Champion of Nation Building
Champion of Nation Building
Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar had said to Sheikh Abdullah while discussing ‘Article 370’ of the constitution, “You wish India to protect your borders, she should build roads in your area, she should supply you foodgrains and Kashmir should get equal status as India. But, government of India should have only limited rights in Kasmir and Indian people should have no rights in Kashmir. To give consent to this proposal would be treacherous thing against the interest of India. I, as the law minister of India, will never do it.”
- Arun Karmarkar
Bharat Ratna Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar, the champion of social equality, the architect of the constitution of India, is being remembered by crores of his followers and admirers on the occasion of his fifty-seventh death anniversary today, i.e. 6th December. It is true that Babasaheb dedicated all of his intellect to the cause of upliftment of down troddens. At times he was much harsh towards the so called upper classes about the ill treatment they meted out towards the disadvantaged classes. But, he had his very firm footings in the Nationalist thoughts and outlook. Even while getting converted out of the Hindu moorings, he thoughtfully embraced Buddhism, a purely ‘Bharatiya’ thought.
Though Dr. Babasaheb could not live longer enough after independence, just over eight years, his contribution in the process of Nation-building left everlasting footprints. He was the first Indian to pursue doctoral degree in Economics abroad. As an economist he displayed such a deep insight about the needs of Indian soil that he stressed on investment in agricultural industry to make it the primary industry of modern India. He is creditworthy to establish the Finance Commission of India. Even before independence, the Reserve Bank of India was formed (in 1935) on the basis of the ideas that were presented by Babasaheb to the Hilton young Commission. Babasaheb advocated equal rights to women and also need to control the birth rate with view of development of India economy. He also played an important role in the process of land reforms and also initiated ‘affirmative action’ through socio-economic and legal incentives for the under priviledged sections of the Indian society.
Considering his scholarly career and more importantly his pure patriotic spirit to the core, he was the natural choice as the first law minister of independent India. Also being the chairman of the draft committee of the constitution of India, Babasaheb lent invaluable contribution in carving the constitution in true Indian colours. Perhaps, the most important example of his ardent nationalist outlook was his opinion about the much debated ‘Article 370’ of the constitution. He never supported this article and went on to underline his resentment in much clearer terms while talking to Sheikh Abdullah. He had said, “You wish India to protect your borders, she should build roads in your area, she should supply you foodgrains and Kashmir should get equal status as India. But, government of India should have only limited rights in Kasmir and Indian people should have no rights in Kashmir. To give consent to this proposal would be treacherous thing against the interest of India. And I, as the law minister of India, will never do it.”
Unfortunately, this article giving special status to Kashmir was included in the constitution only because of the whims of the then Prime Minister Nehru. But, Dr. Ambedkar tried to oppose it until the last minute. Even on the day when this article came up for discussion in the constituent assembly, he did not reply any question on it though he participated on all the other articles.
While submitting the Constitutiob before the Parliament, Dr. Babasaheb delivered a monumental speech. This speech of his is the best example of the vision of a nation builder. He had said, “We must make our Political Democracy a Social Democracy as well. Political democracy can’t last unless there is, at the base of it, Social democracy. What does Social Democracy mean? It means a way of life which recognizes liberty, equality and fraternity as the principles of life. These three should not be considered as separate items of trinity. They form a union of trinity. In a sense, to divorce one from the other, is to defeat the very purpose of Democracy… ”
He, in the same speech, went on to remind the people and coming generations of India that, “on the 26th January, we are going to enter into a life of contradictions. 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 economic structure, continue to deny the principle of one man, one value. How long we are going to live this life of contradictions? How long shall we continue to deny equality in our social and economic life? If we continue to deny it for long, we will do so only by putting our democracy in peril…! ”
How much live these words are, needs no explanation.
A humble tribute to the inspiring memory of this great visionary son of India.