Waiting for a Visa: Autobiography of Dr. B.R. Ambedkar – Book Review

Have you ever denied Water when you were thirsty? What will you do if a doctor doesn’t treat someone close to you? Will you stay silent or get enraged? What will you do if you are surrounded by a mob for sitting on a chair? The small book written by Dr. B.R. Ambedkar has six essays from his life and that of others’ experiences when they faced untouchability.

Author: Dr. B. R. Ambedkar

Language: Engish

Format: Paperback

Total No. of Pages: 27

Genre: Essays

The incidents described in the book happened well before 1940 and Babasaheb paints the picture to not gain sympathy from us readers but these incidents were an account of Untouchability in pre-Independent India. But my heart sank with so much pain and anger. Although I have seen untouchability when I was a kid, I didn’t know why that happened? Reading the first-hand account from someone who faced it hits you when you have grown to understand the evils of the Caste system in India.

Throughout the book, Dr. Ambedkar narrates incidents where he faced untouchability among Hindus, Muslims, and even Parsis. He was denied water even when they had food to eat. He couldn’t drink water from a public tap in school because it would pollute the water. A cart puller was not ready to take an untouchable in his cart, even though he was ready to pay double the fare.

All the incidents shook me to the core, especially an incident which happened to another Dalit person where a Doctor denied medical attention to a patient because they are untouchables. This very story made me realize why we need a reservation system and it is a must. Imagine a Doctor from an Upper caste who practices untouchability might oppress people and deny medical attention. The Doctors who are well off might not even visit a village, they don’t need to do charity but don’t you think people in the village need Healthcare? Are professional education only destined to privileged?

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People keep talking about the merit system, well wouldn’t the ones who have the stomach to spend money and visit coaching classes have an unfair advantage over someone who has no electricity at home but studies from the lamp with no one around them to help in studies? How do we calculate Merit? If marks are considered meritorious why do we need NEET or any other entrance exam for Government Medical college? Wouldn’t the mark be more meritorious than the exam which again is an unfair playground for many?

There was another incident where a Clerk was bullied to resign his job because he was a Dalit. The people in the village office nor the villagers are ready to call him the head. They can’t see a sweeper’s son sit as equal to them. This is the very reason the Caste Hindus from the Upper caste propagate against reservation and uphold merit, which doesn’t make sense but looked more as propaganda to satisfy their superiority complex.

All they want was people from the oppressed or people from the Backward communities to not grow and become their equals. The indoctrination of their superiority based on some random text from 2000 years ago wants to dictate our current life which is in no way relatable. Caste is a social evil. Banning reservation is denying the basic right to the people of a country and Democracy is of the people, for the people, and by the people. If you want to know the evils of Caste and read first-hand accounts of this very evil system, this book is the best place to start.

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Happy Reading 🙂

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