- BABASAHAB AMBEDKAR
The Great Mission in
- Babasaheb Ambedkar’s ccontribution to the making of nation is considered in two parts. In the first part, we consider how he dedicated his life for the society and nation. For the service of the society and nation how he made himself qualified and suitable. In the second part, we consider what his thoughts were for unity, integrity, sovereignty, development, security and of natural resources of the nation.3. These days, Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar has been labelled with several attributes. The Emancipator of Dalits, the Architect of the Constitution of India, the Dalit Crusade, Bharata Ratna and the great man etc. Behind all these attributes there has always been on feeling that h several attributes was great and eminent personality. According to one’s own understanding and devotion he labels him an attribute/qualification. He is acknowledged as great for his excellence and unparalleled contribution to society and nation. He has achieved it by sheer hard work and devotion. In this regard he used to tell a story:
- Demeter, the Greek Goddess, used to train her son in a furnace of fire so that he will become strong, sturdy and indefatigable. He will be powerful, invincible, and unconquerable. If we just overview the life of Dr.Babasaheb Ambedkar, we will come to know how he has thrown himself in the turmoil and furnace of fire of social movement. The same message he used to address his followers. In short, the moral of the story is that there is no alternative to hard work.
- If a common man is to arise from the mud and mire of the lowest stratum of our caste-ridden society, he is in utmost need of right education and training. When Dr.Babasaheb Ambedkar speaks of ‘educate’, it was never an empty ‘call’ for education. He demonstrated how the highest degrees in various disciplines can be achieved. The degrees he achieved are: M.A., Ph.D., M.Sc.,D.Sc. Barrister-at-Law.,LL.D.,etc.The disciplines he studied are: sociology, history, Economics,and law. He himself was a person from that section of society who were excluded and boycotted from the common form of society. His life itself is an ideal message. He is a practical example for a common man the living source of inspiration for how one can come out of those ignoble conditions of life sans dignity, sans humanity, and sans any ray of hope. Mere verbal message is of no use to the common people ditched in the helpless truth conditions of social life. A living ideal has to be practically demonstrated in front of them. A character lived and excelled through experience has to be displayed to them.
Making the people to stand to fight against social slavery
- To my mind, I think the largest contribution of Dr.Babasaheb Ambedkar in the making of nation is that he awakened the common man left in lurch helpless and hopeless at the lowest low of the social stratum. For thousands of years the untouchables were forced to the lowest stratum of Hindu Society. They were ditched to social slavery. This social slavery was sanctioned by religion. Therefore, it had become impossible for any kind of change or reform in their conditions of life, it was based on hierarchical inequality. Manusmirti did it legal codification. The consequence of such social classification through legal codification was such that the Hindu untouchables were never aware of the fact the fact that the practice of untouchability was social sin of very grave nature. The Savarna Hindus either upheld the evil practice as standard practice of religion or never thought it as anti-social, and antireligious. It was the standard practice follow the evil tradition in the name Sanatan Dharma.
- Our nation hand fallen prey to Muslim invasion and in course of time enslaved. Attempts are made in Peoples’ awareness movements in Maharashtra (1832) to unearth the reasons of slavery. There were different traditions of these movements. Agarkar, Lokhitvadi, Bhandarkar, Telang belonged to one such tradition. Ranade, Gokhale, and Tilak belonged to one to the second tradition. Mahatma Phule, Shahu Chatrapati belonged to the third tradition. However, Dr. Babasheb Ambedkar’s tradition is of different nature from the above three. He once says, “If there were weapons in the hands of the untouchables, this country would have never become slave”. The untouchables were left helpless and defenseless against the onslaught of Muslim invasion. They were totally separated from the national life. They became victims to Muslims. Most of the defeated people willingly embraced Islamic religion. Being totally separated from public life with no relation left whatsoever, they remained indifferent to the upheaval taking place in social life. ‘Whoever may be the ruler, what I have to do to it, was the general feeling’. They never felt that their participation in national life is essential. Because there was no such condition left for their participation or even thought of it.
- Such was the social condition before Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar’s appearances in public life of the nation. It is not a simple thing to awaken the people living in social slavery for thousands of years, and inspire them to stand to fight against social slavery and break the shackles of bondage. This is the greatest national service of Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar. The consciousness of the people, thus enforced to slavery, by consequence of bondage becomes wasted and decayed. It may be ease to write but to realize it in actual practice is the task of only a great man either to create awareness in them or make them think and act against that age old bondage. 6 ½ corore people get rebirth but ‘in this very life’
- What exactly Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar has done may be said briefly in the following words:
– He created awareness of slavery in the common people and made them to think and revolt against in.
– He triggered the flame of self-respect and if to say in his own word, he inspired to protect human dignity and to live with self-respect, and even die for moral values.
– When I think of all the phases of his struggle, I understand that he was the force that caused the rebirth of 6 ½ crore people of the total population of that time. For rebirth, one has to transmigrate from on birth to another. But the rebirth that Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar enabled was realized in the living life only. Such a work was done by Lord Buddha before two and half thousand years in ancient India and in modem indern India, to a large extent, has been done by Swami Vivekanand, Mahatma Gandhi and Dr. Hedgewar.
- Before 1920 this common man from the lowest stratum of the caste system was nowhere. No one was ready to take him along in social co-existence. Now in 2015 in about one hundred years, we see remarkable change in social condition of people in India. A person from this lower stratum of society can become either a vice-chancellor, minister, governor or president on India the most coveted positions of power and illustrious honor. He can also find a place of pride in industry and commerce/ in almost all the fields of social life a person of this category plays a distinctive role such as literature, music art and fine art, cinema, drama and theatre, economic and financial institutions and ambassadors to the foreign countries. What is the significance of their participation in the making of nation? Is it a case of making a nation or just a matter of development of particular category of people? As I have no habit of thinking on caste lines, I see towards all these matters from national perspective and national interests. This country is mine. This institutional life is mine. All the public public property is mine. This kind of belongingness and sharing of moments of pleasure and pain, success and failure, both the means and the destination is called as the ‘feeling’ of nation, the ‘consciousness’ of nation. Nation is a spiritual bonding, a spiritual unity. Nation is one great living ‘soul ‘. It is very difficult to evaluate this act of Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar to open a way for these people – to participate as social fellow beings who were segregated from national life for the last thousands of years.
- Now I feel to make reference to one more but typical point of view. That point is about a serious allegation made on Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar. Mr. Arun Shourie has used plenty of pages in one of his books of Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar. The people like Mr. Arun Shourie who look at him only politically are not ready to accept Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar’s devotion are not ready to accept Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar’s devotion and dedication to the nation building. They call him as an instrument in the hands of the British. In this context the following reasons are cited:
– Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar never took part in National Freedom Movement.
– Therefore he never was imprisoned.
– During Quit India Movement of 1942, he entered the viceroy’s Council and became a minister for labour.
– He appealed to the untouchables to be indifferent to the Quit India Movement and even opposed it.
- Historically, this is a fact that Council and became never fought against the British rule. At the time Mahad Chavdar Tank Satyagraha in December 1927, the British Government had invoked the section 144 of IPC against gathering of people for the conference. To continue with the conference by breaking the section 144 would have resulted into a direct conflict with the Governments. He wanted to avoid it. Therefore, he called off the Satyagraha. He never participated in any movement started by Gandhiji with the honorific Mahatma in his life. ‘Opposition to Gandhi means opposition to nation’ was the dictum of that time. Babasaheb opposed Gandhiji, hence he was labled as antinational. This conflict between these two great men of India was stretched to such an extreme extent that Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar was labeled even as a traitor. Therefore, there is a need to understand his philosophy and position about the freedom movement.
- It was the period of British rule. We did not want foreign rule. We wanted self-government. The movement was called as a freedom movement. But at that time simultaneously, there was another slavery in the country. British Slavery is one thing. It was a political slavery. But there was also a social slavery enforced upon the people of untouchables, nomadic Tribes, Denotified Tribes,Tribes and other backward castes in the country. Dr.Babasaheb Ambedkar was the leader of this movement. He wanted freedom for these people from the social slavery of the Savarna Hindus. Dr.Babasaheb Ambedkar was of the firm belief that social freedom is rather more important than the political freedom. The political movements and different organizations leading the political movement were led by the Savarna Hindus.Even the leaders of the communist party who were talking of socialism and the class struggle also hailed from the same class. Dr.Babasaheb Ambedkar’s perspective in this context was altogether distinct and independent. His anthropological analysis of the social slavery unfolds a novel sense of meaning. He discusses the whole issue in his text on Annihilation of Caste.This is a speech prepared by him to be delivered at Lahore conference organized by Jat-pat-Todak Mandal which was never delivered by him and ultimately published for public interest in the form of a printed text. One should essentially read this text. What he says in the text is briefly outlined here as:
Analysis of the Hindu Social Order
- Hindu society is organized in the order of graded inequality
- Caste is determined by birth.No one can change it.
