An untouchable person occupies influential positions
An untouchable person reached such influential positions in national politics, it was natural to come across harsh criticism from the Hindus of the upper castes. Some even claimed in later decades that Ambedkar had no notable role in the Constituent Assembly.
Fazir manuDue to his appointment as the Sadar of the Drafting Committee, he was also being given the title of ‘New Manu’, mimicking the name of the author of Manusmriti. This was an interesting irony because Ambedkar lit Holi copies of Manusmriti during the ‘Mahad Satyagraha’ in 1927. Arun Shourie, accusing Ambedkar, has called him ‘Fazir Manu’.
He says that Ambedkar was not in a position to influence the text of the constitution because the drafting committee was only responsible for finalizing the paragraphs prepared by the sub-committees formed on different subjects and even after all these suggestions. In the plenary sessions were discussed in detail. Apart from this, Shourie and Ambedkar were outside the Congress party anyway, while the important guidelines of each article were fixed within the party’s inner circle.
Shourie’s last argument is that Ambedkar used to be in a minority on numerous occasions in the discussions held during various sub-committees, drafting committee and plenary sessions, hence the claim that he would have written the constitution issue.
I believe that Shourie’s conclusion underestimates Ambedkar’s role in the Constituent Assembly. Of course, at times, he also complained about how Congress leaders used to consult each other in order to pass several paragraphs quickly, but even then it would not be right to say that he Only the paragraphs and parts decided by others, were just threaded into one thread.
H.S. Verma and Neeta Verma argue
H.S., questioning Shourie’s interpretations. Verma and Nita Verma have argued that they were selected by the Constituent Assembly on the basis of their administrative efficiency and political influence.
Speech in slang
He has shown that Ambedkar’s election as head of the drafting committee was the result of his first intervention in the Constituent Assembly in 1946. When Nehru outlined the objectives of the Constituent Assembly, another member, Jayakar, suggested that such a resolution cannot be voted on unless we take into account that the representatives of the Muslim League — who Still swinging between the formation of Pakistan and allegiance to India — whether or not they join the Constituent Assembly. On this occasion, Ambedkar gave a speech in very rough terms and suggested to find a middle way. A lot of Congress leaders could not live without being affected by the balance and law that was seen in their speech.
Therefore, H.S. Varma and Neeta Verma believe that Ambedkar got the chairmanship of the drafting committee purely on the strength of his abilities. Apart from this, we should also re-assess the role of the drafting committee.
This committee was not responsible for writing the initial text of the constitution but was entrusted with the task of preparing the written text of the constitution on the basis of the paragraphs sent by various committees which would later be presented to the Constituent Assembly.
Several issues were read before the meeting and each time the members of the drafting committee, often its president Ambedkar, conducted and led the discussion. Ambedkar was among a handful of members of the Constituent Assembly who were members of more than one of the remaining 15 committees, besides being a member of the drafting committee.
So, they could also keep a close watch on the debates on the articles related to very important topics like the rights of minorities. Above all, being the drafting committee chairman, all proposals from various committees were sent to him and this and his drafting committee secretary S.K. N. It was the responsibility of Mukherjee, whom Ambedkar later paid tribute to in very generous terms, to re-formulate these paragraphs. Before clarifying many such articles before the Constituent Assembly, their clarification was also necessary.
T.T. Krishnamachari’s plea
Due to the constant problem of non-attendance of the drafting committee members repeatedly, these editorial responsibilities also mainly fell on Ambedkar’s shoulders. Later, a member of the drafting committee T.T. Krishnamachari had told before the Constituent Assembly in November 1948:
‘Probably the House is aware that one of the seven members whom you have nominated (in the Drafting Committee) has resigned from the House and some other members have come in their place. One member has died in the meantime and no new members have come in their place. One member was in the US and his place has not been filled. Another person was involved in government affairs and he was not discharging his responsibilities. One or two persons were far away from Delhi and probably could not participate in the committee’s actions due to health reasons. Overall, it has happened that the burden of writing this Constitution has fallen on Dr. Ambedkar. I have no doubt that we all should be thankful to him that he has carried out this responsibility so admirably. ‘
At the forefront of the determination of the constitution
Even if Ambedkar was not the author of the constitution, he was definitely present at the forefront of its determination. Not only did he make significant changes in the proposals of the committee, he fought for them till the end of the plenary sessions, but despite his success from time to time, he continued to debate the next proposals, but also gave direction to the debates.
Thus, Ambedkar has played a pivotal role in the creation of the Constitution of India and this shows why Shourie is so upset with him! His argument is also correct to some extent that Ambedkar was responsible for ignoring Gandhiji’s ideas.
Belief in Liberal Democracy
Ambedkar favored the same values and political models in the Constituent Assembly that he had imbibed during his student life at the time of puberty in the West. He believed in liberal democracy ie Liberal Democracy. He was opposed to the Left which wanted to redefine the Indian Republic from the very first article of the Constitution into a ‘socialist’ mold. He believed that this would destroy democracy.
According to him, the right to choose should be with the government chosen by the people, which type of social structure is best.
On November 19, 1948, highlighting this, he said: The reason why we have established a political democracy in this constitution is that we do not want to establish a permanent dictatorship of any group in any way. Although we have established political democracy, but at the same time we also wish that we should make economic democracy our ideal. In the eyes of the people, today we have many such paths on which the goal of economic democracy can be achieved. There are also those who consider individualism as the best form of economic democracy. There are also those who consider a socialist state as the best form of economic democracy. And, there are also those who consider communist ideas to be the most sophisticated form of economic democracy. (In such a situation) We have thoughtfully introduced something in the language of policy-oriented principles that is not stable or rigid. We have left a lot of scope for differently-minded people to decide which path they want to follow in order to reach the ideal of economic democracy, and to motivate their voters to reach economic democracy. What is the best route for
Opposition to the constitution amendment introduced in favor of nationalization
Following this logic faithfully, he opposed the constitution amendment introduced in favor of nationalization of natural resources. This constitution amendment proposal could not reach the voting stage, which is another mark of Ambedkar’s ‘legislative power’. It seems that he had the moral power to decide whether an amendment could be introduced for voting or not.
Another indication of his fondness for liberal democracy appears when he proposed an amendment in the plenary session in favor of a strict separation between executive powers and the judiciary. This was a rare occasion as his main role was to defend only the text set by the drafting committee.
Some representatives argued against it, citing the authority of the state, that if the state had very strict legal control, it would be weakened. Although, as Prime Minister, Nehru did not have much time due to the discharge of his responsibilities, he participated in this debate because he knew that Ambedkar wanted to pass this amendment.
States are not weak due to the sharing of powers
Eventually, this amendment was approved and included as article 50 in the Directive Principles of Policy. Later, Ambedkar also defended the establishment of the British-style judicial system. He was of the view that the state would not be weakened by the sharing of powers.
Ambedkar was a supporter of a system dependent on a powerful center. He believed that more federalism than necessary would block the uniform implementation of the constitution in the territory of the whole country. For example, he said that if the states were given more autonomy, then the article that was set to end untouchability would not be often implemented.
It was natural for Gandhiji’s supporters to be restless with such ideas in favor of a powerful center, which always kept the pressure in favor of decentralization of power up to the village level. By rejecting the proposals of the radical Gandhians or weakening their influence, Ambedkar in the Constituent Assembly had in a way equalized his posthumously with Mahatma Gandhi.
Book: ‘Bhimrao Ambedkar: A Biography’
Author – Christoph Jafralo
Translation – Yogendra Dutt
Publisher: Rajkamal Publications
Price: Hardcover 650 / -, Paperback 225 / –
page no. : 208