24Dec06

Atrocitynews special:

 

Do we need another revolution?

 

Constitutional mandate to end discrimination, silent Indian Parliament and Roaring philosophy of Dr. Ambedkar.

by   **Star Columnist of  Atrocitynews

Board of Directors of the East India Company ruled India till 1858. After the mutiny of 1857, the power was transferred to the British Parliament through famous Queen’s declaration in 1858. The constitutional history of India begins with this proclamation and transfer of power to British Parliament. The Secretary of the State was to be responsible to the British Parliament. It was followed by new reforms in the name of India Act enacted by the British Parliament. There were India Acts of 1861, 1871 and so on.

In 1917, there was a great change in the policies of British. It was declared in the month of August that year that Indians will be given the right to self governance progressively. After 1917, any demand for self-governance was not to be considered as seditious. This declaration is famous in Indian history as “August Declaration”. During the same time, British Government appointed commissions to review and look out possible ways of providing representation to Indians. Southborough Commission appointed thus interviewed young Ambedkar in 1917.  He has returned from Columbia U and was only educated person amongst the ex-untouchables and his testimony was sought not because he was a popular leader then, but he was the only educated amongst them. This brilliant testimony that young Ambedkar gave in 1917 is insightful analysis of Indian society. Following his suggestions, 2 seats were reserved for depressed classes in Bombay Presidency under 1919 reforms, otherwise famous as Morley-Minto reforms in the history of modern India. Dr. Ambedkar’s intervention in deciding future governance in India really begins with 1917 testimony. 

In the year, the British Parliament decided to conduct the review of working of Morley-Minto reforms and appointed Simon Commission to review and decide the future course of Governance in India. Following this, Simon Commission visited India in 1927. In order to challenge this Indian National Congress appointed Motilal Nehru to provide a parallel constitution of India which was published in 1928. As Indian National Congress was dominated by upper caste elites, it had nothing to safeguard interests of lower castes. Dr. Ambedkar went with this commission to different parts in India to study. He met many people of the lower castes in United Province during this period. After this study conducted by Simon Commission, a white paper was prepared. A round table conference was convened to discuss this white paper prepared after a lot of study to discuss working of the 1919 reforms. Dr. Ambedkar naturally attended this conference along with all the princes of 563 princely state and leaders of Hindu Mahasabha etc. Dr. Ambedkar had a tremendous faith in dialoging and power of democracy. The Indian National Congress was concerned about getting transfer of power in its own hand, while Dr. Ambedkar was concerned more with democracy and transfer of power to the citizens.

In the first round of the conference, Dr. Ambedkar made tremendous impact on delegates and Member of Parliament in Britain. His acumen and his power to argue impressed many people, including his benefactor, Sayaji Maharaj, the prince of Baroda, who sent young Ambedkar to study in Columbia U with the help of his own contacts. Sensing the possibilities of Dr. Ambedkar’s successful campaign for getting political and civil rights for untouchables, Gandhi attended the second round of the conference. Gandhi’s only concern to attend this conference was to deny rights to untouchables. He fought tooth and nail to stop untouchables getting rights. He even supported the princes and suggested that the princes have a right to decide the future of the 563 princely states and not the people in those states. While Dr. Ambedkar argued that the people of the princely states would decide their fate. The defender of democracy, Dr. Ambedkar and the defender of capitalism and elites, Gandhi confronted each other in front of people who were involved in Indian public life. There was a stalemate due to Gandhi’s adamantine nature. Finally it was left to the British premier, Ramsay McDonald, to decide the future. Ramsay McDonald was from Labour party and a good friend of poor. The decision went in favour of Dr. Ambedkar and McDonald Award was declared in 1932 granting representation to the untouchables in governance. Gandhi was of course furious and he sat on fast unto death against “his own countrymen”. Gandhi’s upper caste elite friends including Birla tried to negotiate with Dr. Ambedkar. Dr. Ambedkar was not ready to give up what he earned by making huge efforts. He used to work 18 hours a day during this period, writing drafts after drafts, framing his argument and arguing and campaigning with different stakeholders, including Indian Muslims. Finally, Dr. Ambedkar had to withdraw his demand as his people were threatened by the Caste Hindus.

The process that was started in 1927 ended with Government of India Act 1935. It is very important to note that Nehru and Das fought elections on the behalf of Indian National Congress in the name of Swaraj Party in 1923. Government of India Act 1935 is the basis of the creation of Indian Parliament. In a sense it is a watershed period in the entire Indian history. Elections were introduced but the Executive Council of the Viceroy was to be the supreme executive body. In order to fight the elections, Gandhi campaigned for Indian National Congress. To take the advantage of the new political situation in India, Dr. Ambedkar was left with no option, but to found a political party known as “Indian Labour Party”. Has there been separate electorate, Dr. Ambedkar would have not founded a political party, but due to Congress and Gandhian policies he was forced to do that. During this period, Dr. Ambedkar was more interested in reforming Hinduism. He declared in 1935, before founding a political party, that he would not die a Hindu. The results of 1937 elections were encouraging and INC also for ILP and also for Muslim League. In Bombay Presidency, the ILP was successful to some extent.