- Caste is not a division of labour but of labourers.
- Caste structure has economic dimensions. The lowest and the worst forms of economic activities are enforced upon the people belonging to the lower stratum of Hindu society.
- They are prohibited from the freedom of choice.
- All these injunctions and prohibitions are grounded in the sanctity of religion.
- Verna-Vyavsta was proclaimed to be divine creation and hence not subject to any amendment.
- The fundamental questions of Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar was: ‘what about the freedom of those people living at the lower stratum of the Hindu society?’ It is good that the congress demands political freedom. You want political freedom but what about our freedom from the social slavery? Are you going to give us social freedom? Are we going to get the common civil rights like all other Savarna Hindus such as temple entry, public place/institution entry, right to property, right to choice of profession, etc.? Are the wells, and tanks going to be opened for public similar to the Savarna Hindus? In short, what are you going to do of our social freedom? Such question are raised by Dr.Babasaheb Ambedkar. He used to call congress as Hindu Congress. Gandhiji was the leader of this Hindu Congress. Mahatma Gandhiji was Sanatan Hindu. He believed in Chaturvarna caste system, and supported caste-based tradition of division of labour and labourers. Even untouchability was acceptable to Gandhiji, though at a later stage of his life he changed his position and rejected it wholeheartedly. Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar was not satisfied by that much. His oppositions was in principle. The fundamental question of Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar was that by accepting the Chaturvarna in principle, and the caste system in its various forms “How is it possible to establish a society based on equality?”
- Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar himself had the brutal experience of the Hindu social slavery. Brothers, those experiences we all of us also know. Therefore, there is no need to catalogue them here. Even after his foreign return with several higher degrees, our minds get havocked white reading his experience at the office of the Baroda state. This was the state of affairs suffered by him who had the highest educational qualification at that time. Just imagine what could have been the condition of illiterate, poor and helpless innocent souls spread across the country life. How severe could have been the burning brunts of the social slavery and tyranny forced upon the weak and the meek? Who will come to their rescue? Who will be their saviour from the social tragedy and its consequent suffering? After meeting Gandhiji at an instance he said, ‘Gandhiji, I do not have motherland,’ These few words are the expression of the story of the social slavery and the tragic suffering of the most innocent human beings perpetuated on the land of this country since thousands of years.
- There is an instance from the life of Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar. He was putting up at a lodge by rent that was owned by a Parsi when he was in the service of Baroda Prince. After Knowing his caste, the Parsi forced him leave it. Truly speaking as it is a fact that that the Parsis are refugees in India. They too were forced to leave their native country Persia. A person from such a community too thus by force humbled him out of the lodge was a kind of influence of the caste system. He cried and wept sitting under a tree. I honestly feel that he might have made a strong resolution at the juncture that ‘I will turn upside down the evil system of caste and in its place establish a new social structure. I will break all the shackles of social slavery and unbound all the slaves so that they will be free for ever to shape their own destiny of their own choice’
Freedom not only from Foreign Rule, but also form social Tyranny
- Struggle for political freedom and imprisonment under British Rule means devotion to nation. Such diagnostic tests of devotion to nation may exclude Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar from that rand choice. But was he against the political freedom of nation? And if we have another set of diagnostic test for true patriotic devotion then we will have altogether different image of Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar. To unbound the common people from the bondage of social slavery, to raise a battle against social tyranny, and to do this fearlessly without bothering the social assaults on his dignity and life inhuman treatment and insults heaped upon him publicly by those people who were fighting for political freedom under the banner of Congress and the leadership of Gandhiji, in case of this test of patriotic devotion, then the image of Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar Emerges as the most illustrious figure of patriotic devotion than anybody else. His life and mission proves to be a twenty four carat original gold shining yet brighter even after a passage through the fire furnace. Friends, we have not yet truly understood the value of his struggle for social freedom. We just know some instances like Mahad Satyagraha, burning of Manusmiriti, and Kalaram Mandir, Parvati and Ambamata Satyagraha. I have read a comment of a gentleman on these matters. What he says is that all the struggles of Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar have been failures. No battle/movement has he ever led to decisive victory. He left them through half-way. This gentleman himself is from Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar’s movement. But his Understanding is very superficial, shallow and shot-sighted. This is the statement I would like to record here with all my honesty and sincerity.
Millions of lives are lost in other countries, but none here
- In order to understand the true value of Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar’s struggle for social freedom we must take a little review account of the history of the world. In America in 1860, there were forty lac slaves. For the freedom of these slaves a civil war broke out in America between the North and the South. This is the most terrible war fought on the land of America. In this civil war six lac twenty thousand American soldiers lost their lives. And almost the equal number of soldiers were wounded badly. The war wounds make the human beings handicapped. And if the number of civilians added to this it comes around thirteen lacs.
- It means the America society was forced to pay such a large amount of cost for the social freedom of slaves. We may understand a Little if we add to it the terrible destruction of the cities, towns, families, institutions, the material goods and property. What a loss of values-social, moral, and material!
- In France, the history records the political revolution known as the French Revolution. It was about freedom of people from the slavery of monarchy and aristocracy. Here to the extent of violence was similar to that of civil war of America. France is a small state just like one of our states in India. But in this political revolution forty thousand people were killed to restore the political Trinity of liberty, equality and fraternity. This was the cost paid by the French Society during the period 1793 to 1794.
- In Russia too, a socialist revolution took place. This was a revolution fought for liberty, equality and justice to be given to labour class. It was fought against the capitalist Bourgeois. During the period of Lenin, sixty lac people were killed, and during the reign of Stalin, three and half crore people were killed mercilessly. This was for the sole aim of establishing the socialist state to provide freedom from economic slavery to the labourclass and peasants toiling on the fields. It was an organized assault of labour and peasant class on the propertied class (Bourgeois). The Bourgeois were mercilessly killed by the labour class.This organized labour class is called as the communist. Their inhuman brutality and cruelty evoke seismic voices in severing lungs of the human hearts. These bare figures/numbers of thousands, lacs and cores may be lifeless, but if we think of each one of them who were killed then someone was son of somebody, someone was brother of somebody, and someone was either father or mother of somebody. How can we gauge the emotional world devastated in that human massacre.
- Dr.Babasaheb Ambedkar compares the nature of slavery of untouchables in India and that of slavery in Rome. He also compares the slavery of black Negroes to show that the social of slavery of the untouchables of India is worse than these two kinds of slavery. In this context, there is a very popular quotation ’Let the slaves be aware of their slavery. Then they themselves will revolt against it’. This is a widely quoted ‘maxim’ and Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar created awareness among the slaves (untouchables). He inspired them to stand up against slavery. And look at the miracle! No movement was bereft of violence-human or even material!! In Mahad Satyagraha of 1927 the Savarna Hindus attacked on the Satyagraha tent with lethal weapons. The satyagrahis could have counter attacked on the Savarna Hindus with equal might and force but they were advised to defend themselves meekly even though each one of them was ten times stronger than the brutal attackers. Their heads were bleeding. They bore all the cruelty and restrained from any reaction to the inhuman assault. Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar had appealed them to submit their lives in the protection of truth and human valves.
His Social Revolution was entirely peaceful
- Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar brought about this Social Revolution in India through non-violent method for the freedom of common people from the social slavery.To bring about social change in Russia, France and America the streets were turned into streams of blood and flowed red there for the years to come. Social change was brought there but with fear and terror. In the social movement of Dr.Babasaheb Ambedkar, the blood was spilled just nominally but without any loss of lives such as in case of a physician’s operation. Mahatma Gandhi is known for non-violence but even Gandhiji could not stop violence in freedom struggle and could not save the lives of participants in his freedom movement which was just of a political nature. He withdrew the agitation after burning of a police nature. He withdrew the agitation after burning of a police chowki by violent mob at Chaurichaura. Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar, however, never allowed any violence in any form in his social movement. Even the language used in his movement was marked by the relevance and politeness. We have been reflecting over Dr,Babasaheb Ambedkar’s contribution to the making of nation. His social freedom movement and his contribution to the making of nation are of immense value: it is equal to the importance of political freedom. Rather it is more important than even the political freedom. It is easy to fight against foreign rule, but difficult to fight against our own people. It is just a passage through a furnace of burning fire.
