WRITTEN BY R. NANJAPPA                        

Post No. 8641

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                                BOOKS INDIANS SHOULD READ – 36


                                                Chapter 13 Part 3


Dr.Ambedkar ridicules Gandhiji

During the debate on the second reading (4-9 November,1948, Dr.Ambedkar had ridiculed

Gandhian ideas on the importance of the village, calling the village ‘a sink of localism,

a den of ignorance, narrow-mindedness and communalism.’

H.V. Kamth’s Rejoinder to Dr.Ambedkar

H.V.Kamath joined issue with Dr.Ambedkar and strongly refuted him.

With all deference to Dr.Ambedkar, I differ from him…His attitude yesterday was typical

of the urban highbrow. I heard Dr.Ambedkar refer to our villages …with dislike, if not with

contempt. Perhaps the fault lies with the composition of the Drafting Committee, among the

members of which, no one, with the sole  exception of Shriyut Munshi has taken any active

part in the struggle for the country’s freedom. None of them therefore is capable of entering

into the spirit of our struggle. the spirit that animated us.. That is why the tone of

Dr.Ambedkar’s speech yesterday with regard to our poorest, the lowliest and lost was

what it was….historians and research scholars have also given us precious information…

I do not know if he has read a book called ‘Indian Polity’ by Jayaswal. I do not know if he

has read another book by a greater man, ‘ The Spirit and Form of Indian Polity’  by

Sri Aurobindo. From these books we learn how our polity in ancient times was securely

built on village communities which were autonomous and self-contained; and that is why

our civilisation has survived through all these ages.

[He read out an extract from the book. He concluded by saying that he supported the       

motion  without  enthusiasm.]

Earlier, even while reading the aims and objectives, (1946-47) M.R.Masani said that the

Father of the Nation was not present there. But he quoted him:

The centre of power now is in New Delhi, or in Calcutta and Bombay, in the big cities.

I would have it distributed among the seven hundred thousand villages of India.

But the Constitution drafted by people who did not participate in the freedom struggle,

and some whom were even supporting the British, all lovers of British law, left out the

villages without giving them any thought, leave alone any  power. The British system

of urban exploitation of our villages and villagers continued under so called

Independence. Mahatma Gandhi was informed of this serious omission and he said on

21 December 1947 in ‘Harijan’:

...there is no mention  or direction about  village panchayats and

decentralisation  in the foreshadowed Constitution. It is certainly an omission

calling for immediate attention if our independence is to reflect the

people’s voice. The greater the power of the panchayats, the better for

the people.

Alas! Gandhiji’s voice went unheeded. Nobody cared for Gandhiji’s views.  He died shortly

thereafter, and our luminaries soon forgot about him and his ideals.

Our Constitution is a product of a handful of people who were basically  Anglophiles,

products and admirers of the British administration and its bureaucracy. They forced

a Constitution on us perpetuating the same British savagery on our villages. This

Constitution we have given ourselves has only solemnised the structure that the British

colonial  power created in India  through force, and hence lacked  legitimacy. We have

in our Constitution conferred legitimacy on the methods of the looters by continuing what

they left behind. . This Constitution therefore is a fraud on Mahatma Gandhi. It

mocks Gandhiji and the ideals that guided the freedom movement under

his leadership.

This phrase ‘fraud on Mahatma Gandhi’ is mine. But the IV volume of Dharampal’s

collected papers contains material relating to the debates in the Constituent Assembly.

He has given a detailed introduction. Jayaprakash Narayan has provided a valuable

Foreword which expounds the basic values that should govern a Constitution. Those who

followed the freedom movement will feel sad and painful at how Gandhiji was betrayed

by the English educated elite, and by his own followers who used his name as passport

to power.. 

                                                         ***                             This series concluded. Comments are welcome.

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