This is the announcement made by the CNN-IBN news channel on August 11, 2011 as the outcome of the poll conducted by them along with History TV 18 channel and the magazine Outlook. It is good to be late than never -देर आयात दरुस्त आयात . This recognition of Ambedkar was overdue. The CNN-IBN schedule of programmes indicates that the formal announcement will be made on the Independence Day on August 15. Of course, it is a fulsome tribute to the great son of India and rightly so. The poll on the greatest Indian conducted, in line with such polls on the BBC, by the CNN-IBN and History TV 18 is appreciable. The media partner of the exercise, the magazine Outlook has done a tremendous work in bring out a special number –‘B.R. Ambedkar – Greater than Nehru’ which quite informative. My congratulations to the organizers of the opinion poll.
Three things come to my mind which I would like to share. One – to become the greatest Indian is a well deserved recognition of the worthy son of India, Dr. B.R. Ambedkar which shall be appreciated and accepted by all. Second, we shall tend avoid the controversy on comparisons of greatness like the greatest Indian after Gandhi or greater than Nehru. The fact that Ambedkar has topped the elite club of the greats by his own right, the other greats like Gandhi and Nehru and many more have become ‘one of the greats. The monopoly has been broken. Thirdly, it is clear that Ambedkar is not an icon of the dalits alone but a national hero. The earlier it is accepted the better. Yogendra Yadav, one of the Jury members, rightly said in his assessment “The selection (of nominees) as much about us…we still largely see through Nehru’s eyes. Dr. Ambedkar stands very very tall (despite being ignored by the main stream). He was just not a dalit icon but a scholar as well.”
Yet another thought before I conclude. It is the hypocrisy of the urban middle class. The Market Research Survey, one of the components of the poll for the greatest Indian, conducted by AC Neilsen ranked Ambedkar at number 6 out of the ten short listed. It clears spells the mindset of the caste ridden society. The Jury of the poll was high power and well represented by the intelligential and the upper crust of the society. The intellectual bankruptcy was at its best. Out of the 28 members of the jury only 6 voted for Ambedkar as against 14 for Nehru. Two of the Jury members voted for Patel and one for JRD Tata. Five members did not cast their votes. The Jury ranked Ambedkar at number 2 after Nehru. The popular vote clearly and decisively weighed in favour of Ambedkar with highest number of votes. In spite of all obvious odds, Ambedkar made it to the top in the final run. The final results would be formally made known on August 15. The media is silent. No national paper, to my knowledge, has picked up the event as news worthy. It is shameful of the so-called independent and free media.
उडाए कुछ बर्क लाला ने कुछ नर्गिस ने कुछ गुल ने;
चमन में हर तरफ बिखरी हुई है दास्ताँ मेरी,
उड़ाई कुछ कुमरिओं ने तुतिओं ने अन्द्लिवों ने ;
चमन वालों ने मिलके लूट ली तर्ज़े फुग्हन मेरी ,