‘What is this Constitution Day, Sir?’

Mon 30 Nov 2015


What we wanted was enactments of all legislation on the basis of which we can carry forward the vision of social justice that Dr. B.R. Ambedkar stood for. Now, instead, we have a situation where the government has come forward saying we reaffirm our faith in the Constitution. Where is the question of reaffirming? You are here, I am here, and all of us are here on an oath on this Constitution. What is this drama of reaffirming? If the Constitution is not there, then you won’t be here… And what is this Constitution Day, Sir?....

On November 26, this Constitution was signed by the President of the Constituent Assembly. It was voted upon and the draft was adopted. In the draft you have said explicitly that on January 26, 1950 India shall be a Republic when this draft will turn into a Constitution and we shall enact. Can this government answer? I want our esteemed lawyer, the Leader of the House, to tell us what law governed India from November 26, 1949 to January 26, 1950? Was it this Constitution? Is it known, Sir? The law that governed India during those two months after you adopted this Constitution was the India Independence Act 1947 moved by British Prime Minister [Clement] Attlee in the House of Commons in London… Now, what is this new thing that you are finding now 65 years later on Constitution Foundation Day?… Yes, that day the Constituent Assembly adopted this draft, but that was not the Indian Constitution yet. That was not yet the law of our land. It became the law of the land on January 26, 1950. Lawyers are talking like this on Constitution Day! You want some day or the other to find yourself, so that you can celebrate one more event…

Yes, the victor always scripts history. But here, the victor is also trying to change history. This is the history that we have inherited. Like the Hon. Leader of the House, I was also born after Independence. I think many of us were born born after Independence. And for all of us, this is inherited history; this is our legacy. You cannot now tamper with that history and tell us a new history.

Now, why this Constitution Day? I can only come to the conclusion that this is an attempt [by the Bharatiya Janata Party] to try and worm its way into the national movement when it had no role to play at all. This is the way it wants to worm itself ... And how it wants to worm itself I want to know…

Here in the section on Fundamental Duties that are supposed to be enforceable, Article 51A says, ‘it shall be the duty of every citizen of India.’ If you read Article 51A(f), it says, ‘to value and preserve the rich heritage of our composite culture.’ Is it a composite culture that we are preserving, Sir? I will come to that again. What does Article 51A(h) say? It says, ‘to develop the scientific temper, humanism and the spirit of inquiry and reform.’ Sir, if we hear that Lord Ganesha was the creation of plastic surgery or Karna in the Mahabharata was the creation of stent technology and test tube babies, is that scientific temper? And it comes from no less than the Hon. Prime Minister. What is happening? What are you implementing? What do you want to implement, and what [do you] not? You are only reviving the hardcore Hindutva agenda. You want to revive cow protection...

I read in the media that the Hon. Home Minister is saying secularism is the word that was injected into the Constitution and, therefore, that is the cause of all the problems. He has also referred to, I believe, poor old Aamir Khan; our actor is getting lampooned. He said, ‘Ambedkar did not leave the country. But he stayed here and struggled’. And that is what Aamir Khan also said, Sir. He did not say he is leaving. I am glad he is staying and struggling, and then you accuse them, saying the Left is sponsoring all that. Thank you for putting all those people with us. Our tribe is increasing…

But remember, Ambedkar did not leave the country. He was a patriot. But, Ambedkar renounced Hinduism and embraced Buddhism. You remember that. You remember that, and why was that? That is where the intolerance issue comes in. Sir, these are again matters of history. You cannot erase it, and if you want the question of intolerance, take the same speech of Dr. Ambedkar of November 25, which the Hon. Leader of the House was quoting... What does Dr. Ambekar say? He was saying, ‘history will repeat itself’. ‘Will we lose our Independence again...,’ [The] Hon. Leader of the House quoted that. After that, he did not quote the rest of it. What does it say? I am quoting from that speech of Dr. Ambedkar. ‘Will history repeat itself?’ That is, will we lose our Independence once again? ‘Will Indians place the country above their creed or will they place creed above the country, I do not know’. As the Leader of the House said, if Dr. Ambedkar was here today, what would he say? He would not pose this question. He would say, ‘Indians are being forced to place their creed above the country’. And that is the intolerance that is happening in the country today...

[U.S.] President [Barack] Obama came here. All of us were very excited in the Central Hall, both sides. Everybody was saying, ‘wah wah, President Obama came here’. And, then, he wrote in the Golden Book — there is no gold in that book — of our Parliament, ‘Greetings from the world’s oldest democracy to the world’s largest.’ This was his message. Yes, this was the message he gave. I had to point it out later that evening at the President’s banquet. I said, ‘Sir, I think, this is a wrong definition — that you are the world’s oldest democracy.’ He said, ‘Why?’ I said, ‘Sir, you got the right to vote, that is, American-Africans, universally in the United States of America in 1962, one year after you were born. The universality of adult franchise in the U.S. came only in 1962; in India, we gave it in 1950.’

[source:TheHindu]

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