Today on 14 April 2016 we are celebrating the 125th birth anniversary of Dr. Babasaheb Bhimrao Ambedkar, the father and architect of the Indian Constitution.
To mark the anniversary, the Union Government has been organizing many events so as to raise even greater global awareness about Ambedkar and his great contributions for the welfare of society and humanity.
To this end a Committee was also formed in May 2015 to chart out how the principles and contributions of Ambedkar on his birth anniversary can be popularized.
125th Bhim Jayanti celebrations: Union Government formed a Committee
Also, two commemorative coins of “ten rupee” and one hundred and twenty-five rupee” denominations were released by Prime Minister Narendra Modi as part of it on 6 December 2015.
Even United Nations will also be organizing an event for the first time to mark the 125th birth anniversary of Babasaheb Ambedkar to focus on combating inequalities to achieve Sustainable Development Goals (SDG).
It is in this context, our current affairs team of jagranjosh.com tries to give a brief compendium of Babasaheb Ambedkar contribution to the Indian Constitution, the living and the most lengthiest document of the world governing the very diverse and pluralistic 1 billion+ population.
Dr. Ambedkar and his Contribution to Indian Constitution
India, a Sovereign, Socialist, Secular and Democratic Republic with a parliamentary system of government, is governed in terms of Constitution of India which was adopted by the Constituent Assembly on 26 November 1949 and it came into force on 26 January 1950.
Born on 14 April 1891 at Mahu in Madhya Pradesh he was an Indian nationalist, jurist, Dalit, political leader, economist, and the revivalist of Buddhism in India.
By the virtue of being the Chairman of the Drafting Committee of the Constitution, Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar is also referred to as the Father of Indian Constitution or Architect of the Indian Constitution. His role in framing the Constitution and basing it on the high pedestal of socio-politico-economic equality still holds relevance in the context of issues currently faced by India.
Babasaheb was a strong advocate of the parliamentary democracy since the inception of the Government of India Act of 1935 and his views on this is reflected in the Preamble of the Indian Constitution which echoes the principles of parliamentary democracy.
He was of the firm view that parliamentary form of government based on principles of social democracy only can lead to establishment of an egalitarian society.
His vision of social democracy advocated high standards of political morality, honesty and integrity on the part of politicians and strong and highly responsible Opposition party.
Federal Structure with Strong Centre
He also advocated a federal structure of the Union and States wherein there exists a strong Centre and independent States.
He opined that a strong centre will not only save minorities from the misrule of majority but also would serve towards a common end and for the general interest of the country as a whole.
He also proposed the institution of a unified judicial system and common All India Services with a view to strengthen national unity and integrity.
Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar was an ardent champion of fundamental rights which is enshrined in Part-III of the Indian Constitution. The text prepared by Ambedkar provided constitutional guarantees and protections for a wide range of civil liberties for individual citizens and outlawing all forms of discrimination. Babasaheb also argued for extensive economic and social rights for women.
But the most significant feature added in this part was Art 32 which has been described as “soul of the Constitution”. Article 32 is significant in the sense that it makes the fundamental rights justiciable, that is any violation of it can lead to Supreme Court to issue directions, orders or writs in the nature of habeas corpus, mandamus, certioraris etc. for the enforcement of fundamental rights.
Ambedkars’ real and main contribution to the Indian Constitution is reflected in the protective discrimination scheme or the reservation policy of the government for the upliftment of the Scheduled Castes, Schedule Tribes and Backward Classes.
Some of the notable examples are Article 15(4), 16(4), 17 and 30 of Part III and Part XI and Schedule V and VI of the Constitution.
For achieving this goal, he advocated to implement the scheme of protective discrimination for ten years at least.
Dr. Ambedkar advocated his economic doctrine of “state socialism” in the draft Constitution. He proposed state ownership of agriculture with collective method of cultivation and a modified form of state socialism in the field of industry.
However, due to strong opposition in the Constitution Assembly, he could not incorporate his scheme of state socialism under the fundamental rights as a part of the Constitution.
Such has been the contribution of Ambedkar that even after 66 years of Constitution coming into force his ideals remain in the public conscience. It was his championing of protective discrimination scheme that today India is largely free of the evil practice of untouchability and many downtrodden and underprivileged sections of the society have been able to actively participate in nation building and decision-making process.
His advocacy of parliamentary form of government has stood the test of time and is largely accepted that in a diverse and pluralistic society like India this is best suited though with minor modifications.
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