Life and Death of Ambedkar
Arvind Kumar
BABASAHEB: MY LIFE WITH DR AMBEDKAR by Savita Ambedkar Penguin Random House, 2022, 368 pp., ₹ 599.00
February 2023, volume 47, No 2

Dr Sharda Kabir, better known as Savita Ambedkar, was Dr. BR Ambedkar’s second wife. There exist conflicting narratives among various circles of the Dalit public sphere, which is deeply suspicious of Mai Saheb’s (as she was fondly addressed) role in Babasheb’s life and more so in his death. I remembered an anecdote while reading this extremely engaging book under review. In December 2020, I happened to visit Deeksha-Bhoomi in Nagpur, where Ambedkar along with millions of his followers had converted to Buddhism on 14 October 1956. While walking along a neatly curated photo-gallery inside the central dome, I overheard a lady visitor pointing towards one of the conversion-day photographs (in which Savita Ambedkar was seen accompanying her husband), berating Ms Ambedkar, whispering into her companion’s ear, ‘…look at this cunning lady with Babasaheb; her eyes clearly reveal that she had been deputed by Sarasvat Brahmins to poison our messiah…’

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