The Constitution test

Government has failed to uphold Ambedkar’s vision of social and economic equality

Written by D. Raja | Published:November 26, 2016 12:01 am
BR Ambedkar, Ambedkar, Babasaheb Ambedkar, constitution, indian constitution, india, india independencem independence, Dalits, minorities,rights of people, government of india, K.R. Narayanan, india news, indian express news Ambedkar had said if the Constitution is put into peril India would lose her independence. (Source: Express Archive)

Babasaheb Ambedkar’s enunciation that real independence was achieved for India with the coming into force of the Constitution on January, 26, 1950 constituted a statement of enormous significance. India, for the first time in its long and chequered history, had chosen to be governed by the due process of law enshrined in the Constitution — a law that guarantees equal rights to all, provides a framework for empowerment of the weaker and exploited sections of society and for the social and economic advancement of the nation.

The grand ideal of independence embodied in our Constitution was, in the words of Ambedkar, to privilege the idea of one person one value. It is an ideal that must be pursued to build a nation, which will provide equal opportunity for all citizens, irrespective of faith, language and other differences.

At a time when majoritarian tendencies are gaining momentum in India and the Hindutva forces are threatening the secular foundation of the republic, we need to defend the Constitution. Ambedkar, in his last speech in the Constituent Assembly, had said, “By independence, we have lost the excuse of blaming the British for anything going wrong. If hereafter things go wrong, we will have nobody to blame. Except ourselves. There is great danger of things going wrong.”

In fact, things have gone wrong in a dangerous manner after May 2014. The signs are evident in the barbarous attacks on Dalits, minorities and other exploited sections of society, a fallout of the deliberately designed flawed policies of the government. Ambedkar’s vision to protect those exploited sections has been completely negated and trampled upon by forces that act against the Constitution. The policies of the present government have unleashed forces which believe in a counter-revolution that negates the values of the Constitution and perpetuates a social and economic order, where there would be a monopoly over power by a few, based on caste privileges. Such an approach, which reinforces upper caste supremacy and facilitates attacks on Dalits and minorities, is clearly anti-national. Ambedkar had described caste as anti-national and, therefore, stressed on the cultivation of constitutional morality, which would mandate respect for the Constitution, adoption of constitutional methods for redress of grievances and articulation of criticism and censure of acts of omission and commission by those authorised to exercise power.

Instead, those who expose the government’s misrule are slapped with charges of sedition and dubbed as anti-nationals. This is a gross violation of the Constitution and the inalienable fundamental rights and principles of natural justice. November 26 is now observed as the Constitution Day, but curtailing the powers of Parliament and showing contempt towards the institution is no way to celebrate the founding document of the republic. The social and economic contents of the Constitution have been lost sight of. It is now well documented and proven by many reports that the neo-liberal economy has resulted in greater inequality, impoverishing those who are socially and economically deprived further. In this context, the neo-liberal policies followed by the government constitutes a threat to the Constitution.

The nine-judge bench of the Supreme Court in the Bommai case affirmed secularism as a part of the basic structure of the Constitution. Any attempt to negate secularism by invoking Hindutva or any other idea opposed to secularism constitutes an assault on the basic structure of the Constitution. Secularism needs to be defended not only for harmonious existence of all faiths but also for greater equality and opportunities for women, who often become victims of patriarchy based on religious values. The struggle for secularism is also the struggle for women’s rights.

Ambedkar had said if the Constitution is put into peril India would lose her independence. Some years ago, when attempts were made to review the Constitution, the then president, K.R. Narayanan, said: “Let us examine whether the Constitution has failed us or we have failed the Constitution.” What is needed is a high standard of constitutional morality and adoption of constitutional methods to counter the fascist forces.

