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141002 Arundhati Roy - Gandhi and Caste

States have their iconic heroes. Founding Fathers. Jinnah in Pakistan, Ataturk in Turkey, George Washington in the U.S., Gandhi in India. To criticize them is risky business as they have been elevated to god-like status. Gandhi is no exception. He is revered and honored. His portrait hangs in many buildings and homes. His statue graces many public squares. And he is on the rupee note. The adulation extends outside of India. The British government recently announced that his statue would be placed in Parliament Square. But all people have chinks in their armor. Gandhi supported the highly elaborate Hindu caste system of social segmentation and stratification, and hereditary class division. While deploring discrimination and oppression of Dalits, formerly known as untouchables, Gandhi did not see the hierarchical caste system as morally wrong and undemocratic.

Arundhati Roy is a world-renowned writer and global justice activist. The New York Times calls her, "India's most impassioned critic of globalization and American influence." Among her many honors are the Lannan Foundation's Cultural Freedom Award and the Sydney Peace Prize. She is the author of many books including The God of Small Things, The Chequebook and the Cruise Missile, Field Notes on Democracy, Walking with the Comrades and Capitalism: A Ghost Story. Her introductory essay to B.R. Ambedkar's Annihilation of Caste is The Doctor and the Saint.


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Alternative Radio (Aust.) PO Box 687 Cowes VIC 3922 Australia
tel. 61-3-5952 5780 mob. 61-4-1359 7828 inquiries@araustralia.org
www.araustralia.org