26th January in Dalit History – Constitution of India came into force ending Manusmriti/Vedic laws


26 January 1950: The Constitution of India came into force ending the British Sovereignty over India as a Dominion status. Dr. B R Ambedkar is the Father of the Constitution of India and who gave the country the best constitution in the world – thus laying the foundation for the Word’s biggest and vibrant democracy.

After the transfer of power by the Birtish to Indian hands, Nehru and Patel wanted to invite Sir Ivor Jennings, an internationally-known constitution expert of those times, for drafting Constitution of India, who had drafted the Constitutions of many Asian countries. M K Gandhi, however advised them not to look for a foreigner, when they had within India an outstanding legal constitutional expert, Dr. B R Ambedkar. This is how the choice to draft the free India’s constitution fell on Dr. Ambedkar.

So the Congress leaders desired rapprochement with Dr. Ambedkar, a man of outstanding caliber, in order to make use of his gifts and sharp intellect in the building of the nation and the preservation of hard won, new-born independence. In a most conciliatory and appreciative mood they discussed the issue, talking at times to each other over phone, about the inclusion of Dr. Ambedkar in the Cabinet. Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru then called Dr. Ambedkar to his chamber and asked him whether he would accept the office of Law Minister in his Cabinet.

The offer came to Dr. Ambedkar as a great surprise. “I was”, he said on 10 October 1951 (after his resignation from the Cabinet), “in the opposite camp and had already been condemned as unworthy of association when the interim Government was formed in August, 1946. I was left to speculate as to what could have happened to bring about this change in the attitude of the Prime Minister. I had my doubts. I did not know how I could carry on with those who had never been my friends. I had doubts as to whether I could, as a Law Member, maintain the standard of legal knowledge and acumen which had been maintained by those who had preceded me as Law Ministers of the Government of India. But I kept my doubts at rest and accepted the offer of the Prime Minister on the ground that I should not deny my cooperation when it was asked for in the building of our nation”.

In a most patriotic spirit, Dr. Ambedkar did not, therefore, lag behind to play his important, constructive and dignified role in the building of the nation. He did rise to the occasion and gave his whole-hearted honest consent to Nehru. Forgetting the past bickering, as the service to the country was uppermost in his heart.  The Drafting Committee consisted of (1) Dr. B. R. Ambedkar – Chairman (2) N. Gopalaswami Ayyangar, (3) Alladi Krishnaswami Ayyar (a distinguished jurist), (4) K.M. Munshi (a distinguished jurist), (5) Syyed Mohd. Saadull, (6) N. Madhav Rao (in place of B.L. Mitra) and (7) D.P Khaitan (T Krishnamachari, after Khaitan’s death in 1948).

Dr. Ambedkar spared no efforts and put his heart in drafting of the Constitution. Despite his ill – health he worked ceaselessly day in and day out, almost singly, concentrating his energies in that direction. Somewhat of a recluse, he remained cooped up for  hours together daily, whether at the Parliament House or in the confines of his bungalow at 1, Hardinge Avenue, Delhi – no rest, no recreation, no going out even for a moment. The drafting of the Constitution flowed heavily in his head, blood and viens all the time.

The Drafting Committee was in effect charged with the duty of preparing a Constitution in accordance with the decisions of the Constituent Assembly on the reports made by the various Committees appointed by it such as the Union Powers Committee, the Union Constitution Committee, the Provincial  Constitution Committee and the Advisory Committee on Fundamental Rights, Minorities and Tribal Areas etc. The Constituent Assembly had also directed that in certain matters the provisions contained in the Government of India Act, 1935 should be followed except on points which were referred to in the Dr. Ambedkar’s letter of 21 February 1948, in which he had referred to the departure made and alternatives suggested by the Drafting Committee. As such the Drafting Committee faithfully carried out the directions given to it.

