Doctor Ambedkar was one of the most intelligent men I have ever met – OSHO
FROM : The Odyssey of aloneness
Ambedkar was perfectly logical and perfectly human. But Gandhi went on a fast, saying, “He is trying to create a division within the Hindu society.” The division has existed for ten thousand years. That poor Ambedkar was not creating the division; he was simply saying that one fourth of the people of the country had been tortured for thousands of years, now at least give them a chance to move upward. At least let them voice their problems in the parliament, in the assemblies. But Gandhi said, “I will not allow it while I am alive. They are part of Hindu society, hence they cannot have a separate voting system” – and he went on a fast.
For twenty-one days Ambedkar remained reluctant, but every day the pressure of the whole country was building, and he started feeling that if this old man dies there is going to be great bloodshed. It was clear he would be killed immediately, and millions of the untouchables would be killed everywhere, all over the country: “It is because of you that Gandhi died.” When the whole arithmetic of how it would work out was explained to him – “Figure it out soon, because there is not much time, he cannot survive more than three days” – Ambedkar hesitated.
He was perfectly right; Gandhi was perfectly wrong. But what to do? Should he take the risk? He was not worried about his life – if he was killed it was okay – but he was worried about those millions of poor people who didn’t know anything about what was going on. Their houses would be burned, their women would be raped, their children would be butchered, and it would be something that had never happened before.
Finally he had to accept the conditions. He went with breakfast in his hand to Mahatma Gandhi, “I accept your conditions. We will not ask for a separate vote or separate candidates. Please accept this orange juice.” And Gandhi accepted the orange juice. But this orange juice, this one glass of orange juice, contains millions of people’s blood.
I have met Doctor Ambedkar. He was one of the most intelligent men I have ever met. But I said, “You proved weak.”
He said, “You don’t understand: the situation was such that I knew I was right and he was wrong, but what to do with that stubborn old man? He was going to die, and if he died then I would have been responsible for his death, and the untouchables would have suffered.”
I said, “That is not the point. Even an idiot could have suggested a simple thing to you. You should have gone on a fast unto death. And you are so overweight” He was a fat man, four or five times heavier than Gandhi. “If you had asked me I would have said a simple solution: just put another cot by the side of Mahatma Gandhi, lie down, and fast unto death. Then let them see! I promise you that Gandhi would have accepted all your conditions within three days.”
Ambedkar said, “But this idea never occurred to me.”
I said, “You are a fool if this idea never occurred to you! That was the idea with which that man was controlling the whole country – and it never occurred to you. The only difficulty would have been to go on a fast, particularly for a fat man like you, eating four times a day. Naturally you would not have been able to manage it. Gandhi has practiced his whole life, he is an experienced faster; and you may not have ever missed a single breakfast.”
He said, “That is true.”
I said, “Otherwise if it had been my problem and he was being so illogical, I would have just lain down, even if I was going to die, and let him be responsible. He would not have allowed that, because my death would have taken away all his mahatmahood, all his aura, all his leadership of the people. He would not have allowed me to die; he would have accepted my conditions.
“But unfortunately I am not an untouchable, and anyway why should I be bothered with you two idiots? To me both of you are idiots. You have one fourth of the country in your hands and you can’t do anything; that man has nothing in his hands – but just by fasting… He has learned a womanly trick. Yes, I call his whole philosophy a feminine psychology.”
That’s what women do every day. Gandhi must have learned it from his wife. In India women do it every day. The wife will fast, she won’t eat, she will lie down. And then the husband starts shaking. He may be right, but that is not the point. Now there is no point of right or wrong; now the point is how to persuade her to eat, because she is not eating, the children are not eating – and who is going to cook in the first place? Is he also going to fast? The children are weeping and they want food, and the wife is on a fast – so you agree. She needs a new sari, you bring it. First you bring the sari, then she goes into the kitchen. This is an old strategy of all the women in India. Gandhi must have learned it from his wife, and he used it really very cleverly.
But there is a strange side of the human mind which, for some strange reason, is impressed by anybody who is capable of torturing himself. I know the reason. The reason is your own fear – you cannot do it. You go to the circus to see a man jumping from sixty feet high, pouring spirit on himself, setting fire to the spirit. Burning, he drops from sixty feet; he falls into a small pool of water, and you watch it with your breathing stopped. At that moment nobody breathes.
I have watched it: the people were watching a poor circus fellow, I was watching the people. Was anybody blinking, anybody breathing? No, nobody blinks an eye, they completely forget. Even an unconscious process that goes on automatically – you need not blink, your eye blinks; you need not breathe, your chest breathes. But even the automatic processes of blinking and breathing simply stop, you are in awe.
And there is nothing in it. Those sixty feet are calculated. That man has been practicing continually: it is calculated that within the sixty foot fall, he is not going to be burned. And it is not kerosene, it is not petrol, it is pure spirit. Falling in the water, within seconds the fire is gone, and the man comes up. And he is a hero because you cannot do it. Just a little practice is needed and a calculation of how long it will take for spirit to burn you: the time limit has to be less than that. And you have to be able to jump.
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