Tag Archives: Hindu Code Bill

5th February in Dalit History – Dr. Ambedkar introduced Hindu Code bill in the Parliament, Hindu leaders opposed it


5 February 1951: Hindu Code bill was introduced in the Parliament

Following India’s independence Jawaharlal Nehru entrusted his first Law Minister Dr. Ambedkar, who belonged to the Scheduled Caste Federation, with the task of codifying the Hindu personal law as the first step towards a uniform civil code. Dr. Ambedkar formed a committee with himself as its chairperson. The other members were K Y Bhandarkar. G R Rajagopal of the Ministry of Law and S V Gupte of the Bombay Bar. The committee made only minor revisions to the draft that was presented to the Consituent Assembly in 1947 before Independence. But even before the bill could be put up to the Constituent Assembly (Legislative) some vocal sections of Hindu public opinion raised the bogey ‘Hinduism in danger’. Dr. Ambedkar and his team, however, was undaunted and continued with their efforts with all seriousness and presented the draft bill to Nehru’s cabinet, which unanimously approved it.  Emboldened by this exercise, on 5 February 1951 he introduced the bill to the Parliament. But to his utter surprise, many Hindu members, including some who had approved it in the cabinet earlier, now resisted it. Sardar Patel as the home minister and the Deputy Prime Minister, Syama Prasad Mookerjee as the industry minister who belonged to the Hindu Mahasabha, and Pandit Madan Mohan Malviya, a tradionalist Congressman, strongly opposed the bill. Pattabhi Sitaramayya, the Congress president, also opposed it, particularly keeping in view its negative impacts on Hindu votes in the election of 1951-52. Mookerjee said it would ’shatter the magnificent structure of Hindu culture and stultify a dynamic and catholic way of life that had wonderfully adapted itself to the changes for centuries’. Even women belonging to the Hindu Mahasabha came to the forefront to oppose the bill. Already a year ago, in a long letter to President Rajendra Prasad, Janakibai Joshi, the President of the All India Hindu Women’s Conference that belonged to the Hindu Mahasabha, had written on 4 February 1950 that any move to replace the concept of Hindu marriage as sacrament by making it contractual would destroy the entire family system of the Hindus. ‘The Hindu family should be taken as a unit and fragmentation of the property should not be allowed so as to go away to other family through daughter’.

Check also – 5th February (1988) in Dalit History – Remembering Dalits’ fight to get publish Babasaheb Ambedkar’s Books

pablo (3)

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Filed under Caste Discrimination, Casteism, Dalit History, Dr B R Ambedkar, Equal Rights, Today in Dalit History

Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar’s fight for women’s rights


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Check also – Dr. B. R. Ambedkar and International Women’s Day

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Read also – Mahatma Jotiba Phule and Savitribai Phule’s contribution towards women empowerment

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Filed under Constitution of India, Dalit-Bahujans, Dr B R Ambedkar, India

5th February in Dalit History – Mahatma Jyotiba Phule asked economic assistance from Government


5 February 1852: Mahatma Jyotiba Phule asked economic assistance from Government for his educational institutions.[1]

Among the documents at the Mumbai Archives is an application dated 5 February 1852 written by Jyotiba Phule asking for economic assistance from the government for his educational institution. The other copy of the letter is accompanied by a recommendation letter by Major Kandy, the Principal of Poona College. According to this, the first three schools for girls were started on 3 July 1851, 17 November 1851 and 15 March 1852 at the Chiplunkar Wada, Rasta Peth and Vetal Peth, respectively. It has been noted that there were four, three and one teachers and forty eight, fifty one and thirty three girls respectively in these schools. Savitribai Phule was the Headmistress in the first of these schools along with Vishnupant Moreshwar and Vitthal Bhaskar as co-teachers. There were eight girls on the first day of the first school. Soon their numbers went up to more than forty eight.

