India, “the greatest living democracy in the world” with a ‘flawed democracy’ is replete with quotes from eminent personalities who shaped our country’s freedom and paved way for its future social, cultural and economic development.
The golden quote by Dr. B.R. Ambedkar on the occasion of his address to the nation on the first ever Indian Republic Day on 26th January 1950, extracted from K.B. Ganapathy’s ever- popular column Abracadabra (SOM dated Mar. 5, 2013) appears to be relevant today and worth pondering over by Indian voting fraternity keeping in mind the next Assembly and Parliamentary elections in India:
“If hereafter things go wrong, we will have nobody to blame except ourselves. Not to lay their liberties at the feet of even a great man or to trust him with powers which enable him to subvert their institution. Bhakti in religion may be a road to salvation of the soul. But, in politics, bhakti or hero-worship is a sure road to degradation and to eventual dictatorship.”
On 2nd September 1953, Dr. Ambedkar, in his address to the Rajya Sabha, said “I shall be the first person to burn it out.”
– The Constitution.
“It is by placating the sentiments of smaller communities and smaller people who are afraid that the majority may do wrong, that the British Parliament works. Sir, my friends tell me that I have made the Constitution. But I am quite prepared to say that I shall be the first person to burn it out. I do not want it. It does not suit anybody. But whatever that may be, if our people want to carry on, they must not forget that there are majorities and there are minorities and they simply cannot ignore the minorities by saying, “Oh, no. To recognise you is to harm democracy.”
I should say that the greatest harm will come by injuring the minorities.
After two years, Rajya Sabha Member Dr. Anup Singh from Punjab, on 19th March 1955, during the debate on Fourth Amendment Bill to the Constitution, raised the issue of Dr.Ambedkar’s earlier statement saying, “Last time when you spoke, you said that you would burn the Constitution.”
Dr. Ambedkar replied — “Do you want a reply to that? I would give it to you right here. My friend says that the last time when I spoke, I said that I wanted to burn the Constitution. Well, in a hurry I did not explain the reason. Now that my friend has given me the opportunity, I think I shall give the reason. The reason is this: We built a temple for God to come in and reside, but before the God could be installed, if the Devil had taken possession of it, what else could we do except destroy the temple? We did not intend that it should be occupied by the Asuras. We intended it to be occupied by the Devas. That is the reason why I said I would rather like to burn it.”
Some of these historical nuggets of the creator of the Constitution of India, Dr. Ambedkar, appear to be highly relevant even today. So what? Leave it to the knowledgeable voters?
– Vasanthkumar Mysoremath, Social Activist, Tilak Nagar, 8.9.2017
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