The writer is national secretary, CPI and a Rajya Sabha MP

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    Aditya Aggarwal
    Nov 26, 2016 at 11:31 pm
    These politicians are trying to break India using caste and religion to their personal advantage to get the votes and CPI - is the worst? the basic tenant of communists is religion should be discouraged by forcing people not to follow religion. In china Ughar muslims are not allowed to celebrate Ramadan or put hijab - Do google if you don't believe. If CPI is really serious after removing these sins - they should work on removing reservations, allow allow anybody to change their castes as well as last name by simple application. Change the discourse from caste to cl - rich and poor.
    Reply
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      Anil Tandale
      Nov 26, 2016 at 6:48 am
      The communists had golden era from 1947 onwards when the card-holder commies infiltrated into all the insutions of academics, planning, politics, judiciary etc. Still in 1976, the communists' supported Indira hi argued through Niren De the Attorney General that during emergency, the citizens had no right to life. Communists ensured two-third majority to Congress then and from 2004 onwards for ten years. Was not Two-thirds strength majoritarian? We do not need any pearls of wisdom from CPI which secured only 0.8 percent votes in last Lok Sabha elections of 2014. The space donated by Indian Express to Mr. Raja today is highly disproportionate, when he blames Modi as though Modi is in power since 1974.
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      1. A
        Atheist
        Nov 26, 2016 at 4:14 am
        Communist trying to harp on the legacy of Ambedkar nothing new with their lies.
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        1. M
          Mytake
          Nov 26, 2016 at 1:06 am
          D.Raja must be a and Anti-national to advocate social equality.
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          1. N
            Nabarun
            Nov 26, 2016 at 2:21 am
            Jan Dhan accounts are before you. Modi starts where JNU educated Leftists fail.
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            1. P
              Pawan
              Nov 26, 2016 at 3:57 am
              Do we have vision or idea now for our problems with which we are living with, right now. Try not to leverage Ambedkar's name to hide your inadequacies of today.
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              1. G
                Giri Gowda
                Nov 26, 2016 at 4:17 pm
                Make Mayawathi the next PM... lt;br/gt;She will gift the nation with her stylish statues all over the nation with tax payers money and bring in a great change in social equality
                Reply
                1. G
                  Guru
                  Nov 26, 2016 at 2:57 pm
                  Prakash Ambedkar ---- 600crlt;br/gt;Ramdas Athawle ---- 250 crlt;br/gt;Mayavati---- At least 1000 cr lokking at elephants , don't know about black money 💰 lt;br/gt;Ram vilas Paswan---- At least 500 crlt;br/gt;lt;br/gt;Your poor's party is also very rich in W Bengal.lt;br/gt;Loads of black money coming from Porkistan and you happily taking it for country's welfare 😁lt;br/gt;Nehru and your party written a completely wrong history of India.lt;br/gt;Nehru and your party were responsible for china war and losing 1000s of army men because of lack of knowledge....lt;br/gt;lt;br/gt;I challenge you to come forward and accept reality and work for the country and not for self interest.lt;br/gt;I have seen your pary's support to naxalites inrural area.... stop nonsense.
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                    Abdul Hakim
                    Nov 26, 2016 at 9:28 am
                    The great ideals of Babaji Ambedker enshrined in the consution were followed providing equality fair play and justice to all would have made India a great united and a flourishing country. The tragedy of India is however its system has not delivered and has badly faltered. It is now in the hands of most divisive, full of hatred and extremely racist elements. You never ever hear a word from them about peace and tranquility among people quite the contrary.I have just read the arrogant Mr Modi declaring he is going to stop every drop of river waters reaching stan to ensure it turns into desert as a result millions will starve to death.It simply shows the man have the least concern for human beings his arrogance he forgets there is a greater power above him who sends the water from above the skies to revive the earth to help grow beautiful vegs, gres, herbs and fruits for the greater benefits of its residents and that is why they call it dharti-mata. God forbid Modi can find one day to his regret all his powers gone and the rivers run dry. Those of our forefathers who held human values high and wrote the rules for us to follow have long gone by and we are left with junk unfortunately
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                    1. H
                      harun
                      Nov 26, 2016 at 11:46 am
                      Raja Saab,lt;br/gt;lt;br/gt;Please see how DALIT LEADERS have let their very own down.lt;br/gt;lt;br/gt;Mayavati is a clic example ,her brother who was a Ordinary clerk has ended up being a Billionaire with over 421 crores.lt;br/gt;lt;br/gt;How on Earth do you expect these people to get Justice for their own,when they are in pursuit of selfish gains.lt;br/gt;lt;br/gt;Honestly you to have been a Big let down as well,Are you not Guilty as well.