The Draft Constitution as settled by the Drafting Committee was introduced in the Constituent Assembly by Dr. Ambedkar on 4 November 1948. He moved for its consideration the same day, and in doing so, drew attention to the important features of the Constitution and dealt with the criticisms at length against it. The motion moved by Dr. Ambedkar, “that the Constitution as settled by the Assembly be passed”, was then put to vote by Dr. Rajendra Prasad, President of the Constituent Assembly.

Supporing the motion for the adoption of the Constituton the whole Consituent Assembly was illuminated by the grand commentary, and speaker after speaker – representing various groups and organizations – paid glowing tributes to Dr. Ambedkar for his lucid, able, symmetrical speechless and the brilliant analysis of the Consitution. They expressed their highest appreciation, with gratitude, of ther skill, industry and intellectual qualities with which he applied himself to the tremendous task of drafting the Constitution.

On 5 November 1949, Shri T. T. Krishnamachari, a member of the committee said: “Though a committee of seven members was formed, one of then resigned. Another was nominated in his place. Another member died. No one took his place. One of the members was very busy with government work. Owing to ill health two other members were far away from Delhi. As a result, Dr. Ambedkar alone had to carry the entire burden of preparing the draft of the Constitution. The work he has done is admirable”.

In one of the debates on 25 November 1949, a day before the Constituent Assembly adopted the Consitution of India, Dr. Ambedkar said: “On 26th January 1950, we are going to enter into a life of contradictions. In politics, we will have equality and in social and economic structure, continue to deny the principle of one man one value.

522447_587821457960633_286051020_n

How long shall we continue to live this life of contradictions? How long shall we continue to deny equality in our social and economic life? If we continue to deny it for long, we will do so only by putting our political democracy in peril. We must remove this contradiction at the earliest possible moment else those who suffer from inequality will blow up the structure of democracy which this Constituent Assembly has so laboriously built up.

“I feel that the constitution is workable, it is flexible and it is strong enough to hold the country together both in peacetime and in wartime. Indeed, if I may say so, if things go wrong under the new Constitution, the reason will not be that we had a bad Constitution. What we will have to say is that Man was vile.”

“There is no nation of Indians in the real sense of the world, it is yet to be created. In believing we are a nation, we are cherishing a great delusion. How can people divided into thousand of castes be a nation? The sooner we realise that we are not yet a nation, in a social and psychological sense of the world, the better for us.”

“Independence is no doubt a matter of joy. But let us not forget that this independence has thrown on us greater responsibilities. By independence, we have lost the excuse of blaming the British for anything going wrong. If hereafter things go wrong, we will have nobody to blame except ourselves. There is a greater danger of things going wrong. Times are fast changing,”

“Our object in framing the Constitution is really two-fold: (1) To lay down the form of political democracy, and (2) To lay down that our ideal is economic democracy and also to prescribe that every Government whatever is in power shall strive to bring about economic democracy. The directive principles have a great value, for they lay down that our ideal is economic democracy.”