- We must remember a special aspect of Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar’s social freedom. In the Mahad Satyagraha those who were breaking heads with lathis were the Savarna Hindus and those several participants in that Satyagraha were also the Savarna Hindus such as Mr.Sahsrabuddhe, Mr.Chitre,Mr.Tipnis and many more. The Brahmins participated in sizeable number in the satyagrahas of parvati Mandir, Kalarm Mandir and Amaravati Mandir. Mr. PendseGuruji was also the Vama Hindu who used to share his lunch tiffin at school with Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar during his school days. Violence is not in our nature. There is no need to say that it is one caste and not in another. We are by our attitude non-violent. Our tradition is non-violent. Our Dharma is non-violent. Our next remarkable aspect is that a person who serve by heart with motherly affection, fatherly discipline, and Guru’s Knowledge is wholeheartedly receives acceptance and reverence from the common people. The process of acceptance of Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar had started during his life time itself. Sardar Patel wrote a letter to get Ambedkar elected to the Constituent Assembly from the Bombay Assembly. Mahatma Gandhiji suggested that Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar is the right person to take over the responsible of writing the constitution. Hindu Members were in majority in the constituent assembly. They accepted Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar for this role. Only after close scrutiny of these series of instances in this context one will be able to understand the range and depth of Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar’s social revolution.
Harbiinger of New Dawn
- While discussing about the characteristic of our nation, Iqbal the poet remarks, Baatkucchaisihai, kihastimitatinahihamarii,e., ‘that there is something our figure never gets erased’. The only misfortune in this is that Iqbal could construe that our existence shall be there forever but only as poet. He expressed this ‘permanence’ in verse line too, but is the same person who designed the policy of Pakistan to erase our figure. What to say of his thematic line Baatkuchhaisihai i.e., ‘that there is something’? It is a marked theme most profound and indelible as it is the essential characteristic of our social and national life since ages together that someone arises amongst us as a great figure to lead us safe from the critical crisis befallen upon the cultural progress due to our unethical and corrupt practices and show us the right path of hope and promise, and of splendid glory. It is because of this only that our Bharat is ‘Sanatan’. Its existence is eternal. The making of nation or the reformation of nation the task is ever the most arduous. We know the material required for the reconstruction of a building-stones, bricks, soil, cement, concrete, sand steel, water etc is required, However, for the making of a nation, it is necessary to mould and shape a living soul made of muscles and consciousness. He is to be institutionalised. We have to raise such a structure that the different groups and section of the society shall be mutually interrelated and interdependent forever. We have to place before them only a dream of one strong nation. After a brief review of Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar’s contribution to social freedom movement in the making of nation one must try to understand his actual real contribution. Before exploring into this subject, I feel it is essential to make a few remarks on the four phases of his life-works.
- The period 1920-1935 may be identified as the first phase of his life-works. It covers the events such as Mahad satyagrah, Kalaram Mandir, Parvati Satyagraha, Round Table Conference was the ideological perspective of Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar during this period? 1. Annihilation of Caste 2. Abolition of Untouchability, and 3. Reconstruction of society on basis of the Trinity of liberty, equality and fraternity. In general,these issues shall underline his core ideology and social policy. Does the general public know the fact that he has proclaimed a manifesto at the time of Mahad Satyagaha? The title of this manifesto itself unfolds the core ideological vision at the inner core of his heart. The title of this manifesto reads as A Manifesto for the Birth Right of the Hindu People. The essence of this manifesto had been the light house for his social freedom movement guiding and inspiring him. It was the destination to be reached there. Most of the elements of this manifesto had been later included as part of the fundamental rights of the constitution. At the time of the Round Table Conference also he had published a manifesto like this one. It is the most comprehensive document. From this text as well, many elements had been incorporated into the constitution. In his evidence before the Simon Commission it is important to understand what he said. He says, ‘We are not a part of Hindu Society, you may call us ‘Protestant Hindus’ or ‘Non- Conformist Hindus’. One needs to interpret what he means by this statement in the context of the situation he was forced and the burning agony of his heart to find an expression in a language.
- During this phase of his life-works, his political ideology was, ‘The untouchables are not the part of Hindu Society, like Muslims, they should be treated as minority, they should be given separate electorate ; they should be provided with separate settlement; and their fundamental and political rights must be protected by the constitution law itself’.
- The 1935 to 1947 was the second phase to his life-works. In 1935 at Yeola he made an open declaration that although he is born as Hindu, yet he will never die as Hindu. He is going to leave the Hindu Religion. During this phase, he founded an Independent Labour party, and soon after in 1942 he dissolved it. He then founded the scheduled castes Federation. One of the reasons behind his foundation of the scheduled Castes Federation was that the independence of India from British Rule was approaching fast and assured. Cripps Mission visited India. The process of Creation of Constituent Assembly had been under way. The partition of India was a certain fact. One part to Muslims as Pakistan. Another part to Hindus as Hindustan. The Upcoming state would be a Hindus. It is a different matter that the Congress was then implicit on this matter. The point to be noted that is even Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar did never imply as that. About the Hindu state, Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar explicitly meant that, ‘Hindu state means Brahminical State. Brahminical State means chaturvarna and Caste-based state’ Friends, I have already side that ‘the conflict between Gandhi and Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar is on the issue of Hindutva and his strong opposition to Gandhiji’s support to chaturvarna. Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar strongly reiectschatur-varna-based society’.
‘What are the values of wich the new state built?’
- Freedom of India was now a certain fact. The making of Constitution for New India was also a certain fact. Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar was very seriously thinking about the nature of this New State. What shall be the foundation of New State? What shall be the value on which this New State built? In this new state what shall be the status of Depressed Classes? How shall their human rights be protected? A series of such questions engrossed his mind.
- Cripp’s Mission had proposed a committee for the constitution of India. The Cripp’s Mission proposals were not acceptable Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar. Regarding this he has opined,
It is quite obvious that the proposal for Pakistan is designed to win over the Muslim League. How do the proposals deal with the Depressed Classes? To put it shortly, they are bound hand and foot handed over to the caste Hindus. They offer them nothing, but stone instead of bread. For the Constituent Assembly is nothing but a betrayal of the Depressed Classes…If they are there, they cannot have a free, independent decisive vote. In the first place, the representative of the Depressed Classes will be in a hopeless minority. In the second place, all decisions of the Constituent Assembly are not required by a unanimous vote.
- The political conditions were swiftly changing in country. On the background of changing political situation Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar had already established the scheduled cast Federation 1942. He formed The Scheduled cast Federation chiefly for a singular reason that without such a federation there was no hope for the representation of scheduled Castes in India. The congress represents Hindus. The Muslim League represents Muslims. Then what about the representation of scheduled castes? That was the main problem for him. A conference was called for the depressed classes in Nagpur, In which 70,000 volunteers participated. In the first resolution, it declared the foundation of expected that at the least the scheduled castes must be identified exclusion, and their fundamental rights and political rights must be protected by the constitution itself. This position of him must be understood to construe and realize his actual contribution to the making of nation.
- The third phase of his life-works is that of the making of the constitution of India. It unfolds the true figure of Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar as the Rashtrapurush. The last and the fourth phase of his life-works is considered to be 1949-1956. Friends, I tell these phases of his life-works only for one reason that one may not be able to understand Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar’s contribution to the making of nation.
- It comes to our attention that Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar has thought so deeply and so seriously of our nation. Nation is a well-defined concept. In political science, nation-state, nationality and nationalism all these are well defined concepts of specific meanings. People to be a nation need a territory. So in the conception of nation, three factors are especially involved: people, territory, and culture. In this context, what is the contribution of Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar?
Ambedkar rejected Aryan Invasion Theory
- Friends, as per the light of my little intelligences and what I Have thus far understood, I try to present before you the fact that Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar rejects the theory of Aryan invasion while thinking of people. India is invaded by the Aryan people who come from central Asia – this is what is taught to us in our schools, colleges and even in universities. Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar absolutely rejects this theory in his text, Who were the Shudras? In order to state it briefly be writes, ‘that the two words Arya andAarya are found in the Rigved. The word Arya occurs 88 times in it for the meanings : 1. Enemy, 2. Mannerlsess man, 3. Name of Hindustan, 4. Owner Vaishya or the resident, Aarya occurs 31 times with several meanings as stated here. This shows that Arya and Aarya these words are not race-specific in Rigved. While narrating the theory of the Aryan invasion it has been reiterated that 1. They came from outside the country; 2. They invaded the native of India by forceful infiltration. Both these things have been absolutely rejected by Dr. Bbasaheb Ambedkar. He has also rejected LokmanyaTilak’s theory. While RejecingTilak’s theory, he writes, ‘Horse is the pet animal of Vedic Aaryas. But were there the horses in the Arctic Territory? He raise this question. If the answer to this question is in the negative, then the theory of Lokmanya Tilak that the Aarya were originally the natives of the Arctic territory stand self-negated, null and void the second argument of Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar is about the attributes given to rivers in their address. How the rivers are addressed in the Vedic literature? In Vedic literature according to Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar, rivers are addressed very affectionately an honourably, such as ‘my Ganga’,’ my Yamuna’ ‘my Saraswati’. Can an alien ever adderss the rivers with such deep and endearing affection? The evidence of the Aarya to be the natives of Hindustan is found in Vedic literature. This argument of Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar is very significant in the context of Bharatiya nation. Varna and castes are not the race. They are the part of the same group of people into four varnas. These four varnas later descended into thousands of castes and sub-castes over the period of time. The Brahmin varna first turned itself into castes through a process of ‘enclosure’ and ‘parcelling’. They limited the marriage practice to their own class. Other varnas followed them. Thus the varnas resulted into castes from the same group of people through the practice of enforced endogamy. Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar claims two very marked things about the caste:
- Manu never created the caste.
