Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Dr Ambedkar and Military Headquarters of War (MHOW)

Well, today is the birthday of Dr B R Ambedkar who was responsible for the drafting of Indian Constitution. If any one wanted to make a sense of one subject like economics or Indian Constitution as a single matter of entity he/she needs to have a lucid understanding of the subject’s concepts and implication in practicality both in national prospective and a world view.

Obviously, people celebrate a person or an idea etc when they like or dislike their life and works. 

Dr Ambedkar was born in MHOW, now in Madhya Pradesh. I happened to study my basic research work in the institute which was established on his name. I visited several times his home there is a Muslim masque beside his home. MP government is trying to make his home into a temple like a Buddha statute type, since he had been converted to Buddhism and they are trying to do the same. 

I was taught a subject called Dr B R Ambedkar thoughts and contemporary issues in society. The whole course work was pass/fail oriented but every bit of his idea was covered in a more intensive caste biased, one side view, deliberately rejecting other side of the coin etc. 

 What I was not taught I learned from a library in the institute. The institute library is not biased it has all kind of books including the liberalism! 

I happened to pick up the liberal ideas and concluded my argument with Prof and friends in our debate that “if a person converts from one religion to another he or she could never feel that he or she is born with the one in which they were born naturally”. For economic benefit anyone can convert to other religions and it was accepted by my friends and Prof in the institute. 

The below are some of the Ambedkar ideas which are relevant even toady. 

He said in the Assembly on 15 November, 1948: 

  • “(H)ow the society should be organized in its social and economic side are matters which must be decided by the people themselves according to time and circumstances. It cannot be laid down in the Constitution itself, because that is destroying democracy altogether… It is perfectly possible today, for the majority people to hold that the socialist organization of society is better than the capitalist... But it would be perfectly possible for thinking people to devise some other form...which might be better than the socialist organization of today or of tomorrow.” 

[Source: Constituent Assembly Debates, Vol. VIII, pp.401-402] 

  • He asked: “On 26th January 1950, India will be an independent country. What would happen to her independence?” 
  • He said: “What perturbs me greatly is the fact that not only India has once before lost her independence, but she lost it by the infidelity and treachery of some of her own people.” His anxiety was deepened by the fact that “in addition to our old enemies in the form of castes and creeds we are going to have many political parties with diverse and opposing political creeds.” 
  • He queried: “Will Indians place the country above their creed or will they place creed above country” and answered: “This much is certain that if the parties place creed above country, our independence will be put in jeopardy a second time and probably be lost for ever. This eventuality we must all resolutely guard against. We must be determined to defend our independence with the last drop of our blood.” 
  • His second thought was about the future of democracy. “There was a time when India was studded with republics, and even where there were monarchies, they were either elected or limited. They were never absolute.” 
  • He was emphatic that “We must make our political democracy a social democracy as well. Political democracy cannot last unless there lies at the base of it social democracy.” He asserted that “liberty cannot be divorced from equality, equality cannot be divorced from liberty. Nor can liberty and equality be divorced from fraternity. Without equality, liberty would produce the supremacy of the few over the many. Equality without liberty would kill individual initiative. Without fraternity, liberty and equality could not become a natural course of things.” 
  • “The United States has no caste problem. In India there are castes. The castes are anti-national. In the first place because they bring about separation in social life. They are anti-national also because they generate jealousy and antipathy between caste and caste. But we must overcome all these difficulties if we wish to become a nation in reality. For fraternity can be a fact only when there is a nation. Without fraternity equality and liberty will be no deeper than coats of paint.” 
  • He pointed out the complete absence of two things in Indian society. “One of these is equality. On the social plane, we have in India a society based on the principle of graded inequality which means elevation for some and degradation for others. On the economic plane, we have a society in which there are some who have immense wealth as against many who live in abject poverty. …. In politics, we will have equality and in social and economic life we will have inequality. In politics we will be recognizing the principle of one man one vote and one vote one value. In our social and economic life, we shall, by reason of our social and economic structure, continue to deny the principle of one man one value.” 
  • He suggested that “the sooner room is made for the realization of their aspiration, the better for the few, the better for the country, the better for the maintenance of its independence and the better for the continuance of its democratic structure. This can only be done by the establishment of equality and fraternity in all spheres of life.” 

(Source: Excerpts from P. P. Rao article in the Tribune)

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