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                      1. J
                        jayaram reddi
                        Nov 27, 2016 at 1:04 am
                        Social and economic equality is the vision of every body in India, not just Ambedkar's.
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                        1. K
                          Kishor
                          Nov 27, 2016 at 1:35 am
                          Reservation continue for 60 years is best example of failure.
                          Reply
                          1. K
                            KS KUMAR
                            Nov 26, 2016 at 1:46 am
                            First of all he works to up the interests of the countries outside the borders of India. Second he should publicly inform how he became a RS member from TN when CPI has hardly any member in TN embly. The most destructive duo in RS is Raja and Yechury.
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                              Muthu Pillai
                              Nov 26, 2016 at 12:07 pm
                              Raja Ayya,lt;br/gt;lt;br/gt;You own position and status is example how government is functioning to bring social and economic equality. Please do not do politics in each and everything
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                              1. M
                                Murthy
                                Nov 26, 2016 at 5:51 am
                                Dr. Ambedkar was a Nationalist. He asked his followers to reform caste inequalities, if they could not, then convert to Buddhism. He did not want Islam or Christianity. He knew the condition of Dalits in Muslim communities very well. He knew how the Churches mistreated Dalits.
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                                  balasubramanian
                                  Nov 26, 2016 at 6:39 am
                                  COMMUNISTS WERE IN ALLIANCE WITH CONGRESS FOR FIVE YEARS. WHAT HAVE THEY DONE FOR THE UPLIFT OF THE DALITS ETC? TO SAY THAT INDIA WAS A PARADISE FOR 65 YEARS AFTER INDIA BECAME REPUBLIC AND ONLY IN THE LAST 2 YEARS INDIA IS HAVING ALL PROBLEMS IS A FAR-FETCHING STATEMENT BY A SEASONED POLITICIAN LIKE SHRI D.RAJA.
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                                    Arihant
                                    Nov 26, 2016 at 7:43 pm
                                    Modiji should take strict action against lockers and gold holding. Also, next plan should be to attack real estate purchased with black/corruption money and foreign currency. Make India Great Again.
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                                      pankaj
                                      Nov 26, 2016 at 3:41 am
                                      It is impossible for communists to understand the true meaning of secularism, people who are twisted in ideology of hate between cl and castes and who perhaps do not consider an average human being as intelligent as any animal, have no idea of how to respect different castes, cles, groups and whatever ideny one has created for themselves without creating hateful ideologies... these people, who lie in order to ignore the vast indian literature that encouraged all kind of equality be at at level of humans or level of all living beings and perhaps even more, are only capable of fooling self in a fake hope of fooling others...
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                                        Pankaj#1
                                        Nov 26, 2016 at 12:47 pm
                                        Demonetization is step in that direction. Can not you see?
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                                        1. P
                                          Pinna
                                          Nov 26, 2016 at 7:58 am
                                          We all want Dalits to join the main stream as they are less than anyone else. Offer them an opportunity to be equal by removing the cancerous reservation. In fact, reservation makes them lazy and inefficient as they continue to grab freebies and soon become more than equals. Instead, give them free education, uniforms, text books, extra coaching, hostel facilities and then let them compete with others. This way their condition will improve and make them the bestcitizens. Otherwise also, Ambedkar was never in favor of granting them the benefits of reservation for good. Another important point to ponder over is to see as to who isthe beneficiary of reservation. The cl for whom the facility was made seldom avail it. It is only the creamy layer, which is generation after generation stopping the flow going to the bottom. Meira Kumar, daughter of Union Cabinet Minister got the benefit of it. Devyani Khobragade did the same despite being the daughter of an IAS officer. The list is long and unending. But then, who will bell the cat?
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                                            Pillai
                                            Nov 26, 2016 at 5:15 am
                                            Since when this awareness ? We always see you with a dairy going here and there alongwith others. Luckily gets elected to Rajya sabha ( cross road to Parliament) with no use. Now, this important finding and awareness all of a sudden???????
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