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The promise of Mook Nayak

 

Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar

From the pages of Bahishkrit Bharat (Untouchable India)

[The following is from an editorial (translated from Marathi) written by Babasaheb Ambedkar for one of the issues of the newspaper Bahishkrit Bharat published on April 3, 1927! Translated by Dr. B.R. Kamble.]

bahishkrit bharat 1

We Are On the Scene Again

This writer had started a fortnightly newspaper called "Mook-Nayak" (leader of the dumb) on 31st January, 1920. There he had stated in the first issue itself that there is no more effective means than the newspaper to voice against the injustice done to the untouchables by the Caste Hindus and also to suggest the ways and means for their progress and total liberation from their slavery imposed on them by the high Caste Hindus from ages past. But when we throw our glance to the newspapers that are brought out in Bombay Presidency we are constrained to say that they do no other work than safeguarding the interest of their respective caste men only. They do not bother for the interests of other castes; not only this but even at times they go against the interests of others in their view points.

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Need for Political Power for Depressed Classes: Babasaheb Ambedkar


(Babasaheb Dr. B. R. Ambedkar's speech at the Plenary Session, Fifth Sitting of the Round Table Conference on 20th November 1930)

ambedkar speaking

"Mr. Chairman, my purpose in rising to address this conference is principally to place before it the point of view of the depressed classes, whom I and my colleague, Rao Bahadur Srinivasan, have the honour to represent, regarding the question of constitutional reform. It is a point of view of 43,000,000 people, or one-fifth of the total population of British India. The depressed classes from a group by themselves, which is distinct and separate from the Mohammedans, and, although they are included among the Hindus, they in no sense form an integral part of that community. Not only have they a separate existence, but they have also assigned to them a status which is invidiously distinct from the status occupied by any other community in India. There are communities in India, which occupy a lower and subordinate position; but the position assigned to the Depressed classes is totally different. It is one which is midway between that of the serf and the slave, and which may, for convenience, be called servile with this difference, that the serf and the slave were permitted to have physical contact, from which the Depressed Classes are debarred. What is worse that this enforced servility and bar to human intercourse, duo to their untouchability, involves, not merely the denial of those most elementary of civic rights on which all human existence depends. I am sure that the point of view of such a community, as large as the population of England or of France, and so heavily handicapped in the struggle for existence, cannot but have some bearing on the right sort of solution of the political problem, and I am anxious that this Conference should be placed in possession of that point of view at the very start.

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Babasaheb Dr. B. R. Ambedkar's speech in the Constituent Assembly on 25th November 1949

 

Babasaheb Dr. B. R. Ambedkar's speech in the Constituent Assembly on 25th November 1949

babasaheb constituent assembly

Sir, looking back on the work of the Constituent Assembly it will now be two years, eleven months and seventeen days since it first met on the 9th of December 1946. During this period the Constituent Assembly has altogether held eleven sessions. Out of these eleven sessions the first six were spent in passing the Objectives Resolution and the consideration of the Reports of Committees on Fundamental Rights, on Union Constitution, on Union Powers, on Provincial Constitution, on Minorities and on the Scheduled Areas and Scheduled Tribes. The seventh, eighth, ninth, tenth and the eleventh sessions were devoted to the consideration of the Draft Constitution. These eleven sessions of the Constituent Assembly have consumed 165 days. Out of these, the Assembly spent 114 days for the consideration of the Draft Constitution.

Coming to the Drafting Committee, it was elected by the Constituent Assembly on 29th August 1947. It held its first meeting on 30th August. Since August 30th it sat for 141 days during which it was engaged in the preparation of the Draft Constitution. The Draft Constitution as prepared by the Constitutional Adviser as a text for the Draft Committee to work upon, consisted of 243 articles and 13 Schedules. The first Draft Constitution as presented by the Drafting Committee to the Constituent Assembly contained 315 articles and 8 Schedules. At the end of the consideration stage, the number of articles in the Draft Constitution increased to 386. In its final form, the Draft Constitution contains 395 articles and 8 Schedules. The total number of amendments to the Draft Constitution tabled was approximately 7,635. Of them, the total number of amendments actually moved in the House were 2,473.

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From the pages of Bahishkrit Bharat

 

Bahishkrit Bharat (Untouchable India)

The following is from an editorial (translated from Marathi) written by Babasaheb Ambedkar for one of the issues of the newspaper Bahishkrit Bharat published in 1927! This translation was first published in July 2010 by Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar Research Institute in Social Growth, Kolhapur. Translated by Dr. B.R. Kamble.

~

I mounted on the chariot with bow in my hands and it is my satisfaction that the bravery has surcharged my body; to establish fame in the world, to enhance the prestige of one's own religion and to release the earth from its burden,Parth, now be doubtless, pay attention to this struggle. After hearing this there should be no need of saying anything more.

