By – A. JAISON, M.A., B.L.
Millions of true and innocent Indians are heartily celebrating the Constitution Day on this 26th November, 2020. Led by the visionary, prophet and the Chairman of the Drafting Committee Dr B.R. Ambedkar, it was adopted on 26th November, 1949 by the Constituent Assembly under the Chairmanship of Dr Rajendra Prasad! 71 years have rolled by and we are seeing the Constitution today as it was fearfully and prophetically predicted by Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar. His fears have become reality thanks to the obnoxiously aggressive tinkering and constitutionalising acts of the Constitution by none other than the fascist regime led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his lieutenants in the States. Just prior to entering the Parliament after assuming the mantle of Prime Ministership, he reverently bowed and kissed the steps leading to the Parliament! While majority of the Indians including the majority of the oppositions would have been bewitched to see his act with admiration, some would have viewed this with suspicion as yet another political drama! Suspicion was not without substance and the past acts of Mr. Narendra Modi as CM of Gujarat were the testimony.
The Constitution Day has come to be celebrated with much more fanfare only after Mr. Modi became the Prime Minister of India and none foresaw that he would do his best to make the worst against the Constitution! Not that there was never an assault on the Constitution. The simplest example is the imposition of the President Rule in the States by the party whichever was in power in the Centre. Invoking Emergency by the Prime Minister Indira Gandhi was yet another glaring example. There are umpteen number of instances which need no mention. Constitution has been grossly misused and abused by the Legislature, Executive and Judiciary in tandem, if not in all times. When we talk about Judiciary, some of the Judges- not necessarily all- have their own interpretation not in tune with the spirit of the Constitution or the spirit of the laws enacted by the Parliament but according to their own whims and fancies and interpretations throwing the legislatively well-intended social obligations to the winds and crossing the boundaries of the laws. The dangers go on unabated with the Supreme Court itself having been a silent spectator over many of the executive oppressions and much to the dismay of millions of its Citizens it has sadly and unfortunately become an Executive Court -as rightly coined with by someone- during the last about 6 years. As regards the misuse and abuse of the Constitution irrespective of its goodness or badness, Dr B. R. Ambedkar echoed his deep concern on 25-11-1949: “However good a Constitution may be, it is sure to turn out bad if those who are called to work it, happen to be a bad lot. However bad a Constitution may be, it may turn out to be good if those who are called to work it, happen to be good lot.” Constitution of any country is merely a paper-document and it lives to the goodness of the people only when it is in the safe hands of men who keep the interest of the country above any self-centric sectarianism and parochialism.
After Dr B.R. Ambedkar wound up his speech, Dr Rajendra Prasad, the Chairman of the Constituent Assembly echoed on 25-11-1949 the same fear with same prophetic warning: “..if the people who are elected are capable and men of character and integrity, they would be able to make the best even of a defective Constitution. If they are lacking in these, the Constitution cannot help the country. After all, a Constitution like a machine is lifeless thing. It acquires life because of the men who control it and operate it, and India needs today nothing more than a set of honest men who will have the interest of the country before them.” Does the country have such honest men is a million dollar question now, more so, after ascension of throne by Modi ji. So many anti-people laws, anti-labour laws and pro-corporate laws have been enacted with an alarming speed bull-dozing the oppositions during the last 6 years; democracy has been crippled by overshadowing the Parliament; the independent Constitutional organs have been suppressed and suffocated in order to force them to dance to the tunes of political power; Judiciary, particularly the Supreme Court, has been cornered and coerced to become the political master’s voice in most of the sensitive cases, if not all.