26 January 1956: Dr. Ambedkar talked abour separate political platform for SC/STs.[1]

A number of scheduled caste workers of Agra came to invite Dr. Ambedkar to visit Agra. Manik and Ratna Kumar – workers informed Dr. Ambedkar that a Scheduled Caste Federation worker, Gopichand Pippal, had just joined the Congress after issuing a damaging statement against the SC Federation and its founder-leader Dr. Ambedkar. Dr. Ambedkar smiled and said “The Indian National Congress Organization was dominated mostly by rouges, cheats, deceicer, exploiters, black-marketers and smugglers. How could they allow this simple and poor SC worker to mingle with tem? He would be hounded and chased out of the Congress platform in no time. He would lose his identity which he had enjoyed in SC Federation of Agra as a senior worker. His own consciousness would prick him for betraying his community. He would be dishonoured and debased. You do not bother. I have established a political platform for my people since very long. All of you can speak, criticize and ventilate your grievences from this political platform. So long as you maintain your separate political identity and entity you can be respected and honoured. Please maintain this political platform and save yourselves from all temptations. After my death even five devoted workers gather together and omove the blue flag; they would kep my spirit of self-respect movement and the community will go on in the path of progress. If I agree with all confused policies of the Congress and send a postcard to Nehru today, I will be appointed as Deputy Prime Minister of India within seconds. A man like me who struggled and battled against social and political inequality and who made the untouchables question an All India and world problem would be welcomed without any pre-conditions. This is a creation of my efforts. Who cared for you so far?  All political parties have been exploiting you for their own veste be interest. I made my people conscious of their human rights and made a third political force in the Indian politics next to the Hindus and Muslims. No party or rulers would dare ignore your problem in future. You should devote and sacrifice all your interest to keep up the banner of the Republican Party of India always flying and do not merge with any other political party. Educate yourself to exercise your votes in favour of you own candidate only in the election. You may not get your candidates elected due to less number of votes. This is but natural. If you continue to vote your candidate of your own party, the voters in general would be trained and would be compelled to think the value of your votes. This is what happened with regard to the Labour Party in England. This party came into existence in 1891. They fought the elections till 1930 when they formed their own Government under the leadership of Dr. Ramsay Mc Donnel. The Labour Party worked hard for 40 years to convince their votes. In the end, this party became very important. The party made its place in partlamentary system of England. On the same line if you work hard with unity, courage and strong will, the Republican Pary will rule India one day.

26 January 1957: Dr. Ambedkar – a life source of inspiration[2]

N Shivraj, a former president of Republican Party of India , aptly declared before a mammoth gathering in Bombay that Dr. Ambedkar established his great leadership in his life-time in all fields, but he had become greater and mightier after his death.

Dr. Ambedkar’s life and mission are a source of inspiration for all those who want to rise above prejudices. Indeed he was India’s tallest national hero as he has noulded the destinies of  millions by his noble deeds, thoughts and acts. And the history has already recorded these facts. Some jaundiced, prejudiced at castiest maniacs may abuse, burn his book, pull down his statue but the overwhelming majority of the people of India over 85% to 90% of the population have already called him their savour. That is enough.

26 January 2006: A dalit woman Sarpanch was not allowed to hoist the Indian National Flag in Nasik 

When Sunita Baburao Ghoderao, a dalit woman sarpanch of Karwadi village in Sinnar taluka, Nasik district, went to hoist the tricolour on Rebublic Day in the Zilla Parishad school ground, she was stopped by the principal and a few others on the ground of her caste. Despite her requests, the flag was hoisted by someone else.

26 January 2007: A Dalit ‘Sarpanch’ (village head) was refrained from hoisting National Flag on the occasion of Republic Day of India in village-Methwaliya. PS-Riwilganj. Dist- Chhapra.in Bihar.

He was not only refrained but beaten brutally and boycotted by dominant caste persons.

Shivji Manjhi is a Dalit village head (Sarpanch) of Methwaliya Panchayat and went to Panchayat Bhawan (Building) on Republic Day to hoist Indian National Flag. But that time a dominant caste person Muni Singh and his two friends stopped him and told him that he is a Dalit so he would not be allowed hoist the Flag. They beat him brutally and removed his clothes. Following this the dalits of the village complained to local police station but the police did not register their complaints. Due to fear these Dalit families flew away from their village. 26 Jan 1950: Periyar declared the Republic Day as a Mourning Day for Tamils.[3]

[1] Shankarand Shastri, My experiences and memories of Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar, book pg 89

[2] Shankaranad Shastri, My memories and experiences of Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar, pg 73-74

[3] http://hamaraleaders.blogspot.in/2010/10/periyar-ev-ramasamy.html

Advertisements

Leave a comment

Filed under Constitution of India, Dalit-Bahujans, Dr B R Ambedkar, Equal Rights, India, Today in Dalit History, Today in History

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s