NL Conversation: Anand Patwardhan on the Centre’s apathy towards the poor, and the Ayodhya verdict

The filmmaker also explains why he thinks Gandhi and Ambedkar go hand in hand.

WrittenBy:NL Team
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In the latest episode of NL Conversations, Newslaundry’s Mehraj D Lone speaks to Anand Patwardhan, one of India’s most prominent filmmakers and the director of documentaries like Ram Ke Naam, War and Peace, and Reason.

Discussing the migrant worker crisis following the lockdown, Anand argues that the government is “incapable of feeling anything for the poor, anything for minorities, anything for people other than their own crony capitalist class.” He adds,“This has been their policy from day one, long before the coronavirus.”

Anand is particularly impassioned in his criticism of the Babri Masjid judgement, suggesting that the Supreme Court “rewarded the people who demolished the Babri Mosque. When there is still a case going on about the demolition of the mosque, we know who the guilty are because they have said so themselves; they have hardly been reticent about the fact that they demolished the mosque.” He also discusses the historical context of the dispute, referring to a lesser-known pre-independence narrative of the site.

Defending his conception of Mahatma Gandhi and Balasahab Ambedkar as “liberation theologists”, Anand suggests that recent criticism of Gandhi is ahistorical, especially with regards to the latter’s views on caste. He points out Gandhi’s campaigns against untouchability and his consistent advocacy of inter-caste marriages. He concludes, “Both Ambedkar and Gandhi were so important because both had to go hand in hand. One changing the law and the other changing hearts.”


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