- Someone sitting somewhere on the top never designed the hierarchical order of the caste system.
Not the slightest doubt about the Cultural Unity of India
- We must take into consideration these opinions of Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar about the caste origin and its mechanism. These opinions are found in text, Castes in India. It is true that the Hindu society is composed of number of castes. The Historians and Sociologists of the Europe are of the opinion that castes are the different races. But this opinion, according to Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar, is not true. He emphatically claims:
It may be granted that there has not been a through amalgamation of the various stocks that make up the people of India, & to a traveler from within the boundaries of India the East presents a marked contrast in physique& even in colour to the west, as does the South to the North. But amalgamation can never be the sole criterion of homogeneity as predicated of any people. Ethnically all people are heterogeneous. It is the unity of culture that is the basis of homogeneity. Taking this for granted, I venture to say that there is no country that can rival the Indian Peninsula with respect to the unity of its culture. It has not only a geographic unity, but it has over & above all a deeper & a much more fundamental unity-the indubitable cultural unity that covers the land from and to end.
- Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar strongly advocates one thing that although there thousands of castes in India, yet they exhibit among themselves a deeper and much more fundamental unity-the indubitable cultural unity that covers the land from end to end. In shortAarya is not a separate race. Caste is not the same thing as race. Our people are bound by one culture. The cultural homogeneity is the strong bound holding all people together.
- Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar has criticized the Hindu culture to in a different context. When the context is of the hierarchical graded caste system, the untouchability, and the status of women in general, he criticizes the Hindu culture strongly and vehemently. But when the context is of the values of social assimilation, integration, a way of life, tradition of strong homogeneity, he argues for strengthening the cultural unity and a deeper homogeneity. He was very much focused on this cultural unity of India. Even at the time of his conversion to Buddhism at Nagpur Dikshabhumi, he confesses his understanding with Gandhiji on this subject of cultural unity that by all ways his act of conversion shall be the act of cultural unity and security which shall be also a key for social assimilation and smooth governance of the people. It shall be an act of multiple blessings and the greatest gift for India. He further adds that by embracing to Buddhism he has fulfilled his promise once given to Gandhiji. The path of Buddha is a path of knowledge, truth, peach, compassion and restraint from all from of violence.One of his statements in this context speaks for itself. ‘It is not my intention that my name be recorded in the history of India as ‘Destroyer’.’
- The maintenance and observance of the cultural unity has always be permanently don by Dharma, social values, a way of life and the language of the people. Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar was neither Adharmi, nor secular, nor Atheist too. He never believed in idea of Ishwar i.e. personal God. But he believed in some inherent intuitive power that controls and regulates at Nagpur in 1956, he says, ‘Dharma is as necessary for human beings as the bread is necessary, because dharma is a hope and promise for man.’ The role of Dharma is not the observance of the relation between Ishwar and man, but observance of the relation between man and man, He makes a distinction between Dharma and Religion. Dharma is social but Religion is personal. Dharma is not required for an individual in isolation. But when two persons come together, the role of Dharma comes into existence naturally as-interdependency, mutuality, coexistence etc. The interpersonal relationship is determined by Dhamma/Dharma. How this Dhamma ought to be? He reflects in depth on such Dhamma in his text “Buddha and his Dhamma”.
- Without Dhammal/Dharma BhartiyaRashtravadcan not be complete, can not be ideal, can not be an ‘’ideal dream’, of the people of India. About its true meaning, there is confusion among the intellectuals and philosophers. About its true meaning, there is confusion among the intellectuals and philosophers. About its true meaning, Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar is crystal clear in his thought. Only Dhamma is the instrument of making man’s moral character. As Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar is the Chief Architect of the Constitution of India, he is also a great Dharmapurusood.h in the Bharatiya Tradition, He embraced the Dhamma of Buddha. The Dhamma of Buddha is one of the Dharmas in the Bharatiya Tradition. Buddha rejected Brahmanism as Dharma. He also rejected the belief in God, rituals, and sacrifices of the animals in the Yadnya. He gave theDhamma the form of service to mankind. But Buddha never interfered with the law that regulates the society for general good. He never tired to amend either the law of divorce, of inheritance, and of property of an individual. He made even a distination between Dhamma and law with their distinct spheres of activity.
- A common civil code binds the people together while the work of drafting the construction was in progress, the work of drafting the Hindu Code Bill was also in progress. The Hindu Code Bill is about the marriage, inheritance, rights of women, rights of property, and rights of divorce of the Hindu people. WhatDr. Babasaheb Ambedkar says in this context, as it is very important for the cultural unity, I quote it here, as it is, in his words:
This code applies (a) to all persosn professing the Hindu religion in any of its forms or development, including, Virashaivas or Lingayats& member of the Brahmo the Prarthana or the AaryaSamaj; (b) to any person who is Buddhist, Jaina or Sikh by religion (c) (i) to any child, legitimate, both of whose parents are Hindus within the meaning of this section (ii) to any child, legitimate or illegitimate, one of whose parents is a Hindu within the meaning of his section; provided that such child is brought up as a member of the community group or family to which such parent belongs or belonged’ & (d)to a convert to the Health religion. This code also applies to any other person, who is not a Muslim, Christian, Parsi or Jew by religion.
Application of Hindu code to the Sikhs, Buddhists & Jains was a Historical development & it would be too late sociologically to object to it. When the Buddha differed from the Vedic Brahmins, He did so only in matters of creed & left Hindu legal framework intact. He did not propound a separate law for his followers. The same was the case with Mahavir& the ten Sikh Gurus.
The Buddha, The Jain, The Sikh also come in the purview of Hindu Code Bill
- What a comprehensive and great historical act Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar has perfomed by drafting the Hindu Code Bill for the unity of Culture and freedom of women. He includes we are having this liberty for? We are having this liberty in order to reform our social system, which is so full of inequities, discrimination and other things, which conflict with our fundamental rights. It is therefore, quite impossible for anybody to conceive that the Personal Law should be excluded from the jurisdiction of the state.
Babasaheb realized the uniqueness of the land of ours
He includes in the Hindu Code Bill the Buddha, the Jain, Sikh and all those groups of people who do not belong to Christian, Muslim, Parsi or Jew religion. It is too late to take objection to it on social grounds now. When Buddha established an alternative to Brahminism, he never objected to the Hindu law. Nor he advocated an alternative system of law for his followers. The same is the truth about the ten Gurus of the Sikh and the Mahavir Jain.
- While ‘The Hindu Code Bill’ was in discussion, a question was being asked, ‘why the Hindu Code only for the Hindus?’ Why not for The Muslims, Christians, Jews, and Parsis too? Why not for all the citizens of India? This was the recurring question in those days. For a united nationality, there must be only one law for the citizens of the country. In 1948, there had been a discussion on a common civil code too. The Muslims in India made a demand for a separate Pakistan. After the partition of India, some Muslims migrated to Pakistan, some preferred to be in India. They accepted the constitution of India. The constitution of India gives ‘Fundamental Rights’ to all people equally irrespective of their creed or race. However, a conflict arises between the Fundamental Rights and the Personal laws different for different creeds. Its very much a potential for class struggle in society. Therefore, Dr. BabasahebAmbedkar strongly advocated a common civil code for the people of India.
- Dr. BabasahebAmbedkar was equally strongly opposed to ‘the Muslim Personal Law’ as he strongly favoured the Common Civil Code. Regarding a Common Civil Code, what was the stand of Dr. BabasahebAmbedkar in defence it? He claims that there had never been a personal law for Muslims separately throughout the country till 1935. Even in the North-West Provinces there had been a common practice among Muslims too of the Hindu Law of Inheritance. Similarly, three had been a traditional practice willingly among the Muslims of the Hindu law of inheritance in the United Provinces, Central Provinces, and the Bombay Presidency. The Hindu Law of Inheritance was willingly acceptable to them till 1935. It was only in 1937 intentionally Muslims influenced the British to make the Shariyat law exclusively for them. Dr. BabasahebAmbedkar opined that in a secular state no religion can be given a right to control the entire life of an individual. A religion shall not be the basis of a personal law. Dr. BabasahebAmbedkar explains his position on the personal law by asking a question, after all, What we are having this liberty for? as:
If a saving clause were introduced into the constitution, it would disable legislature in India from enacting any social measure whatsoever. The religious conceptions in this country are so vast that they cover every aspect of life from birth to death. There is nothing which is not religious and if personal law is to be saved, I am sure about it that in social matters we will come to a standstill. I do not think that it is possible to accept a position of that sort. In Europe, there is Christianity but Christianity does not mean that the Christians all over the world or in any part of Europe where they live shall have a uniform inheritance law. No such thing exists. I personally do not understand that religion should be given this vast expensive jurisdiction so as to cover the whole of life and to prevent the legislature from encroaching upon that field. After all, what
- Friends, this is how Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar thought of the people. The way he thought of the people, he also thought of the territory in the same way. Let us see how he describes Bharatbhumi in his own words in his famous text The Trade and Commerce in Ancient India:
India’s geographical position just fitted her to be the early cradle of civilization. Nature has given her that has been the envy of many of tribal people who are ever in search of a secure abode to develop their capacity & make the most of nature’s gifts. Severed from China & Tiber on the north by the Tenasserim& on the west from Afghanistan by the (Karakoram) (Hindukush) ranges the entire peninsula forms a world in minitature in itself-(formed) by strong natural defences- “the mountains” forming a wall on the North-West & the Sea…a moat on all other sides.
