing so she makes the case for why Ambedkar’s revolutionary intellectual achievements must be resurrected, not only in India but throughout the world.
“The fierceness with which Arundhati Roy loves humanity moves my heart.”