On Constitution Day, commemoration of Babasaheb and his pioneering legacy
“The Constitution is not just a lawyer’s document. It is a vehicle of life and its spirit is still the spirit of the age. – Babasaheb Ambedkar
On April 14, 1891, in the town of Mhow, now known as Dr Ambedkar Nagar, southwest of the city of Indore, a revolution was born. He was the man who shaped a movement, who was conquering an egalitarian dream and was the architect of the greatest democracy in the world. A distinguished jurist, economist, scholar and leader of the masses, the legacy drawn by Dr Bhimrao Ramji Ambedkar is one of the most exceptionally exceptional glories in history.
Literature and media based on Ambedkar’s writings often describe the severe socio-economic discrimination suffered by members of the Dalit community. Despite the loss of his mother at a young age, being subjected to untouchability and living under difficult circumstances, Ambedkar has remained determined and unwavering in his path.
A prolific student, Ambedkar received a BA in Economics and Political Science from the University of Bombay, a Graduate Diploma from Columbia University, a Law Degree from Gray’s Inn, a Double Graduate Diploma in economics and political science from the London School of Economics, a doctorate in science from the University of London, and an honorary doctorate and LLD from Columbia University. He has the prestige of being the first Indian to obtain a doctorate in economics from a foreign university.
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A brilliant young man, Ambedkar forged a reputation as an academic for his research in law, economics and political science. He has practiced as an attorney at the High Court in Bombay, was Director of Government Law College in Bombay, President of Ramjas College in Delhi, Professor of Political Economy at Sydenham College of Commerce and Economics and Professor of Perry Jurisprudence. . During his three years at Columbia University, Ambedkar incredibly took 29 economics courses. This was the astonishing academic distinction that distinguished him from so many others.
Upon India’s independence on August 15, 1947, the new congressional government invited him to become the country’s prime minister of justice, which he accepted. He was also the Prime Minister of Labor of India. Subsequently, he was appointed chairman of the drafting committee and was appointed to draft the Indian Constitution. The Constitution, as we see and experience it today, would not have been a reality without its myriad of knowledge, guidance and perspectives.
Ambedkar believed in the Constitution as a tool for social reform. He felt that this was a kind of filling in the gaps, to legally equalize the social classes of India. Caste and gender were central to Babasaheb’s cosmic existence. The constitutional text prepared by him guarantees a wide range of legal rights and civil liberties, including the abolition of untouchability, freedom of religion and the prohibition of all forms of discrimination. Ambedkar has also been a strong advocate for extended economic and social rights for women. He obtained the support of the Assembly for the introduction of a system of reservation of employment in the civil service, schools and colleges for people belonging to the current Scheduled Castes (SC) and Scheduled Tribes (ST) and other backward classes (OBC), thus raising the most disadvantaged communities.
A wise constitutional expert, in his mission to develop a democratic and intelligent law, Ambedkar has studied in depth the constitutions of more than 60 countries. He defended the constitutional values of freedom, equality, fraternity and justice. His insistence on Article 32: The right to constitutional remedies Depicts him as a radical thinker who fully understood the workings of democracy and free speech.
Asked about article 32, Ambedkar said: “If I were asked to name a particular article of the Constitution as being the most important, an article without which the Constitution would be void, I could not refer to any article other than this one. It is the very soul of the Constitution and the very heart of it.
The Poona Pact of 1932 announced the formation of a separate electorate for the depressed classes. Ambedkar believed that political representation was the only way to ensure the socio-economic development of lower caste communities. In his book, What Congress and Gandhi did to the untouchables, referring to Gandhi’s fast, he explained : “It was a foul and foul act. Fasting was not for the benefit of the Untouchables. It was against them and it was the worst form of coercion against a defenseless people to abandon constitutional guarantees. [which had been awarded to them.]”
A revolutionary intellectual and a force of nature to be reckoned with, Ambedkar’s accomplishments are incredibly impressive. His relentless commitment to the well-being of the marginalized is a true testament to the compassionate reformer he was.
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In his book The rupee problem – its origin and solution, Ambedkar raised the issue of currency in British India and this became the basis on which the Reserve Bank of India was founded. In Small farms in India and their remedies, he looked at solutions to India’s land and labor crisis.
The credit for including the concept of universal adult suffrage in the Indian Constitution should rightly go to Babasaheb. With his radical understanding of society and social reform, Ambedkar made a vote for all movement including marginalized communities. The Nehru Commission report (1928) built on these Ambedkarite values.
Ambedkar insisted on exclusive ownership of women’s bodies, advocated the use of birth control and contraceptives, and spoke out against the rising death rate of women during childbirth and unwanted pregnancies.
In the Hindu Code Bill, he formulates marriage as a contract, devoid of spiritual or sacramental elevation and advocates the elevation of the social status of women. Ambedkar asserted, “I measure the progress of a community by the degree of progress women have made.”
Perhaps his commitment to equality and justice is best established by his resignation from Cabinet when the bill was dropped by Parliament. Firmly, Babasaheb declared: “I will now refer to another issue that made me dissatisfied with the government … the Constitution did not incorporate any guarantees for the backward class.”
He worked for the prohibition of child labor, made laws on maternity leave, advocated against the gender pay gap, introduced measures such as medical leave, expensive allowance, minimum wage, periodic review of pay scales and advocated for equal pay for women workers.
He stressed the importance of brotherhood, that is, the common brotherhood of all Indians. He defined fraternity as a principle of unity and solidarity in social life. Babasaheb’s powerful words at the final session of the Constituent Assembly still resonate with great impact today. On November 25, 1949, he spoke of the need to abandon the grammar of anarchy, to avoid the cult of heroes and to work for social and not just political democracy.
Conferred on Bharat Ratna posthumously, Babasaheb’s gifts are immeasurable. Thanks to a brilliant Constitution, he envisioned India as a land of equal access to opportunity. Almost 72 years ago, Babasaheb explained: “I am of the opinion that by believing that we are a nation, we cherish a great illusion. How can a people divided into several thousand castes be a nation? The sooner we realize that we are not yet a nation in the social and psychological sense of the world, the better for us. For only then will we realize the need to become a nation and seriously think about ways and means to achieve the goal.
It would be foolish not to recognize that these words also apply today.
A pioneering scholar, a powerful leader – the legacy of Babasaheb Ambedkar has evolved not only as that of the greatest reformers in history, but as an existence and a way of life. Perhaps our gratitude to her needs to come to life by embracing the Ambedkarite and constitutional values of liberty, equality, brotherhood and justice, and walking towards a more democratic India – not only in politics but also in religion. company.
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