This “inverted triangle” conserves the most varied and most abundant of natural resources. Animal life is not only abundant in British India, but it is remarkable varied. The number of kinds of animals inhabiting India & its dependencies is very Large, far surpassing, for instance, that of the species found in the whole of Europe, although the superficial area of Europe exceeds that of the Indian empire by about one-half” Equality is her rich diversity of flora & fauna & her climate that makes possible the existence of such variegated animal life. The richness of vegetable life is immemorial combined to bestow upon her the economic self-sufficiency, which has been the privilege of few nations on the face of this planet today.
- This is how he describes the Bharatbhumi in terms of metaphors such as the ‘early cradle of civilization’ ‘a world in miniature in itself, ‘the inverted tringle’, ‘the inverted triangle’, ‘her rich diversity of flora and fauna and her climate’ and ‘the variegated animal life’ leaving behind even the poetic expressions of high imagination. As the India territory is gifted with rich national resources, she has been the subject of alien and rapacious invaders. Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar has his own independent perspective about the natural resources of the territory. Regarding agriculture, he proposes nationalisation of land should be abolished. The state must own and manage the fields through public participation. Agricultural productivity does not depend on the size and small holding of land alone, it mainly depends upon human resources, water, capital, and quality of seeds and other infrastructure. The disproportionate presence upon land has become a serious problem. If ten people depend upon land has become a serious problem. If ten people depend upon it when just two are enough, then how can they feed themselves? To reduce this excess presence on land, he proposes rapid industrialization. The excess human resource must be invested in the industry. He gives the economic structure for the key industries including agricultureand insurance. He wanted it to be the part of the constitutional law instead of leaving it to the will of the legislatures. This is how he thought of land of the nation and its maintenance and management.
His was the first step for Construction of Water Dams
- While thinking of Land, one has to think of water, Regarding water Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar had made one brilliant statement. Water is the wealth of nation. Therefore it should be used from the point of view of national interest. In monsoon, water is spread all around. The rivers overflow with floods of water. At times, this excess water becomes the point of crisis. Therefore, a common thinking is how, it is thought, to divert this excess water into the sea. This approach to water management was not acceptable to Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar. He proposes altogether different approach to it.
- During 1942 to 1946, Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar was minister in the council of Viceroy. He was looking after two portfolios: Labour and Water Resources. Mahanadi is Orissa and Damodar River in Bengal are known for big floods in the monsoon . During this period, the construction of the Hirakud Dam project was started. He established ‘the Centre Water Ways and Water Commission.’ He also established ‘the Centre Technical Power Board.’ Regarding excess rain water, his proposition is very innovative. He says, ‘Excess water is not the real problem, shortage of water is the real problem’. To solve the problem of water shortage, water conservation is must. Dams must be constructed at proper places on the river. He knew the multipurpose applications of water. First, the use of water for agriculture. Second, the use of water for drinking. Third the use of water for transportation. Therefore, he studied ‘Multipurpose Tennessee Valley Project of America’. In line with this project, he planned Mahanadi and Hirakud Dam Projects. In our academic text books, the credit is given to Pandit Nehru for this great contribution. But that is not a historical fact. It is Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar who proposed the idea of ‘river-linkage’. There is no need to depend on roads and railway for transportation. If ‘river-linkage’ project is implemented, transportation will be available for the whole years. These days, people discuss on ‘river-linkage’ a lot, but they forget that these ideas are originally of Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar proposed in 1944.
- I am very much tempted to tell you one event of Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar’s Rashtrabhakti. In those days, there was one eminent engineer named Mr. A. N. Khosla. He was known for his lion’s share in construction of river-water dams in India after Bhakra-Nangal Project. He designed the structure of the Dam. His texts are considered to be authentic. Dr. Babasaheb appointed him as the chairman on ‘the Centre Water Well Irrigation and Navigation Commission’. The British officers and Ministers insisted upon the appointment of a British Engineer for this key role. Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar wanted some Indian to be in charge of this work. Mr. A. N. Khosla’s name was floated for discussion. But Mr. A. N. Khosla was not happy to work with Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar. There may be some circumstantial reasons for this. Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar called him to meet him. When Mr. A. N. Khosla came to meet him, Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar tells him, ‘I am terribly pressurised to appoint a British Engineer on this position but I think that some Indian must take up this responsibility and you can take it’. Mr. A. N. Khosla instantly accelted the offer. This is an excellent example of his Rashtabhakti.
Nationality is a feeling ofA corporate sentiment of oneness
- Though the people, territory and culture are important elements of nation, only these three elements are not enough to constitute India into the nation. ‘The summary of what Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar through of nation and nationality may be stated briefly as:
A nation is not a country in the physical sense of the country whatever degree of geographical unity in may possess. A nation is not people synthesized by a common culture derived from common language, common religion or common race. …….. “Nationality is a subjective psychological feeling. It is a feeling of a corporate sentiment of oneness, which makes those who are charged with it, feels that they are kith and kin. This national feeling is a double-edged feeling. It is at once a feeling of consciousness of kind which binds together those who are within the limits of the kindred and severs them from those who are outside the limits of the kindred. It is a longing to belong to one’s own group and a longing not to belong to any other group. This is the essence of what is called a nationality and national feeling. This longing to belong to one’s own kindred as I said is a subjective psychological feeling and what is important to bear in mind is that the longing to belong to one’s own kindred is quite independent of geography, culture or economic or social conflict. There may be geographical unity and yet there may be no longing to belong. There may be no of geographical unity and yet the feeling of longing to belong may be very intense. There may be cultural unity and yet may be no longing to belong. There may be economical conflicts and class divisions and yet there may be an intense feeling of longing to belong. The point is that nationality is not primality a matter of geography, culture or….” W. &. S. – Vol.-3P 309.
- Friends, Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar reiterates this same thing again and again. Anyone who has read Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar will understand this thing very well. On 25th November 1949 in his last speech of constituent Assembly he says, ‘Caste in anti-national’. We should be free from the caste and earlier the better. In the conclusion of Annihilation Caste he says, ‘The defence of the Hindus is more important than the defence of the self-government in an independent India. I think the Hindus will have some hope of self-defence if it gets freedom from the case and thereby becomes united and stronger, otherwise the self-government of the Hindus will be a step to enter into the whirlwind of slavery.
- In his thinking, we find one continuous consistency. In 1955, he published a text entitled Thoughts on Linguistic States. It is very significant to know what he says in it:
I was glad that India was separated from Pakistan. I was the philosopher so to say of Pakistan. I advocated partition because I felt that it was only by partition that Hindus would not only be independent but free. If India and Pakistan had remained united in one State. Hindus though independent would have been at the mercy of Muslims. A merely independent India would not have been a free India from the point of Hindus.
The reasons for his resignation from the Government
- Friends, the way Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar thinks of the social unity of our country, in the same way he also thinks very seriously of its defence. In 1951, he resigned from the cabinet. The reason of his resignation was the fall of Hindu Code Bill. He published the letter of his resignation. He also talks of one of the reasons for his resignation. That reason was the difference of his opinion on the Prime Minister Nehru’s foreign policy of India. The summary of the letter of his resignation may be stated briefly as: when we become independent on 15 August 1947, no country was our enemy. Each and every country in the world had been our friend. After just four years, all our friends have turned their backs towards us. We are now left lonely. Why are we left in loneliness? Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar also explains the reasons for this loneliness. Politics is not the game of realizing the ideal into the reality. It is the game of making the possible real. We were trying to make real what was impossible. Therefore, no one friend is left for us in the world.
