Constitutional morality only through humanist principles of Babasaheb Ambedkar



The President of India speaks about ‘constitutional morality’ while the Prime Minister says that Dr Baba Saheb Ambedkar would have been the ‘proudest’ person to see ‘democracy’ flourishing in India and the ‘success’ of our ‘democracy’.

Yesterday, my friends talked about Gandhi’s Gram Swaraj and we were sitting in the place ‘owned’ by Lord Jagannath. It is reported that the Lord is the biggest owner of land and properties in Odisha. And like the Lord here, we have so many Lords in this country, with so many billions of rupees and gold in their bank that they can ‘remove’ poverty in just a day’s time.

Baba Saheb Ambedkar had said that unless there is social democracy, our political democracy will fail. If the political system fails to provide justice to people, they will revolt and break this structure we have so laboriously built, he warned.

What have we done to make Baba Saheb proud of our ‘achievements’?

A government is ‘formed’ in the middle of the night and the President of India signs the document without cabinet proposal. It goes straight from the Prime Minister’s office and a governor ensures that a chief minister takes charge before anyone gets to know about it. Is this constitutional morality? Are we really practicing constitutional morality, atleast those who are supposed to be the ‘custodians’ of the Constitution?

Will the things happening in Kashmir make Dr Ambedkar proud where, except for Kashmiri Muslims, the government is speaking to everyone else outside Kashmir?

Will Baba Saheb be happy to see that our universities and educational institutions are being converted into brahmanical gurukuls and students from SC-ST-OBC-Minorities, Economically Poor are finding it difficult to study there? So many students have committed suicide, or shall we say they have been murdered by the highly hostile brahmanical institutional pressure. Would Baba Saheb not have questioned the government and taken it to task on the issue of the deaths of RohithVemula, Payal Tadwi, Fatima and Najeeb? How can anyone be proud of these dirty facts that our institutions are collapsing and unable to provide justice to people?

Baba Saheb devoted his time to the benefit of labourers. He sought minimum wages and fixed timing for them so that they are not exploited. After 70 years, we are witnessing the ‘death’ of ‘labour. Conditions are being created to deny them justice and make things harsher for them.

Farmers are committing suicide. Violence against Dalitsis rampant and police does not file cases. Judiciary, too, has no time to hear cases related to civil liberties. People are languishing in jail just because they dare to stand up with the adivasis and dalits against the oppression by the state and feudal corporate forces.

How would have Baba Saheb responded when an incident like JNU happens, when the entire state machinery is out to defame an institution and ensure that children from the marginalised sections do not turn up or go for ‘voluntary retirement’?

We have laws for every situation but they are not implemented in letter and spirit. Baba Saheb had said that a good Constitution can be made redundant by those who implement it. The dark fact is that those who worship Manu in their hearts and want its social order to flourish in India cannot go along with a humanist Constitution.

Over 10 million Adivasis have been displaced from their land and were never rehabilitated. They were never asked about their choices. ‘Development’ was imposed on them and an entire generation of adivasis was eliminated in many villages, just for the purpose of ‘building’ a modern India. How can we allow this? Where is democracy? Democracy is not merely Parliament and assemblies. It is not just this election or that election. It is also about my choices and right to reject. How many times has the government asked the adivasis as to what kind of development they want or whether they want it or not?

Seventy years have passed and we have not been able to ‘democratise’ our villages because we never wanted that to happen. Social democracy cannot happen if the privileged are not ready to give up their privileges. And noone is going to do it on his own. The state will have to act as per the Constitution, but what happened? A majority of the Dalits in India remain absolutely landless, not even having the homestead land, while Gods and cows can have as much land as possible. In cows and Gods live our ‘privileged’ and tax evading class, who shout ‘tax payers’ money when JNU-type issues crops up but it is these classes and castes which have used the state patronage. Will the government and the civil society talk about the land redistribution process and equal distribution of it or access to the Dalits, a promise we made through the Zamindari Abolition Act and by enacting the Land Ceiling Act? All these were rarely implemented and most of the big landlords became Godmen or vice versa. So in India, statues can live in air-conditioned environs and be fed ‘delicious’ dishes while the poor live in hunger and misery. A statue can have no ceiling on it while poor does not have a small piece.

Baba Saheb spoke of fraternity as he was a peace maker, a man of great revolutionary ideas. He did not ask the oppressed to pick up guns and shoot the thugs who created the superficial racist caste structure. Can there be fraternity without the rich and powerfulsharing the agonies of the poor? Instead of using constitutional provisions to implement ceiling laws and distribute the land to poor, the government and its policies ended up creating new monopolies. Our old Rajas and Maharajas stand nowhere near the luxury of the new monopolists, whose corporate empires are accumulating land and properties at an unprecedented scale. It is not aquestion of poverty now, it is aquestion of the huge gap between the power elite and the rest of us. Does the government really have the will to follow constitutional morality?

A fraternity will never happen if citizenship is made conditional on religious basis, an act which violates our constitutional principles. Acts like the NRC are nothing but an attempt to intimidate citizens and snatch their land. Land grabbers are fast grabbing everything while the poor are being made to fight each other. How do we celebrate ‘achievements’ when people are still dying of hunger and manual scavenging has not yet been eradicated?Most of those engaged in it face the worst form of caste apartheid. Baba Saheb would have been proud if our political class had honestly spoken and worked against ‘caste terrorism and the hidden apartheid’, which is still the order of the day in a major part of India.

Baba Saheb will be there to guide us all the time as his vision has already reached the nooks and corners of the country. Any government, which claims to follow his principles, particularly constitutional morality, must adopt secular socialist principles and treat each citizen of India as an equal citizen. Is this government really following this principle? Dr. Ambedkar laid great emphasison quality education so let us askourselves this question as to where are we in this field? Our education was supposed to develop critical thinking but the current leaders donot want to develop our ‘critical’ thinking capacities, instead they want brainless ‘bhakts’ or devotees, who can shout at the top of their voice and violently oppress those who disagree with them.

We must celebrate the Constitution Day but also be careful as what is being said in the name of Baba Saheb. The best would be for all to think, what would have Dr Ambedkar thought or said on major socio-political issues of our times today? Celebrate the spirit of Baba Saheb and think of his ideas of social democracy and provide cultural alternatives to brahmanism. Manuwaad and manavvad cannot go together.

Constitutional morality in India is only possible if those who implement it have faith in the humanist values as espoused by Baba Saheb Ambedkar. You cannot really implement this Constitution with caste superiority complexes in your heart. Be human and believe in humanity and that is the only towards constitutional morality.



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