Salient features of Indian Society, Diversity of India
General Studies 2
Indian Constitution- historical underpinnings, evolution, features, amendments, significant provisions and basic structure.
The country celebrated birth anniversary of Dr. B.R. Ambedkar on 14th April 2017. The role of institutions became paramount because the social issues confronting the humanity were so gigantic that some efforts couldn’t have solved them, particularly in the first half of 20th century.
After independence, post second WWII- the whole world was reeling under divisive fascist onslaught. In India, there were challenges of rampant casteism, inequality and underdevelopment. The massive influence was by Dr. Ambedkar’s ideas and ideals that played crucial role in making a modern India. Political democracy cannot last unless there lies at the base of it social democracy.
Social democracy means a way of life which recognizes equality, liberty and fraternity as an integral part.
India has the biggest constitution of the world. It consists of the widest spectrum of national life. Dr. Ambedkar’s contribution in making India’s constitution has been immense; especially the emphasis on social justice is very influential in national life. For thousands of years, a section of people were mistreated and they had no opportunities or justice. They were suffering a very pitiful life with lack of opportunities and discrimination. As Dr. Ambedkar came from such a section of society, he was well aware of the conditions prevailing there. So, while framing the constitution, these areas of his life became a part of constitution. He laid foundation of constitutional draft, was actively involved in framing each provision of the constitution, his replies in the constituent assembly on various articles are still quoted. When we look at constitution, Dr. Ambedkar’s contribution in terms of social justice requires crucial mention.
Provision for reservation
The provisions for reservations were made for schedule caste and schedule tribe as they were the most marginalized, suppressed and oppressed section of Indian society. Dr. Ambedkar was convinced that without it, they would not be able to rise, as they will not get opportunities in life. Art 330 makes representation for reservation in legislative houses and Art 335 gives them reservation in services. Thus they are most crucial provisions in constitution which take care of social justice requirement.
If Dr. Ambedkar was not there in the formation of constitution, then perhaps the kind of emphasis that social justice got would not have been possible. This explains the importance of Dr. Ambedkar.
Dr. Ambedkar’s ideas and personality was beyond the normal realms of social reformer. When Dr. Ambedkar was sharing his ideas and ideals, India was not independent and the concern was to stabile the system so that democracy takes root, republican form of government establishes which can take care of need of people and meet political aspiration of people,
Whether reservation has helped the targeted sections.
There has been tremendous improvement in the presence of SCs and STs in services and representation in legislative houses of India. But their social status has not improved to the extent it was thought.
Inspite of reservation, they are not getting the opportunities and rising to which they should have risen. Now, the Hindu upper classes treat with contempt and consider them as trouble as despite lesser marks or qualifications, they are able to get good jobs and admission in education institution. This shows the discrimination done and still prevailing against lower classes and removing that mindset is very difficult as it takes long time to change and therefore there will be assertion of dalit rights.
Reservation was one part of social empowerment but was not the end of it. Lot of things had to support it. As Dr. Ambedkar came from dalit background, his thoughts on caste oppression, thoughts against exploitation, thoughts on women empowerment, opportunities to youth in employment reflected in the constitution. He believed that however good constitution is, if those who are implementing it are not good, it will not be able to be successfully implemented.
A nation builder
As was his ideas of nation building so strong, so were his concerns about what was following to be there. He had cautioned fellow legislators against the use of non-constitutional methods of protest and was worried about limitless powers provided to the person whom the people worshipped. He also underlined the importance of creating not just a political democracy, but also a social and economic one. He supported the minority rights and opined that there should be solution wherein existence of the minorities are recognized as well as enable majorities and minorities to merge somebody into one. Being a social thinker, political reformer, philosophical writer with progressive ideas, he has been able to bring forward the basic human survival principles.
In last 70 years, there are still many ways tried on how to implement the thoughts, the ideas that Dr. Ambedkar envisioned to make India a modern country. He was an original thinker. He had a different perspective on Indian society. He was pained by inequalities, discrimination in the society. Injustice is inbuilt in hierarchical society. When he dealt with constitution, there was a much broader perspective on social justice which made a way in constitution. Apart from that, he had much broader view about what kind of constitution India needed in free India, what was required by people and certain ideals were kept in mind while framing the constitution like fundamental rights, economic equalities.
The nation assigned a task to Dr. Ambedkar to formulate a constitution. He did successfully but we have failed in responsibility given to us. This needs to be answered seriously. There has been improvement in the status of dalits as seen from the jobs they hold. However, there are problems of poverty which is widespread. Even after so many efforts, the complaint remains from the people that there are discriminative practices against them. They are the primary victims of underdevelopment of country as well as inequality and it is not easy to remedy them.
Connecting the dots:
Examine in detail the ideas and ideals of Dr. Ambedkar to make India a modern nation.
What is the meaning and significance of a ‘Modern Nation’? Describe the role of father of constitution to make India into one such nation.