Monday, July 5, 2010

[ZESTCaste] Glitches in Babasaheb Ambedkar photo biography

Glitches in Babasaheb Ambedkar photo biography

Alok Deshpande / DNAMonday, July 5, 2010 1:37 IST

Mumbai: The photo biography Babasaheb Ambedkar published by the state
government was supposed to be a great guide for students and
researchers to the leader's life. However, it has turned out to be a
storehouse of factual and grammatical glitches.

The 212-page book, brought out by the Babasaheb Ambedkar Source
Material Publication Committee on April 14, carries some rare
photographs depicting Ambedkar's eventful life. But some of the
pictures don't carry basic information such as names of the people
present, the date the photograph was taken and the event.

"Just have one look at the book and you will find many mistakes,"
Ramesh Shinde, aresearcher on Ambedkar, told DNA.

Page 143 of the Marathi edition of the book says Ambedkar brought the
Khoti system abolition bill in 1936. "How is it possible? The assembly
elections were held on February 2, 1937. How could he introduce the
bill in 1936 without getting elected? The bill was actually introduced
on September 17, 1937," Shinde said.

Citing another major mistake on page 187, Shinde said the book does
not mention the very important fact that after getting converted to
Buddhism on October 14, 1956, Ambedkar himself converted the
congregation of his followers to Buddhism by reciting 22 pledges to
them. The book does not mention this at all.

"This will misinform the reader as the book suggests that Mahasthavir
Bhikku Chandramani converted the mass to Buddhism," said Shinde.

On page 25, the book says that Ambedkar had to return to Mumbai from
Baroda after his father's demise on February 2, 1913. But all the
biographers of the leader have mentioned that he started his journey
from Baroda after receiving the news of his father's serious illness.
He missed the train at Surat, but still managed to come to Mumbai
where he met his father. His father died after the meeting.

The publisher of Ambedkar'sthesis 'The problem of the rupee' was PS
King and Sons Ltd, London, and not King and Company, London, as the
book mentions.

Moreover, page 27 and 28 mention two professors, JA Hobson and LT
Hobhouse, from London School of Economics. "Who are these people? None
of the biographers knows about these two," tells Shinde. The book
mentions the years of his visits to Sri Lanka and Rangoon as 1954 and
1955, which in reality are 1950 and 1954.

There are a few misses inthe translation also. The first paragraph on
page 151 of the English edition of the book is not included in the
Marathi edition.
A photo biography is meant to provide some exclusive and rare photos.
Some of the photos in this book are without any caption. Page 116 and
118 carry the same photo. The quotations on top of the page are
without context. There's no information on the article or speech from
where the quotations have been taken.

This book is a government publication, which people consider as
authentic. The wrong information could provide a twisted version of
the leader's life, feel activists and researchers. They want
re-editing of the book by experts.
When contacted, the editor of the book, professor Hari Narke, agreed
that there could be some printing errors in the book.

"If there are factual errors, then let us study them. We will try to
correct the mistakes we detect," said Narke. He emphasised that this
was not a critical biography of Ambedkar but just a photo biography.
"We will clear the mistakes, if any, in the next copy," added Narke.


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