Friday, 30 January 2015

Misguiding in the name of Ambedkar

These days a debate has been initiated by some mischievous elements in the Society about Dr B R Ambedkar's stand about the words Secular and Socialist in preamble of the constitution. Meanwhile, Information & Broadcasting (I&B) Ministry’s Republic Day print advertisement on Monday omitted the words "socialist, secular" in the image of the Preamble to the Constitution. After which some people on social media started a petition to present strong disapproval to this act by govt of India.
While some other defended this act of government.

So, when were these words added to constitution and by whom? 

These words were added to the preamble in 42nd amendment by Indira Gandh govt in 1976 but were not removed by Janta Party govt when they came to power in 1977. Though these words were not inducted in the original preamble, a spirit of Social and Secular nature was always there as one can identify by reading preamble and if not sure by further reading the 11 volumes of working of constituent assembly as recorded.

Original unamended preamble
the constitution of India 

Let's try to gather some facts i.e some real quotes from Ambedkar. I will quote him. Some of these quotes have directly taken from 11 volumes of parliamentary / constituent assembly debate.


This is not mine but Ambedkar's own quote -
It (secular state) does not mean that we shall not take into consideration the religious sentiments of the people. All that a secular state means that this Parliament shall not be competent to impose any particular religion upon the rest of the people. That is the only limitation that the Constitution recognises
He further says -
The State should guarantee to its citizens the liberty of conscience and the free exercise of his religion including the right to profess, to preach and to convert within limits compatible with public order and morality
I interpret the above lines as Indian state will preserve plural culture of nation. Hence, you cannot doubt the secular credentials of this man though we can agree on a fact that word Secular is inherently expressed in Fraternity.


Now, coming to his views on Socialist state. His various works and articles shows that Ambedkar believed in State Socialism in which he advocated private property of the individual. He said-
My social philosophy may be said to be enshrined in three words: liberty, equality and fraternity. My philosophy has roots in religion and not in political science. I have derived them from the teachings of my master, the Buddha.
Did you see the word equality in above mentioned quote? Yes, right, he was a proponent of mixed economy but at the same time we cannot ignore the fact that his life was dedicated to struggle against oppression of Caste system which is different from Class system prevalent in Western world. He always believed in the system of state socialism in which there would be a classless and caste less society and without forming a caste less society one cannot achieve objectives of Socialism ie class less society.

In short we can describe him as a person who advocated a purely secular state like what today France is and free market economy with special consideration to upheaval of oppressed classes.

At the most we can call him economically at the center and in religious context a non-communal or a plural person respecting diversity of culture in India.