- In his resignation, you may be surprised to know that Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar makes a reference to the problem of Kashmir too. We must remember that he is not exponent of Article 370 of the constitution. Pandit Nehru is the exponent of Article 370. Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar had suggested a formula to resolve the problem of Kashmir. His formula was to bifurcate the state of J&K. Jammu and Laddakh with majority of Hindus and Buddhists respectively be acceded to Indian territory and the Kashmir Valley with majority of Muslim population be left to the will of the people of the Kashmir Valley or given to Pakistan. The question of referendum on Kashmir was in discussion that time. Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar explicitly states that the question is of the Muslims of Kashmir. They have to decide whether they want to live in India or they want to be independent entity or they want to join the Pakistan. Let them determine their safe abode. Do not force the Hindus of Jammu and the Buddhists of Laddakh into it against their will. There is no need to do so. Do not send them into Pakistan against their own will and wish. Let them exercise their right of self-determination. He never forgets to remind us what happened to the fate of the majority Hindus of the East Bengal who were forced into East Pakistan against their natural right of self-determination. One can never forget the tragedy they were subjected to in the East Pakistan and the evil consequences threatening the security of Indian territory around the border areas of East Bengal even till day.
A second capital is needed and it should be in South
- Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar has even made a seminal strategic proposal for the security and defence of India. In case of a critical juncture of its existence. His proposal is : ‘India must have Second Capital and it must be near Hyderabad.’ He supports his proposal with two reasons. First, the security of India. Delhi the present capital of India is very much within the range of direct attack of both Pakistan and China. During the Mughal period, Srinager was the second capital in the days of summer. During the British period, Simla was the second capital of India in the days of summer. In these cases, the point of view was never the security of India. The only reason was the escape from the heat of summer. There waads no need of such things in independent India. Hyderabad is located at the geographical centre of India. All the states of India and their capitals in particular are approximately at equidistant from Hyderabad. The actual figures are given by him in detail. Besides, the port cities located are sea coasts can not be suitable for the capital of the states. One should remember that India’s Navy was not as advanced as it is today.
- Second, the unity and integrity of India. In the vision of Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar, the unity and integrity of India is the most central point of view. North and South are the natural parts of India. South is culturally more advanced and rationally disciplined. However, North has been dominant politically over India. The feeling of unity and integrity must be strengthened in the minds of the people of the South. The existence of the second capital may inculcate positive attitude of affection because of proximity of the Government and the political affairs taking place at the doors. This move of Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar is of vital significance from the point of view of integral nationality.
Fraternity is the most essential thing
- How to create the feeling of this ‘Integral nationality’ as said earlier, has always been the most prominent aspect of the thinking of Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar. But this is also a hard fact that the extent of attention expected has never been paid to it till the date. How he used to think of people, we have already made a review of it. He rejects the theory of Aaryan invasion. He is the exponent of the theory of one people and one culture. Though they are one people and one culture, yet they do not form themselves one nation. They have been fragmented into thousands of castes. They are scattered into several sections of religion. They speak different languages. It seems to be the attitude of forming micro groups of people. We, therefore, utterly lack a sense of fellow feeling, a sense of social cohesion and co-existence. It is good that we have a strong cultural unity. It is good that we have natural geographical integrity. At the same time, however, we have divisive factors such as castes, sects, races, and languages that separate our people from each other. Friends, to my mind, if you ask me what is the greatest contribution of Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar in the making of nation, my answer is that he added the fourth dimension to nationalism and that is the ‘social fraternity’. With ‘social fraternity’, no nationalism is complete and perfect. He convinced us with his excellence and wisdom that without ‘social fraternity’, society shall forever remain scattered and the scattered society all never be able to make us a ‘strong nation’.
- It is well known to all of us that for expressing fraternity we have been using spiritual terms such as, we are the sons of the Ishwar or the same soul dwells in all of us. Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar uses neither of these terms. He expounds the notion of ‘fraternity’’ in a democracy is his vision of life. His concept of democracy is based on three principles. Liberty, equality and fraternity form an inalienable Trinity. Among these three principles he gives utmost significance to fraternity. Pandit Nehru proposed the objectives resolutions of the Constitutions placed before the Constituent Assembly, we find liberty, equality and social justice, but we do not find there fraternity. While speaking on the objective resolutions in the Constituent Assembly, Dr. Ambedkar pointed out this short-coming to the members present in the Assembly, He told them that ‘Fraternity’ is missing from the objective resolutions. When the draft Constitution was finally approved, then we see that this ‘value’ called the fraternity had been incorporated in the constitution of India. It was the rare and unique contribution of Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar to the Constitution. Law is always protective. Law can only provide for protective measures. There is no low that cannot be violated or has not been violated by the citizens. Man is very intelligent to find out as how to break the laws. His mind is supreme in this faculty of violating the laws. And we all are very much aware that Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar has deep insight human nature and character and therefore, he does not depend only upon the laws.
No foreign Guru idealogically
- The base of Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar’s thoughts are found in Indian vision of life. Therefore, in this sense of ‘Indian vision of life’ his patriotic perspective of devotion to nation is by all standards beyond question and unparalleled in the history of India. He studied in depth all the disciplines of the West. But he never said that he has any foreign Guru ideologically. He made his Guru to ‘Lord Buddha’. We are taught in the school books of history that French revolution gave the world the brilliant gift of the Trinity of liberty, equality and fraternity and England and America gave the another brilliant gift of political democracy. But Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar never accepts anything blindly. He proudly says that he has accepted the Trinity of liberty, equality and fraternity from the teaching of his Guru Lord Buddha. He accounts for this point of view in detail in his text Buddha and His Dhamma, and friends, we must read this text thoroughly. But to brief shortly, Lord Buddha teaches four states of mind i.e. four Dhyans for an integrated society. He calls them friendship (maitri), compassion (karuna), bliss (mudita), and equanimity (upeksha), In Buddhism, these four Dhyanas are called ‘Brahmavihar’. Buddha extends friendship beyond humanity to all the living creatures of life. In his life, we see plenty of examples of friendly life. This feeling of universal friendship itself is what Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar defines as ‘Fraternity’ in the Constitution.
- Dr. Babasaheb’s concept of democracy is thus based on the teaching of Gautam Buddha. At the same time he quotes Brahma Philosophy also. Varnashram dharma divides the Hindu Society, where as Brahma philosophy unites it. There are three principles of Brahma Philosophy 1) All is Brahma 2) I am Brahma 3) You are Brahma. These principles are ideal foundation forsocial democracy thus said Dr. Babasaheb. Dr. Babasahed Ambedkarmakes distinction between Vedants and Brahma philosophy. Brahmavihar philosophy does not say that the world is untrue. It does not say that the world is illusion (maya). But Vedant says that the world is illusion (maya& untrue). This is the fundamental difference between the two philosophies. The world is true and the base of this truth is Brahma. Some people think that to say ‘I am Brahma’ is matter of ‘ego’. But Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar rejects this view. The word Brahma in this context is used to mean ‘quality capacity’ of an individual. It is used simply to shed off one’s own ‘Inferiority Complex’. Therefore, we must understand that Brahma philosophy is very important from the point of view of society as it forms one of the strongest bases of democracy.
- What is Bramha philosophy? And what is Vedanta ? These are all concepts of spirituality. The contemporary ‘Quantum Physics’ too tells us the principle in scientific terms. What does ‘Quantum Physics’ tell us? The whole universe is by nature made of one and the same fundamental element. The universe we see is just the manifestation of this one fundamental element. We can say comparatively that the empirical science of spirituality and the science of ‘Quantum Physics’ share this ‘oneness’ of universe. There is no basis for making distinction between human beings either philosophically or scientifically.
An innovative definition to Democracy
- In the context of democracy, it is important to know as how Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar relates people and their rights of liberty, equality and fraternity to nationalism. He does not accept the view that democracy has been evolved from the philosophy of either Plato, a Greek philosopher or Christianity. It is a historical fact that there had been several Republics in India during the time of Lord Buddha. Not only this but the roots of parliamentary system is self-evident in these Republics. We too know that the debates and the view of the opposition party has been considered to be equally important in democracy. Truth is to be explored and tested from different points of view. We had very well known established system of Agreement (PurvaPaksha), Counter Argument (Uttarapaksha), Debate (Charcha), and Proposition (Siddhanta), An ideal parliamentary system is not different from this. I have tried to tell very briefly what Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar has said in his views on Democracy.
- Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar never accepts any of the definitions of the Western philosophers as standard though he does not say that they are not true. He only says that they are neither relevant nor suitable to the social context of India. In short, they are not applicable to the social life of India. We all know, for example, AbrahamLincoln’s definition of democracy from his most famous speech of Gettysburg. That definition is: ‘Democracy is the government of the people, by the people and for the people’. Here, what do we mean by the phrase, ‘by the people’? Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar thought very deeply and seriously on this aspect of ‘by the people’. It means ‘Representative government’. As large number of people cannot come together to take a decision, their elected members are representatives of their will, their persons, and their interests.
