South African Nobel Peace Prize laureate and anti-apartheid campaigner Archbishop Desmond Tutu told The Hindu that he had not heard of Dr. B.R. Ambedkar. He was pleasantly surprised when informed that Dr. Ambedkar chaired the drafting committee of the Constitution of India.
Asked why African leaders fighting apartheid had not paid enough attention to him unlike Mahatma Gandhi, Archbishop Tutu said: “We were involved in our struggle against the racial injustices in South Africa, and you were looking for allies who would be able to help change your own set up. So obviously there was need to link up with those who had influence and power in their country.”
He hinted that it would be natural for an alliance to develop between Africans who struggled against injustice under apartheid regime and Dalits who are struggling against caste prejudices.
“More of us should be concerned about it [caste discrimination] and perhaps be interrogating the other part of Indian society as to why they are allowing this to continue if it is an egalitarian society. I mean your Constitution says so.”
The Archbishop stressed that Indian society should be challenged about the situation of Dalits because it affects one’s humanity.