This is not BR Ambedkar’s India
India has won the presidency of G20 by rotation. However, the BJP-RSS has tried to present it not as an honor and responsibility towards India, but as an achievement of Prime Minister Narendra Modi. The propaganda in the name of PM Modi is that “India’s G-20 agenda will be inclusive, ambitious, action-oriented and decisive. Let us work together to shape a new paradigm of human-centred globalization.
This is a great lesson for the international community. But one should know what India is today. In 2022, India was ranked 107th in Global Hunger Index, 150th in Press Freedom Index, 136th in World Happiness Index, 85th in Corruption Perception Index, 71st in Global Food Security Index, 77th. 46th in Rule of Law Index and Democracy Index. The neoliberal policies aggressively adopted by the present regime have led to this calamity.
The Modi regime is running on a divisive, communal, sectarian agenda. The situation of socially discriminated classes and minorities in India is in front of the international community. BR Ambedkar’s predictions are significant in this regard.
“Minority communities can be crushed. If they are not crushed then they can be oppressed and tortured. They will certainly be discriminated against and denied equality before law and equal opportunity in public life.” These lines suggest that a sensitive commentator on contemporary politics has written on the plight of minorities in Modi-ruled India. But they were written by Ambedkar in a chapter devoted to majorities and minorities in Thoughts on Linguistic States. On the anniversary of his death on December 6, it is clear that his words have come true. He also warned that communal forms Minorities will feel insecure due to the imposed electoral process and will be excluded from all spheres including politics.
Unsurprisingly, a communally charged electoral process has become a deciding factor for electoral results in favor of the BJP, whose leaders target minorities in the name of their faith, dress, food and their choice of love and marriage . Ambedkar’s idea of minorities included not only the Muslim, Christian and other religious minorities but also the Dalits and the weaker sections of the society.
Some BJP legislators have openly called for social and economic boycott of Muslims, who constitute 12 to 14 per cent of the population. Ambedkar could see this possibility. Therefore, in his draft constitution for the United States of India, which he prepared in 1945, he placed the issue of exclusion of minorities in the chapter on fundamental rights. He stipulated that any measure in word or deed to boycott the minorities would be dealt with a severe punishment and the future legislature of India would enact laws with provisions for exemplary punishment against the guilty. In fact, Ambedkar had submitted a memorandum to the Constituent Assembly in March 1947 and it included the above issues.
Why is it that Modi and his ministerial colleagues, who are desperately trying to appropriate Ambedkar, are silent when BJP MLAs shamelessly call for the boycott of minorities? The silence of the Prime Minister shows that he is not in line with Ambedkar’s vision.
Ambedkar underscored the point that the cultivation of constitutional morality by every citizen is a clear imperative to uphold the constitutional vision of India. The PM spouts “Sabka Saath, Sabka Vikas” but in practice, he and his party target minorities and silently call for genocide and boycott.
India’s image is being badly tarnished at the global level by such shoddy developments. Tragically, our country has been described as an “elected autocracy” and “partially free”. Ambedkar was shocked and moved beyond measure by the deliberate affront to the Constitution, constitutional morality and the legislative intent of the Constituent Assembly by those controlling the state machinery today.
Ambedkar called for the adoption of the constitutional path to achieve social and political goals and cautioned that any other path would spell anarchy. The demand for the ouster of Muslims and the violence against them explains the grammar of anarchy. This threatens to create permanent social and economic upheaval, which may reach a level that is beyond the control of any power. Therefore, those who rule India should be careful about the issues raised by Ambedkar and adopt a constitutional method to save it from disaster.
The writer is General Secretary of CPI