- Western people think democracy as just a political structure. It is called as ‘Polity’ in English. They think of democracy in the context of this ‘polity’. Simplicity, we may call it is a political ‘democracy. This definition of democracy is not acceptable to Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar. It may be called as ‘electoral’’ democracy. He is not satisfied with this ‘electoral’ democracy. It is very ‘superficial surface structure’ of democracy. He expects much deeper ‘content’ for democracy. It must have a ‘deeper structure’. Therefore, he gives a unique definition of democracy. The sense of his definition runs as: Democracy is a system that brings a fundamental change in the social and economic life of the people without shedding a single drop of blood. He does not think democracy as just a form of government rule. A political democracy has ‘a surface structure’, but it has no ‘a deep structure’, i.e. a soul. It is like a body without a soul. Therefore, he relates a purpose and a standard to the democracy. That purpose is to bring a fundamental change in the social and economic life of the people. This change must be without shedding even a single drop of blood. This is the standard of democracy so there is, a ‘purpose’, there is a ‘standard’ to this concept of democracy. This purpose and standard may be called as ‘deep structure’ of the democracy.
- How was the social and economic life of the people at the time when this constitution came into effect? If we think of this question, then we can have some idea of how farsighted he was in thinking of democratic system. Because of the caste system, our society is reduced to several pieces. The feeling of unity of nation does not arise in them since thousands of years, the society has been divided politically into two classes – rulers and ruled.
Everyone should have equal access…That is democracy
- It is now very clear that Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar does not accept just a political democracy. He emphasizes that there must be social and economic democracy too. The social structure must be based on the values of democracy. He thinks there should be an ideal society. In an ideal society, there is no caste discrimination. Every individual is free to make his choices. There are equal opportunities to all people. There is free movement of people from one class to another. Everyone has equal access to opportunity and exchange of goods, ideas, and services. Everyone has freedom of thought and speech. Everyone has equal participation in social and public life. The feeling of friendship connects all the groups/sections of the society. In political democracy, everyone enjoys one vote and one value. It means every individual has equal value. In the context of Indian society, such a form of only political democracy has serious limitations.
- Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar thinks of how people vote in our society? Do voters ever think of economic programme and policy? Do they think of the qualification of the candidates? Do they think of the ideology of the political parties? One class is ruling class and the other is the ruled class. The ruled class was absolutely robbed off their power. The effects of this resulted in illiteracy, poverty, fear of want, and insecurity. In economic terms, this resulted into a capitalist class and oppressed class. It is the duty of a democratic state to remove social and economic disparity. This has to be done without violence and bloodshed. As long as there is social and economic inequality/disparity, it is impossible to create the feeling of unity of nation among them. The capitalist class not oppressed class exist in a state lf perpetual class struggle. This is not in the general interest of the society as a whole. The gap of difference between them must be removed. In the last speech of the Constituent Assembly, Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar has given serious warnings to the members of the Constituent Assembly. If we remained contented with the political democracy, then the time and the day is not far away when the people who are the victims of social and economic discrimination and exploitation will not keep quite unless and until they destroy the superstructure of political democracy. It is the fundamental duty of the state to create the state of equal status and equal opportunity. Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar’s observation was that common voters generally do not think of all these factors. They think of candidates’ caste and religion. Majority in India is determined in voting by everywhere in India. He uses two political terms majority and minority. In India, democratic majority is the majority of caste. Therefore, the traditional ruled class is forced out of power structure. How to find a way out to this vicious circle?
Reservation – The way for winder representation
- The remedy Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar proposes for this vicious circle is of representation to all people, the participation to all people. This has been called normally as ‘Reservation’. The discussion, however, on ‘Reservation’ goes on totally in wrong way. Reservation is very essential for the representation of all people. Reservation is essential for the participation of all people. This ‘Reservation’ must, therefore, be naturally in education, in politics and in services. Without participation and representation of all people, democracy shall not exist in any country of the World. Without Participation of all people, nothing is possible. No common collective activity is possible. Therefore, the feeling of unity of nation among all the people is not possible. Nation is not formed by mere people. Nor is it formed by mere factors, what is needed is participation of all people living on that territory, common interests of all people and common general will of all the people.
- We all know that Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar is the Chief Architect of the Constitution of India. He is the one who drafted our Constitution. What is the meaning of all this? How I understand this subject I will try to share with you. Before all this, I felt that it is necessary to know in brief as how he entered into the Constituent Assembly. In 1946, the elections to the Provincial Assemblies took place and the Provincial Assemblies were thus constituted through general elections. 296 representatives were elected to the Constituent Assembly from the members of these Provincial Assemblies. His all India Scheduled Caste Federation was unfortunately defeated in the election. However, Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar was elected to the Constituent Assembly from Bengal. Mahapran Jogendranath Mandal took the initiative for this cause. He resigned his seat to elect Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar. He was elected from Jessore and Khulna the Hindu majority districts of Bengal. He was the only representative of the scheduled castes and the Scheduled Caste Federation in the constituent Assembly.
- Then after the partition of India, Jessore and Khulna was given to Pakistan irrespective of the fact that the Hindus had majority population in this constituency. The Hindu population was more than 52 percent in Jessore and Khulna. As per the principle of partition this constituency should have been the part of India. But in a strange manner it was offered to Pakistan by congress. Therefore, automatically he lost the membership of the Constituent Assembly of India. Had Jessore and Khulna been the part of India. The British stood by Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar to protect him as representative of the Scheduled Castes in the Constituent Assembly of India. There is enough record and evidence in support of the fact stated here. Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar’s special knowledge of constitutional expertise was known to the members from this period. Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar held given a memorandum to the Constituent Assembly through all India Scheduled Caste Federation regarding the nature of the constitution of India. He has published this memorandum in the form of a text called The Constitution of the United State of India.
All leaders realize the expertise of Ambedkar
- The Congress leaders who were in the Constitutional Assembly were of the opinion that it is in the interest of the Country to have a constitutional expert like Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar in the Constitutional expert like Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar in the Constitutional Assembly. Dr. Rajendra Prasad the President of Constituent Assembly (who was elected President of India in later days) wrote a letter to the Chief Minister of the Bombay Province Mr. B. G. Kher and sent an order through that letter to elect Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar to the Constituent Assembly from the Bombay Provincial Assembly. Here is that letter of Dr. Rajendra Prasad:
A Letter of Dr. Rajendra Prasad
Apart from any other consideration we have found Dr. Ambedkar’s work both in the Constituent Assembly & the various committees to which he was appointed to be of such an order as to require that we should not be deprived of his services. As you know, he has elected from Bengal & after the division of the province he has ceased to be a member of the Constituent Assembly. I am anxious that he should attend the recent session of the Constituent Assembly commencing from the 14th July & it is necessary therefore necessary that he should be elected immediately. – Rajendra Prasad
- Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel also took initiative in this case. He instantly spoke to Mr. B. G. Kher. Mr. Mavalankar was to be elected from the Bombay Provincial Assembly. For this purpose Barrister Jaikar had resigned to make his seat vacant for Mr. Mavalankar. Sardar Patel convinced Mr. Mavalankar the exigency of why Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar is must for this role of national relevance. Thus, at last, he was elected to the Constituent Assembly from the Bombay Provincial Assembly in July 1947.
- The historical work of making the constitution of India was about to begin shortly. As evident from the truth conditions prevailing in our society, his one of the prime objectives was to see the fundamental rights of the scheduled castes are duly protected in the new constitution of India. This was a very serious problem in front of him. For this purpose, it was most essential for him to be in the Constituent Assembly. Right from beginning, he was very clear in his position that the problem of scheduled castes must be constitutionally resolved. Their problem was of their constitutional protection of their participation and representation in all the fields of social, political and economic life. Their problem was not possible to be resolved amicably without providing constitutional protection to them. Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar was later nominated to the Drafting Committee of the Constitution. And then consequently he was made the chairperson of the Drafting Committee also. What he says after his appointment as the chairperson of the Drafting Committee is that ‘I am surprised of my selection to the Drafting committee. Then I was made a chairperson of it, I was just shocked to know this’. In Drafting Committee there were seven members. One of them had resigned. Another one died. One was too busy in the administrative work that it was practically impossible for him to be available for this national work. Two other members could not participate in the work of drafting Committee on health grounds and for being at a faraway distance from Delhi. One was living abroad in foreign country. Therefore, the entire responsibility of the Drafting Committee of the constitutions has fallen upon Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar only.
