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A brief note on ‘My Father’s Garden’

A brief note on ‘My Father’s Garden’

nikhil adsule

Nikhil SanjayRekha Adsule

nikhil adsuleIndia on 26th Jan 1950 promised its citizens that the country shall be a harbinger of justice, liberty, equality, and fraternity and thus there shall be an era of true democracy in spite of all the contradictions that Babasaheb Ambedkar had warned. Hansda Sowvendra Shekhar’s recently published book, “My Father’s Garden” makes us ponder over the lofty ideals that were promised on the eve of the enactment of Constitution of India by portraying those fissures which still are intact and in fact more deepened.

Delving into the book, we encounter a Republic of biases which are nurturing inequality, denying gender justice, strengthening brahmanical hegemony, propagating casteist notions and advocating a class-based society.

Various instances in the book throw light on the general perception of the populace who are proud of their hierarchical positions, their treatment of fellow citizens adivasi sisters and brothers. Instances of mistreatment of adivasi partners with whom they have a relationship and later abandon in order to maintain the varna and caste ghettos. It also points to the era after Mandal-kamandal politics where the Hinduism/Hindutva idea was at its zenith. Ambedkar equates Hinduism and Hindutva and they were nothing but Vedic religion/Brahminism which was propagated and percolated by garnering support from the groups who were denied political representation. This was done through promises of recognition to them in the form of separate states, of regularising Dalit colonies and other schemes to usurp the leadership of different marginalized communities. It also portrays the internal contradictions of class in various castes and tribes.

There is a disillusionment about politics which remains the turf of those with money and muscle power with deep connections making the ideal, aspirational people “करंटा”(hopeless) in the words of ace Marathi writer Bhau Padhye. The hegemonic forces sap the energy from the people who are unable to align with the brahmanical cunningness as Dr Ambedkar has shown in “Who were the Shudras?”(1946). Even in the tribal polity and daily life there is interference of brahmins in the ritual sphere which was successfully countered before but at later points loses its resistance owing to internal contradictions of the movement which falls prey to materialistic tendencies, internal quarrels and selfish personal motives rather than presenting a united front to the particular caste, class dominance. Most importantly it brings to the forefront the ethos of environmental humanism which can’t be implemented by some government schemes or NGOs but through the very sensitivity and nurturing of nature by the indigenous people. The strength of the book lies in focussing on the neglected aspects, issues and constituents of society who portray a more humane and responsive attitude rather than the ‘norm’.

Reading “My Fathers Garden” by Hansda Sowvendra Shekhar is a deeply inward-looking experience and unveils a different historical discussion of the marginalised strata as opposed from the mainstream, brahmanic history with selective amnesia being taught in schools and colleges. It must be circulated widely and be a must-read book for all, across social divisions, for the sake of instituting the institute of humanity!



Nikhil SanjayRekha Adsule is an electrical engineer and is currently pursiing LLB from Savitribai Phule Pune University. He is an Ambedkarite who dreams of creating a Begumpura of genderless, casteless, classless society.


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