ambedkar in library

Year 1st
Friday June 3, 1927
Issue 5th

Day-to-day problems

1. Once upon a time going to a foreign country was forbidden in India. But after observing that those who return from foreign (western) countries after receiving higher education occupy higher positions, now-a-days many go to the foreign countries without bothering for the expiation that they have to undergo after returning. Thus many Indian students are spread across the universities in western countries. Some Indian students studying in a German University have recently published that there they are treated as untouchables. Their entry is forbidden in some boardings (hostels). In the University their entry is forbidden to the amusement centres. They have stated that that the exclusion and miserable condition that they are experiencing there in Germany cannot be realized by the Indians from such a long distance. These students going abroad generally come from rich families. For them study goes along with all their habits of entertainment. As a matter of fact one need not have much sympathy for them. Because they are such who support and thrive on the varna (caste) practices in India. Varna system in India is their cultural heritage. They never say that the untouchablity imposed on the so-called untouchables in India is wrong. When this is so then why should they complain when their own Varna (caste) system is imposed on them in Europe? Should they not be happy that the varna system which they regard as good in India is imposed and practiced on them in Europe by the Europeans? If Varna System is good then should they not be happy when it is spreading outside India? Why should the boys who have themselves grown in the social environment of varnashrama be angry when it is practiced on them in Europe? These people who are number one in the hierarchical system of India should think seriously when they experience that they are not number one everywhere.

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From the pages of Mook Nayak

 

The following is the first editorial (translated from Marathi) written by Babasaheb Ambedkar for the very first issue of Mook Nayak published in January 1920! This translation was first published in July 2010 by Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar Research Institute in Social Growth, Kolhapur. Translated by Dr. B.R. Kamble.

~

Mumbai, Saturday 31st January 1920 [Issue No.1].

If anyone throws his glance on the Indian physical and social world as a spectator he will undoubtedly find this country a home of glaring inequality. Despite the blessings of nature and the things produced in abundance the growing inequality of poverty is so much in existence among the Indian masses that it can be easily noticed by anybody even in his unmindfulness. But no sooner he notices the inequality of poverty among the masses he does not fail to notice the social inequality that exists among the people and this inequality is like the elder sister of the former making the younger one ashamed of it.

ambedkar seated

Inequality that exists among Indians is of many forms. Inequality due to physical differences and also due to racial differences which is quite common everywhere is also found here. Black-White, tall-dwarf, straight nosed and snub-nosed.Arya- Anarya, Gon=Knod, Yavani-Dravid, Arab, Irani etc. are the differences that surface clearly in some places and though not as clearly defined but they exist in other places in latent form and in some other places in stable form. Religious inequality exists in more severe form than physical and racial inequality. The quarrels and struggles emerging out of religious inequality in several instances go to the extent of blood shedding. No doubt that Hindu, Parsi, Yahudi, Musalman, Chrisitan etc. stand as the walls of religious inequality but more than this if we see with our own subtle eyes the existing inequality among the Hindus we find its form much beyond our imagination and also worth condemning.

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Remembrance of Maha Parinirvana Day: Homage to Boddhisattva Babasaheb

 

Dr. Shekhar Bagul

Our Saviour was just 65 and nobody thought that he would leave us so suddenly. Everybody had great hopes of better future as he had shown us the way of the Buddha and gave us a new identity as Buddhist. The world to us was appearing a new, with new horizon, new expectations, new hopes. Those, like me, who had just returned taking Diksha only six weeks earlier at Nagpur, were projecting many things ahead.

dr ambedkars last journey

We all thought Babasaheb will show us the light and would explain us the path of the Buddha, how to practice it, how it will brake the shackles of slavish religious practices which made us to believe that we are born slaves and that we cannot worship in any temple, any God which we could call ours.

We, one and all, were looking for the Star in the Sky to throw rays lightening the path which we were eagerly waiting to follow. Our star was sending messages from the capital New Delhi's Alipur Road that he has planned to organise a mammoth Diksha Ceremony in Bombay, the citadel of his Depressed Classes movement. Within the span of six weeks the Buddha shrines were coming up in every colony, chawals, hutments, Zuggis zopadis and even on roads in those places. In BDT and Port Trust chawals of single rooms, Worli, Byculla, Nagpada, Matunga, Koliwada, Wadala and many places families were getting ready for the Day when they were going to take Diksha from the Saviour. Messages were coming from villages to us who were in Bombay that families and relations are coming for the Diksha. They were sending messages that they would come day or two earlier because they want to buy white saries and shirts as they could not get one in their places. They were asking what they have to do, will they get a chance to see Baba and bow to his feet?

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A Reply To The Mahatma By Dr. B. R. Ambedkar

 

(This reply was included as Appendix II in the second edition of Babasaheb Dr. B. R. Ambedkar's 'Annihilation of Caste') 

I appreciate greatly the honour done me by the Mahatma in taking notice in his Harijan of the speech on Caste which I had prepared for the Jat Pat Todak Mandal. From a perusal of his review of my speech, it is clear that the Mahatma completely dissents from the views I have expressed on the subject of Caste. I am not in the habit of entering into controversy with my opponents unless there are special reasons which compel me to act otherwise. Had my opponent been some mean and obscure person, I would not have pursued him. But my opponent being the Mahatma himself I feel I must attempt to meet the case to the contrary which he has sought to put forth.

While I appreciate the honour he has done me, I must confess to a sense of surprise on finding that of all the persons the Mahatma should accuse me of a desire to seek publicity, as he seems to do when he suggests that in publishing the undelivered speech my object was to see that I was not "forgotten". Whatever the Mahatma may choose to say, my object in publishing the speech was to provoke the Hindus to think and take stock of their position. I have never hankered for publicity, and if I may say so, I have more of it than I wish or need. But supposing it was out of the motive of gaining publicity that I printed the speech, who could cast a stone at me? Surely not those, who like the Mahatma, live in glass houses.

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