The President of India is speaking about ‘constitutional morality’ while the prime minister is saying that Dr Baba Saheb Ambedkar would have been the ‘proudest’ person to see the ‘democracy’ flourishing in India and the ‘success’ of our ‘democracy’.
Yesterday, friends talked about Gandhi’s Gram Swaraj and we were sitting in the place ‘owned’ by Lord Jaggannath. 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 billions of rupees and Gold in their bank that they can ‘remove’ poverty in just a days time.
Baba Saheb Ambedkar said that unless there is social democracy, our political democracy failed. If the political system fail to provide justice to people, they will revolt and break this ‘structure’ we built so ‘laboriously’, he warned.
What have we done to make Baba Saheb Proud of our ‘achievements’.
A government is ‘formed’ in the mid night and President of India sign the document without Cabinet proposal. It goes straight from the Prime Minister’s office and a governor ensure a chief minister take charge before any one know about it. Is this the constitutional morality. Are we really following the 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 the Kashmiri Muslims, the government is speaking to every one else outside Kashmir.
Will Baba Saheb be happy to see that our Universities and educational institutions are being converted in brahmanical gurukuls and students from SC-ST-OBC-Minorities, Economically Poor are finding it difficult to study. So many students have committed suicides and I say they have been murdered by highly hostile brahmanical institutional pressure. Wouldnt Baba Saheb question the government and take it to task on the death of Rohith Vemula, Payal Tadwi, Fatima and Nazeeb. How can any one be proud of these dirty facts that our institutions are collapsing and unable to provide justice to people.
Baba Saheb devoted his time for the benefit of labourers. He sought their minimum wages and fixed timing 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 suicides. Violence against Dalits are rampant and police does not file cases. Judiciary do has no time to hear the 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 happen when the entire state machinery is out and out defaming an institution and ensuring that the children from the marginalised sections do not turn up or go for ‘voluntary retirement’.
We all have every act but they are not implemented in letter and spirit. Baba Saheb 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 heart and want its social order to flourish in India can not go along with a humanist constitution.
Over 10 million Adivasis got dislocated and never got rehabilitated from their land. They were never asked about their choices. ‘Development’ was imposed on them and an entire generation of adivasis was eliminated at many villages just for the purposes of ‘building’ ‘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 time the government asked Adivasis as what kind of Development they want or whether they want it or not.
Seventy years have happened and we have not been able to ‘democratise’ our villages as we never wanted that to happen. Social democracy can not happen if the privileged are not ready to leave their privileges. And none is going to do it on their own. The state will have to act as per the constitution but what happened. A majority of the Dalits in India remained 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 kind of issues crops up but it is these classes and castes which have used the state patronage. Will the government, civil society talk about land redistribution process and equal distribution of them or access to the Dalits, a promise we made through abolishing Zamindari Abolition Act and enacting Land Ceiling Act. All these were rarely implemented and most of the big landlords became Godmen or viceversa. So in India Statues can live under air-conditions and fed with ‘delicious’ dishes while 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 the guns and shoot the thugs who created superficial racist caste structure. Can there be freternity without sharing the agonies of the poor by the rich and powerful. Instead of putting constitutional practices to implement ceiling laws and distribute the land to poor, the government and its policies created 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 unprecedented scale. It is not the issue of poverty now, it is the issue of the huge gap between the power elite and rest of us. Has the government really the will to make its morality as constitutional morality ?
Yes, a fraternity will never happen when when you make your citizenship on religious basis which violate our constitutional principles. Act like NRC are nothing but attempt to intimidate citizens and snatch their land. Land grabbers are fast grabbing everything while 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 finished. Most of those engaged in it facing the worst form of caste apartheid . Baba Saheb would have been proud if our political class had honestly spoken and worked against the caste terrorism and hidden apartheid which is still order of the day in 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 the constitutional morality must adopt secular socialist principles and treat each citizen of INdia as equal citizen. Is this government really following this principles. Dr Ambedkar laid great importance to quality education but let us ask this question as where are we in this field. Our education was supposed to develop critical thinking in our minds but the current leaders dont want to develop our ‘critical’ thinking capacities, instead they want brainless ‘bhakts’ or devotees who can shout atop 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 as what would have Dr Ambedkar thoughts or said on major socio-political issues of our time today. Celebrate the spirit of Baba Saheb and think of his ideas of social democracy and provide cultural alternative to brahmanism. Manuwaad and manavvad cant go together.
A constitutional morality in India is only possible if those who implement it have faith in humanist values as espoused by Baba Saheb Ambedkar. You cant 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.
Vidya Bhushan Rawat is a social activist