The key role played by Dr. Ambedkar in the making of Constitution
- Friends, I want to speak on the occasion of his selection as chairperson of the Drafting Committee of the Constitution of India. The majority of the members in the Constituent were Hindus. They have offered this historical responsibility to an eminent statesman and great social reformer known for strong criticism of the Hindu society as well as the Hindu Religion. Bharat has been existing still as Bharat only because our Bharat has never rejected even to her stringent critics. He has been welcome and he has been honored. This never occurs in any other culture of the world. In other cultures, the critics of religion are killed. Our culture and tradition is unique and unparalleled in matter of religious tolerance. It respects alternative practices of religious sects and independent worships. This great tradition of religious tolerance has been in a way respected by our 1947 generation. Therefore, we must very much grateful to them. The greatness of Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar is in this fact that as soon as he becomes the chairperson of the Drafting Committee of the Constitution he also displays the magnanimity of his soul by embracing the cause of all the people of India in a true sense. He proves to be a truly dedicated person to the nation making. Though he had said that his one of the objectives to enter the Constituent Assembly was to protect the constitutional rights of the scheduled castes, yet his unflinching devotion to Bharat was unquestionable by the tests of any standards. He instantly transformed himself from just the protector of the Scheduled Caste, to the greatest contributor to the Constitution of India. He was aware that he is not just a representative of the whole nation has been proved by the evidence of his work in both the letter and spirit. How come transformation happened in his personality? This does not happen by chance. He attained this transformation because his vision and the flight of his spirits encompassed the entire Bharat by innate intuition and natural endowment. His contemporaries overlooked to his innate and innate and intuitive national devotion and dedication. It is not the fault of Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar. In order to understand his contribution to the making of nation it is also necessary to study the social conditions prevailing in 1947 in India.
- India was to be free from the British Rule of almost one thousand years. Before the British Rule, Mughals rules over India at about eight hundred and fifty years. The British had gained complete control over India after the 1857 war at Plassey. During these one thousand years we had even forgotten that we have been under foreign rule. We had forgotten the sense of governance, the sense of rules and what types of the institutions we want, and what the nature of the constitution should be. The sense of the state, and the state craft had gone almost into the oblivion.
- During this period of oblivion, we see exceptionally a rare figure of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj and his rule standing tall like the Himalaya. We had forgotten the art of politics. We never had feeling of remorse in acts of traitor against our own people on one hand and never felt shame to please the British rulers. The society had already been petered into thousands of pieces because of the caste system. The British system of dole outs like the Vatandari and Sardari added to its suffering.
- Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel must be credited for the Herculean task of integration of more than 565 Princely States into Indian Territory through the act of accession. It was not easy to bring together these ‘fractured people’ and 565 Princely States. The vision of one state-one nation was to be moved with great care and tact. Bharat has been, since ancient period, one nation geographically. Bharat has also been one nation culturally. But unfortunately Bharat was not a nation socially. Bharat was not a nation emotionally. Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar had embarked upon the most difficult and complicated work of not only of the 20th century but of the last one thousand years of Indian history. He dedicated with a sense of utmost devotion all his time, energy and intellectual and academic excellence in transforming Bharat into a modern nation-state. What I feel here is that we are all so indebted to his unique and Himalayan contribution to the nation making that the many more forthcoming generations shall prefer to live in his unique gratitude.
His word of caution at the crucial hour
- On 19 December 1946, Pandit Nehru moved the Resolution of Declaration of Objects in the first meeting of the Constituent Assembly of India. There had been in all 8 articles in that Resolution. In Article 3 of those resolutions, one of the statements is about the distribution of power between the centre and the states. It runs as:
Wherein the said territories, whether with their present boundaries or with such others as may be determined by the Constituent Assembly and there after according to the law of the constructions, shall possess and retain the status of autonomous units, together with residuary power and exercise all power and functions of government and administration.
- Pandit Nehru proposes autonomous status to the States along with the residual powers. This fact can be a cause of potential major threat to the unity and integrity of our country. In his very first speech of the constituent Assembly, being aware of this serious lacuna, he just straight forwardly pointed out his serous objection to this ‘autonomy’ of the States. It is here we see his national figure grow and glow in the bright light at the dawn of independence of the nation. With his microscopic correct observation and perfect caesarean operations he performed in order to hammer out ‘the Bharat’s destiny’ secured and safe by blending together the mass of consciousness scattered in the form of different castes, creeds and the Princely States. Let us see what he said about these truth conditions of our national life:
I know today we are divided politically, socially, and economically. We are a group of warring camps and I may go even to the extent of confessing that I am probably one of the leaders of such a camp. But, Sir, with all this, I am quite convinced that given time and circumstance nothing in the world will prevent this country from becoming one. (Applause): With all our castes and creeds I have not the slightest hesitation that we shall in some form be a united people (cheers), I have no hesitation in saying that notwithstanding the agitation of the Muslim League for partition of India someday, enough light would dawn upon the Muslims themselves and they too will begin to think that a United India is better even for them (Loud cheers and applause)
- We should also see the objections he had taken to Pandit Nehru’s Objective Resolutions in his own words here:
What does paragraph 3 say? Paragraph 3 says that in this country there shall be two different sets of polity, one at the bottom, autonomous Provinces or the States or such other areas as care to join a United India. These autonomous units will have full power. They will have also residuary powers. At the top, over the Provincial units, there will be a Union Government, having certain subjects for legislation, for execution and for administration. As I read this part of the Resolution, I do not find any reference to the idea of grouping, an intermediate structure between the Union on the one hand and the province on the other. In Reading this para, in the light of the provinces on the other. Reading this para, in the light of the Cabinet Mission’s Statement or reading it even the light of the Resolution passed by the Congress at its Wardha Session, I must confess that I am a great idea, surprise at the absence of any reference to the idea of grouping of the provinces. So far as I am personally concerned, I do not like the idea of grouping (here, hear) I like a strong united Centre, (hear, hear) much stronger than the Centre we had created under the Government of India Act of 1935. But, Sir, these opinions, these wishes have no bearing on the situation at all. We have travelled a long road. The Congress Party, for reasons best known to itself consented, if I may use that expression, to the dismantling of a strong centre which had been created in this country as a result of 150 years of administration and which I must say, was to me a matter of great admiration and respect and refuge.
‘Strong Centre’ indispensable for this Nation
- For India, politically, a weak centre of power is not acceptable to Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar under whatever conditions. In this context of security, what does history of India tell us? It tells us that whenever the centre is weak politically, India has become a victim of foreign invasions. He strongly wants to avoid the repetition of history in case of foreign invasions. It is, therefore, he has made provision of emergency for the centre to take over all powers to be absolutely stronger to deal with any threat to its unity and integrity either from within thecountry from outside the country or because of the financial uncertainties. The issue of sovereignty is of the utmost paramount concern for him politically. He has therefore made the centre stronger in the emergency. As India is made of diversity of cultures and languages, people have naturally strong sentiments for their culture and languages. The Union can no longer suppress these sentiments nor can imagine use force against them. In the larger and everlasting interest of nationality, it is necessary to allow them their natural growth. This is one of the best ways to extend freedom as much as possible to them so that they may take their decisions in their own interest. The wisdom lies here in balancing the power between the Centre and the States conveniently according to the needs of either the Centre or the State. In an emergency the Centre must be stronger, and in normal times, the States may exercise power as per their requirements but keeping in mind the public interest. Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar quotes one statement of Edmund Burke a political philosopher of England, in this context: ‘one can give power but one cannot give wisdom’. Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar’s greatness may be evident here in the fact that he agrees to give power to the State conditionally but he gives wisdom to the Centre. Our States are autonomous in several matters, but they are not sovereign. He give our country one currency. He gives our country one citizenship. He gives to all of us equal social, political and economic rights. To say the things more pointedly, one can say he gives us Bharat in its true essential sense. In English, it is said as ‘Ideal of Bharat’ how is this Bharat? Bharat is full of diversities of languages and creeds with different life styles. These diversities are not the differences. He had taken utmost care and precaution for avoiding potential threat to unity and integrity of the nation from them. Here is reflected his vision of farsightedness. I can say, therefore, as an implication of his great contribution to the making of nation. The young generations have been emerging upfront to strengthen the Bharat of the vision of Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar. If we just skip over the last 150 years, there shall be no difficultly at all to understand the great contribution of Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar in the making of nation.
Unparalleled contributionin making the Nation
- Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar has proposed the concept of Nation-State. Mere geographical integrity and cultural unity is not enough to form the nation. It does not mean, nation can be possible without these factors. They are the must but the ‘soul’ or ‘spirit of the nation exists in the ‘emotional unity’ of the people of that nation. We are one people. We are one nation. Whatever may be our language, whatever may be our creed we are one people emotionally and spiritually too. Therefore, the principle of fraternity is of the highest significance. Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar has given us the concept of democratic Nationalism rooted in the constitution based on social justice. It can be said in another words also – Constitutional nationalism based on social justice. Politically we are state, culturally we are nation, but in order to become Nation-state we must have strong bond of fellow feeling and sense of Brotherhood. This contribution of Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar to the making of nation, to the making of Bharat is unique and unparalleled in the history of contemporary world. (RAMESH PATANGE)