26th Nov ’49: This day Indian Constitution enacted
What is not so flattering is India’s performance against the yardstick laid down by the chairman of the drafting committee, B R Ambedkar, who had moved the motion for adopting the Constitution. Mincing no words, the Dalit leader said that “in believing that we are a nation, we are cherishing a great delusion. How can people divided into several thousands of castes be a nation?’’
Stressing the need to realise that “we are not as yet a nation in the social and psychological sense of the word”, Ambedkar said, “Fraternity can be a fact only when there is a nation. Without fraternity, equality and liberty will be no deeper than coats of paint.”
Given the persistence of caste discrimination and caste atrocities and given the continuing importance of caste as an electoral factor, India is clearly far from meeting the fraternity standard set by Ambedkar. The Constituent Assembly proceedings of November 26, 1949 began on an auspicious note as Sardar Patel announced that the nine big ones, including Hyderabad, had signified their “acceptance of the Constitution which the House is now going to adopt”.
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