Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar, a great democrat and a humanist who steered the drafting committee of the constituent assembly deposed with the responsibility of writing a newly independent India’s constitution was all for constitutional methods.
In his speech delivered before the constituent assembly on the occasion of giving the final draft of the constitution, he had said, “…We must abandon the method of civil disobedience, non-cooperation and satyagraha. When there was no way left for constitutional methods for achieving economic and social objectives, there was a great deal of justification for unconstitutional methods. But where constitutional methods are open, there can be no justification for these unconstitutional methods. These methods are nothing but the Grammar of Anarchy and the sooner they are abandoned, the better for us…”
At a time when the nation is going through a great deal of change, his warning in relation to the forces of anarchy seems more relevant than before. The forces of anarchy unleashed in our country have often cited Dr. Ambedkar and constitutional provisions thereby misleading the general public. As we are observing his Mahaparinivan Diwas, it’s important for us to remember his vision for an independent India. In a country so diverse like ours its only order, and not anarchy, that will bring peace and stability assuring development and dignity for all. Therefore, while offering his firm defense to a parliamentary form of democracy he had said, those who are opposing it essentially want to create discord between different sections of society. That will provide them an easy playing field to resort on to bloody revolutionary methods to establish a political system of their designs.
Though he firmly stood against caste-based discrimination of his times in the country, he never supported, preached or propagated bloody methods of opposing them. He insisted on non-violent methods during the agitations for the entry of oppressed classes in Kalaram Mandir in Nasik or Choudar Lake. In his essay ‘Buddha or Marx’, he upheld the Buddhist path rather than violent methods propagated in Marxist thoughts. Morality, love and compassion to him were the supreme values of humanity that could only be inculcated through the means of religion among the masses. He did not consider religion as the opium of the masses. This abiding belief led him to convert to Buddhism along with thousands of his followers at Diksha Bhumi in Nagpur on 14 October 1956.
A trained economist that he was he had well understood the fallacies of controlled economic policies and therefore he had called for free economic policies as far back as 1927. In a paper contributed to American Economic Review in 1918 he had written, “Society is always conservative. It does not change unless it is compelled to. When change begins, there is always a struggle between the old and the new, and the new is always in danger of being eliminated in the struggle for survival unless it is supported.” His farsightedness can be gauged in the farmer’s agitations that we witnessed in the wake of three agricultural reform bills passed by the parliament of India.
The so-called vanguards of the poor and oppressed seemed to be selectively using Ambedkarite ideas to push through their own agenda ignoring the core of Ambedkar’s thoughts and vision. Their violent activities in the far-flung forest and hill areas of India do not coincide even closer with what Dr. Ambedkar lived and worked for. At most, they along with their urban supporters are leaving no stone unturned to thrust the forest and hill dwellers into the perennial state of backwardness and underdevelopment. Any act of dissent or disobeyance is met with unimaginable brutality perpetrated on such individuals thereby leaving them terrorized to unknown bounds.
On the occasion of his 66th Mahaparinivan Diwas of Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar, while we pay our tributes to this great son of India, it’s equally important for us to invoke his thoughts and vision that have transcended temporal boundaries. As we are celebrating ‘Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav’, we must teach our younger generations to put their narrow and selfish strifes aside in the larger interest of the country and its people. Incorporating Dr. Ambedkar’s nationalist ideas into our school and university curricula could be the right step in that direction.