The Supreme Court has done well to slam Bahujan Samaj Party leader Mayawati for her cat-and-mouse game with the country’s apex court. The Uttar Pradesh chief minister has continued with her plan to build memorials to various Dalit leaders whose legacy she pretends to inherit, despite being told by the court to not go ahead. The cost of her venture has been estimated at Rs2,600 crore.
Mayawati loudly claims to be a follower of one of India’s most brilliant leaders: B.R. Ambedkar. She would do well to read Ambedkar’s final speech to the Constituent Assembly. In a sharp analysis of the tasks before the young and fragile Indian republic, Ambedkar presciently pointed to many dangers. One was the lack of belief in constitutional methods in politics. He called it the “grammar of anarchy”. The other was the rush to worship great men. “Bhakti in religion may be a road to the salvation of the soul. But in politics, bhakti or hero-worship is a sure road to degradation and to eventual dictatorship,” said Ambedkar.
Mayawati is just the sort that he warned us against.