Now the constitution is slowly but steadily torn apart by the Government at the Centre and so done by the BJP-ruled States with no qualm of conscience for personal liberty of the people, particularly those who criticize the anti-people policies and unconstitutional acts of the Government, SCs & STs, OBCs, minorities , migrant labourers, and farmers (particularly farm labourers). Freedom of Press has become a major casualty. The ruling BJP Government is blind enough to embrace even the overt and declared culprits from the other parties to enhance the audibility of its voice. No principle of equality or equity! Why is this pathetic situation? The Governments over the decades have not focused more attention in providing education to the masses, unprivileged and underprivileged Indians because the rulers want the masses to follow them like sheep and not to rationally think and question. Dr B.R. Ambedkar was emphatic in granting the adult franchise with uniqueness of “One Man, One Vote and One Value” This inviolable and invaluable right is glaringly grabbed by the political goons in the election booths with no police to arrest and no court to punish them. There were instances of SC/ST people’s hamlets totally surrounded in the 17th Lok Sabha elections by the political goons in order to prevent them from exercising their franchise and this happens in every election in one part or other of the country. Names of voters mysteriously are missing from the Voters’ List! Where is democracy and it has become a mockery in the hands of quacks!
The untoward, illegal and unconstitutional happenings in our country with police turning its Nelson’s eyes or clandestinely joining with the hooligans against the peaceful protesters and media people are all the unholy indicators of the mangling of the Constitution by the power-that-be with muteness of the highest judiciary. It all happens because our Judiciary is not independent and courageous to protect and uphold the Constitution and the Rule of Law. Mr. B, M. Gupte, one of the leading members of the Constituent Assembly rightly remarked how the dictators could wreck the Constitution: “The Weimar Constitution was said to be a model democratic Constitution of the time but it was soon wrecked by Hitler and out of its ashes arose a terrible dictatorship which plunged the world into a devastating war. So it is not the Constitution that matters nor the people who make it, but it is the men who work the Constitution and the spirit in which they work it. Any Constitution may be good on the paper, but its success depends upon the manner in which it is worked.”
It is a widely accepted tested-fact all over the world that the intellectuals are the ones who could do a lot for their country provided they are honest. Perverted intellectuals cause irreparable damage to our country’s all round growth because of their utter selfishness. Dr B.R. Ambedkar in his famous thesis, ‘Annihilation of Caste’ has highlighted the role of the intellectuals: Said he, “Whether you accept the theory of the great man as the maker of history or whether you do not, this much you will have to concede that in every country the intellectual class is the most influential class, if not the governing class. The intellectual class is the class which can foresee, it is the class which can advise and give lead. In no country does the mass of the people live the life of intelligent thought and action. It is largely imitative and follows the intellectual class. There is no exaggeration in saying that the entire destiny of a country depends upon its intellectual class. If the intellectual class is honest, independent and disinterested it can be trusted to take the initiative and give a proper lead when a crisis arises. It is only a means and the use of means depends upon the ends which an intellectual person pursues. An intellectual man can be a good man, be a band of high-souled persons, ready to help, ready to emancipate erring humanity or it may easily be a gang of crooks of a body of advocates of narrow clique from which it draws its support.” The most disturbing question is whether our country is having honest, independent and disinterested intellectual class. The answer is a banging ‘No’ as the so called intellectuals in the three organs of the Government and the paid-media in the fourth estate have proved by their dereliction of duties enjoined upon them, utter failures and abominable misdeeds.
In the backdrop of the above, one can safely conclude that we have the best Constitution but has been in the hands of worst men. It is worth quoting Dr B.R. Ambedkar: “I feel that it is workable, it is flexible and it is strong enough to hold the country together both in peace time and in war time. Indeed, if I may say so, if things go wrong under the new Constitution, the reason will not be that we had a bad Constitution. What we will have to say is that Man was vile.” The RSS led BJP is very aggressive to appropriate Dr B. R. Ambedkar but not to adhere to his avowed ideals. This double-standard has to be understood by the Indian citizenry. It is for the people, more particularly the democracy-loving educated, spiny media and honest intellectuals to identify and expose who those vile men are, save the Constitution from the ongoing wreckage and the menacing clutches of the evil politicians.
(Amarnathan Jaison – General secretary Dr Ambedkar world federation of Employees associations, General Secretary of Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar Rationalist Youth Movement (ARMY). Prolific writer and author on Babasaheb Dr B.R. Ambedkar)