Constitutional process was further needed to be refined to give more and more powers to Indians. This is reflected in changing configuration in Viceroy’s Executive Council. Many Indians were included in the Council. This demand was conceded. Dr. Ambedkar was a member of Executive Council during 1942-1946, during this period he piloted many projects including Damodar Vally Project, Central Electricity Authority, Central Water Commission and above all many labour reforms. August offer of 1942 during the World War II period opened new discussions and enlarged scope for more representation for Indians. This is a period of negotiations and discussion with the British Government and Indian representatives. Dr. Ambedkar played an important role during this period. His care and love for Indian citizens is reflected in his writings and speeches during this period. He wrote magna opus “Thoughts on Pakistan” which was used as textbook by the British, the Hindus (INC) and Muslims (ML). He contributed richly enhancing quality of discussions on democracy. Cripps Mission visited India during this upheaval in the Indian society and also worldwide due to World War II and it was increasingly clear that the British would not be capable of keeping their hold on India.   In 1946, elections were held and it was clear that the power will be “transferred to Indians”. This “Transfer of Power” was to be achieved by June 1948. In 1946, the political party founded by Babasaheb Ambedkar lost heavily due to policy of co-option of INC of the untouchables. However, Dr. Ambedkar campaigned in Britain and contended that there are Scheduled Castes who are opposed to transfer of power to the Congress if they are not included in the process of formation of the constitution. He wrote strong letter to Alexander who was one of the members of three member commission known in Indian history as Cabinet Mission Plan.  He pleaded that Scheduled Castes must have say in the writing of Constitution of India. Dr. Ambedkar was playing a leading role in establishing democracy in Indian since 1917. He would have opposed any arbitrary transfer of power, but he was a man of virtue, he broke the deadlock and contested from Bengal to get a birth in the Constitution Assembly. INC was adamant not to let Dr. Ambedkar in the Constituent Assembly.

Dr, Ambedkar, fighting all odds and in the absence of a leading figure in India in the constitutional knowledge, piloted constitution of India. The constitution created Indian Parliament. Indian Parliament is the child of Indian constitution. However, it betrays the Indian constitution. Dr. Ambedkar, who hammered Indian constitution article wise, included a recipe for total revolution in India without bloodshed. Due to Indian constitutional directions, India is still not taking the path of violence and bloodshed. This is the great debt that India owes to Dr. Ambedkar.

Khairlanji exposed that there is still untouchability practiced in its most inhuman form. This is the violation of Article 17. The article 17 became the basis for enactment of Protection of Civil Rights Act 1955 and Prevention of Atrocities Act. However the situation is grim and dark. Despite of such a pathetic condition, the parliament, which is a creation of constitution of India, is betraying its own father. There should have been a great discussion on this issue in the parliament. Article 17 is a priority fundamental right which is coming after Art 12, 13, 14, 15 and 16 in that articles in Part III on “Fundamental Rights” of Constitution of India.

What is the Indian parliament doing? When European Parliament can pass the resolution, why is our government apathetic to the sufferings of the deprived people all over India? Why it is not taking into account the cases of atrocities all over India and implementing laws which are already there? Why so many hours are wasted in Parliament over the issues which do not pertain to the life and liberty of citizens? These are the major questions. Dr. Ambedkar knew that mere legal changes though important are not enough. He advocated more radical path that included democratization and secularization of Indian society through scientific enquiry and fundamental practice of liberty, equality and fraternity. The constitution has made it mandatory to bring liberty, equality and fraternity in India; however the Parliament is silent on these issues. Is it time to launch independence movement again against our own people who are blind to the suffering of masses? 



2 Responses to “”

  1. 1 Kishor USA

    Very well said Sini.It seems we are advocating congress Party of India and the so called intellectuals among the dalits indirectly or directly contribute in sustaining the support of dalit agents to the congress party.There is no need to put the news of Sonia gandhi.Tomorrow RSS Chief Sudarshan will also condemn this Khiarlanji Massacre then The moderators of this blog should also highlight this.To me Congress Party and BJP are offshoots of RSS ideology.

    This is a time to introspect.
    A two month long agitaion against the perpetrators of crime took place in Maharashtra.How far it has taken us to achieve the dreams of Dr Ambedkar.What impact has it made towards acheiveibg the goal of castelesss society?

    >>>.Deaths of Dalit activists…
    Thosand of Dalit activists are behibd bars…
    Thousand of them are seriuosly injured.
    Thousand of them are jobless now.
    thousand of them have ruined their career…
    CBI says majority of the people who are arrested are not true killers.they are innocent(Ref lokmat news )
    It means they will be released very soon.

    Again we have come back to BIG ZERO.

    If the agitation would have been planned to convert it in a major sociopolitical movement of dalits,it would have given some results.
    now the sociopolitical movement of Dalits in Maharshtra has taken us 10 yrs behind.

    The revolution which the ** correspondant is talking had already been started some 40 yrs ago.The ** correspodnat is categorically neglecting this revolution.We must be intellectually honest while talking about human values and Budhism.It should reflect in our character also.

  2. 2 Jayesh

    I Fully second Kishore thoughts, The revolution was started by Babasheb and Had we followed it look what it would have done to India.
    1947 mein partition nahi unity hoti,
    Agar Baba ko sunte
    Na Hindu Muslim zagde hote,
    Agar Baba ko sunte
    India hota super power Microsoft hote India Mein
    Agar Baba ko sunte
    Ake(1) rupee hota 46 dollar ke barabar
    Agar Baba ko sunte
    Hum sab Buddhist hote
    Agar Bapu ko Nahi Baba ko sunte

    Khash ye Bat hum 60 sal Pahele samjte
    Metta
    Jayesh


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