December 6 is a day to remember and pay tribute to the great social and political thinker, Babasaheb Ambedkar. It’s a day to reiterate our commitment to the Constitution and demonstrate our resolve to uphold democracy, secularism and constitutional morality.
Babasaheb passed away on December 6, 1956. The nation observes the day as his Mahaparinirvan Diwas. While it pays tribute to the architect of the Constitution, the nation also recalls with deep anguish the devastation of the Babri Masjid — an act that was against his vision of liberty, equality and fraternity on which the Constitution is founded. The ideology, which was behind the destruction of the Babri Masjid in Ayodhya, has destroyed the country’s harmony. After the destruction of the mosque, K R Narayanan, in his capacity as the Chairman of Rajya Sabha, said: “I condemn the events that have happened in Ayodhya. It is the greatest tragedy that has overtaken this nation since the assassination of Mahatma Gandhi.”
The hatred and poison that is spewed in the name of Hindutva continues to infect the body-polity. It is in complete contravention of the provisions of the Constitution, especially secularism which constitutes the document’s basic structure.
The Babri Masjid was pulled down in spite of the assurances given to the Supreme Court by the then BJP government of UP that the monument would be protected. The act dealt a severe blow to the idea of India as a multicultural nation. The people, polity and the country are paying a heavy price for the act, even today. The BJP-RSS combines communalism and fascistic principles to negate governance and polarise people.
Ambedkar had said that the Hindu Rashtra would result in a calamity for the whole nation and described it as “arrant non sense”. The leaders of the RSS and BJP and their ideological partners who often invoke the idea of Hindu Rashtra are negating his vision. This makes their recent affinity for Ambedkar extremely sinister. They must study Ambedkar’s views on Hinduism and Hindu society. Ambedkar hoped that “Hindu society should be re-organised on two main principles: Equality and absence of casteism. Without such internal strength, swaraj for Hindus may turn out to be only a step towards slavery.”
It is the height of perversion that the Hindutva forces have started dividing even Hindu gods on the basis of caste. It was such perversion and discrimination that forced Ambedkar to vow in 1935: “Even though I am born a Hindu I will not die a Hindu.” When he embraced Buddhism, he said: “Buddhism teaches us social freedom, intellectual freedom and political freedom, equality not between man and man only but also between man and woman.” He asked the untouchables and socially-discriminated people to wage a battle. He said, “Ours is a battle not for wealth, not for power, ours is battle for freedom, for reclamation of human personality.”
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Those who took pride in demolishing the Babri Masjid celebrate the ideals which perpetuate inequality, they uphold the social structures which sanction violence and hatred in the name of caste and faith.
Ambedkar had cautioned that without the application of constitutional method, a grammar of anarchy would be in place, and our independence would be jeopardised. He set a personal example, as an exponent and practitioner of constitutional methods for achieving social transformation, empowerment of citizens and nation building. Those guilty of demolishing the Babri Masjid should also be held accountable for going against constitutional methods and principles. These forces are determined to intensify the anarchy they have wrought in the name of faith. They should atone for it.
The writer is national secretary, CPI and a Rajya Sabha member