It is to note that earlier, the Inspector of Schools Dadoba Pandurang had inspected the school and examined the girls on 16 October 1851. Though not much time had passed since the school began, the progress that girls showed was remarkable.

Mahatma Jyotiba Phule

Mahatma Jyotiba Phule

5 February 1951: Hindu Code bill was introduced in the Parliament[2]

Following India’s independence Jawaharlal Nehru entrusted his first Law Minister Dr. Ambedkar, who belonged to the Scheduled Caste Federation, with the task of codifying the Hindu personal law as the first step towards a uniform civil code. Dr. Ambedkar formed a committee with himself as its chairperson. The other members were K Y Bhandarkar. G R Rajagopal of the Ministry of Law and S V Gupte of the Bombay Bar. The committee made only minor revisions to the draft that was presented to the Consituent Assembly in 1947 before Independence. But even before the bill could be put up to the Constituent Assembly (Legislative) some vocal sections of Hindu public opinion raised the bogey ‘Hinduism in danger’. Dr. Ambedkar and his team, however, was undaunted and continued with their efforts with all seriousness and presented the draft bill to Nehru’s cabinet, which unanimously approved it.  Emboldened by this exercise, on 5 February 1951 he introduced the bill to the Parliament. But to his utter surprise, many Hindu members, including some who had approved it in the cabinet earlier, now resisted it. Sardar Patel as the home minister and the Deputy Prime Minister, Syama Prasad Mookerjee as the industry minister who belonged to the Hindu Mahasabha, and Pandit Madan Mohan Malviya, a tradionalist Congressman, strongly opposed the bill. Pattabhi Sitaramayya, the Congress president, also opposed it, particularly keeping in view its negative impacts on Hindu votes in the election of 1951-52. Mookerjee said it would ’shatter the magnificent structure of Hindu culture and stultify a dynamic and catholic way of life that had wonderfully adapted itself to the changes for centuries’. Even women belonging to the Hindu Mahasabha came to the forefront to oppose the bill. Already a year ago, in a long letter to President Rajendra Prasad, Janakibai Joshi, the President of the All India Hindu Women’s Conference that belonged to the Hindu Mahasabha, had written on 4 February 1950 that any move to replace the concept of Hindu marriage as sacrament by making it contractual would destroy the entire family system of the Hindus. ‘The Hindu family should be taken as a unit and fragmentation of the property should not be allowed so as to go away to other family through daughter’.[3]

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11th January in Dalit History – Dr. Ambedkar had started the war to spearhead Hindu Code Bill


11 Jan 1950: Dr. Ambedkar addressed the 2nd session of Siddharth College Parliament in Bombay (present Mumbai). At another function which he addressed he was presented with a golden casket containing a copy of India’s constitution by the Bombay SC Federation.

After his great triumph in the Constituent Assembly in spearheading the preparation of Constitution of India, Dr. Ambedkar returned to Bombay but brought with him a new battle cry, the Hindu Code Bill which he had revised & submitted to the Constituent Assembly in October 1948. Work on revising & codifying Hindu Law had been going on for the last ten years. Dr. Ambedkar transformed it & parts of the Code Bill relating to joint family & women’s property became a nightmare to most Members of the Select Committee.

As soon as Dr. Ambedkar touched the Code & became its spokesman intelligentsia all over India was driven into two camps, on one side was Manu & other Dr. Ambedkar. Dr. Ambedkar started the war on 11 January 1950 when he addressed the 2nd session of the Siddharth College Parliament in Bombay. He said that it would be wrong to describe the bill as either radical or revolutionary. He said the Bill do not oppose orthodox practices while according sanction to new ways of progress. He said the govt must endeavor to prepare a Civil Code for the benefit of the country as a whole and the Hindu Code was a step in that direction. He said it was beneficial from the country’s oneness that the same set of laws should govern Hindu social & religious life. He said the modifications were based on Hindu Shastras & Smritis.

hindu code

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