Real Honour for Dr. Bhimrao Ramji Ambedkar
By Satya Narayan Sahu | PUBLISHED: 05, Apr 2018, 13:20 pm IST | UPDATED: 12, Apr 2018, 9:29 am IST
A claim has been made by PM Narendra Modi by saying that NDA Government has honoured Dr. Ambedkar the most. The claim was made in response to mounting criticisms that the Government of India has followed policies and measures which have multiplied Dalit anger and atrocities.
The best honour was given to Dr Bhimrao Ramji Ambedkar when he was made Chairman of the Drafting Committee of the Constituent Assembly. He never thought that he would be made Chairman of the Drafting Committee and candidly admitted that he entered the Constituent Assembly as a leader of a warring faction, like every body else, to fight for the interests of the constituency represented by him and in his case it was the constituency of scheduled castes and tribes.
By becoming the Chairman of the Drafting Committee he could do so much for the Scheduled castes and particularly in respect of reservations for them in jobs and legislatures and abolishing untouchability. In fact many Members of the Constituent Assembly raised very funny technical objections on untouchability which could have perpetuated untouchability. For instance a Member said that it would be difficult to legally define untouchability and so it should not be there in the Constitution.
Professor Bhikhu Parekh in his book "Debating India" has written that when reservation for SCs and STs in jobs and legislative seats were prescribed by Dr, Ambedkar and insisted by him, Sardar Patel who was a key member of the Constituent Assembly, requested him to withdraw reservation for SCs and STs. Immediately Dr. Ambedkar handed over his resignation as Chairman of the Drafting Committee. On getting that resignation letter Sardar Patel tore it off and asked Ambedkar to go ahead.
The framing of the Constitution under his Chairmanship of the Drafting Committee constituted the highest act of statesmanship on the part of Ambedkar who acted in the highest spirit of reconciliation and understanding eschewing all bitterness which he nursed and wrote about in his numerous essays against Hinduism, caste Hindus and retrograde practice of untouchability.
All other activities to honour him posthumously be it in the form of purchasing the house in London where he stayed for studying and convert it to a museum is only symbolic in nature. Even conferment of Bharat Ratna on him in early 1990s and unveiling of his portrait by V P Singh Government is again symbolic in nature.
The Constitution which Dr. Ambedkar framed as Chairman of the Drafting Committee was opposed by RSS and a few years back RSS chief is on record in saying that reservation should be stopped. Even a Union Minister is saying that the NDA Government would change the Constitution and secularism mentioned in the Constitution and asked every one to reduce one self to respective castes and religious identititues.
The NDA Government headed by Vajpayee wanted to review the Constitution and it stopped doing so only when President K R Narayanan made a sharp statement by asking "When so much is being talked about review of the Constitution let us examine if the Constitution has failed us or we have failed the Constitution".
All those who find it uncomfortable and difficult to deal with the progressive, secular and egalitarian Constitution drafted under the leadership of Ambedkar are now talking about the highest honour they have conferred on him.
The claim of highest honour being given to Ambedkar by those who throughout their history talked about establishment of Hindu Rashtra falls flat in face of Ambedkar's stand that Hindu Rashtra would be arrant nonsense and result in calamity.
# Mr Satya Narayan Sahu was OSD and Press Secretary to the late President of India Shri K.R. Narayanan and served as Director in the Prime Minister's Office. He is currently Joint Secretary in the Rajya Sabha Secretariat. The views expressed by him are personal and not that of Rajya Sabha Secretariat.