Advani on Dr Ambedkar. Masking History for votes?

NDA’s prime ministerial candidate L.K. Advani on Sunday accused the Congress of adopting tactics which “ensured” defeat of Dalit icon and architect of the Constitution, Bhimrao Ambedkar in post-Independence polls.
“After Independence, when the first government of the country was taking shape, Pandit Jawahar Lal Nehru gave priority to give berth only to Congressmen in it. But Gandhiji advised him to include scholar leaders like Shyama Prasad Mukherjee and Dr. Ambedkar in the government,” Mr. Advani said addressing the BJP’s Scheduled Caste Mahasammelan here.

“Though Dr. Ambedkar was later made chairman of the committee formed for framing the Indian Constitution in which he had ensured that all sections of society are protected, Congress at the time of elections adopted such tactics which ensured his defeat in the polls,” Mr. Advani claimed. “Unhe Congress ne parajit karvaya (He (Ambedkar) was defeated by the Congress),” Mr. Advani charged. Mr. Advani also termed the “incidents of disrespect shown by the Congress towards Dr. Ambedkar the party’s political vendetta against the Dalit messiah.”

Let us read some history and see whether how much truth is there in what our Prime ministerial candidate was saying.
What is the truth? Let us see what Rajni Kothari a prominent scholar says in his book ‘Caste in Indian Politics’

“The era of cooperation [between Congress and Ambedkar] ended in fall of 1951 just before India’s first General election.Ambedkar resigned from the cabinet primarily because of lack of support for Hindu code Bill for which he as a law minister was responsible……. “

Hindu Code Bill of 1951
Hindu Code Bill prepared by Dr Ambedkar and fully supported by Nehru was enivisaged to give equal status to Women in Civil Laws.The bill raised the age of marriage,upheld monogamy,gave women the rights to divorce,maintenance and inheritance and treated dowry as women’s property.
There was strong opposition from the conservative sections of the society including the Hindu Maha Sabha,Jan Sangh and the RSS. They were of the opinion that the Bill will destroy the age old Hindu tradition and Hindu way of life.Conservative Congress leaders like the then President Dr Rajendra Prasad also opposed it. He opposed some of the provisions in the bill and wanted to postpone the consideration of the Bill till the next Parliament.It is interesting to read the correspondence between the President Prasad and Prime Minister Nehru here.
Fearing that the Bill may not be passed in Parliament and even if passed the President may send it back,Nehru decided to postpone it. Ambedkar was angry and resigned from the Ministry.
Another reason for his resignation was he wanted to activate the cadres of Schedule Caste Federation before the General Election.

Elections in 1952
Thus Ambedkar participated in the 1952 elections not as a friend of the administration[Congress] but as a bitter opponent.

Ambedkar contested under the banner of Scheduled Caste Federation.As per Rajini Kothari in the above book, “Congress had kept a seat vacant for Ambedkar until the last moment,till it came to be known that his Party entered in to an alliance with Socialist Party. Ambedkar was defeated by another Dalit from Congress Mr N.S. Kajrolkar from the Bombay North Constituency.”

Though Ambedkar was defeated, Congress graciously offered him a Rajya Sabha seat which he accepted.He remained an Independent M.P till his death in 1956.
Nehru made the Hindu Code Bill a big election issue, won a massive majority in Parliament and passed the Bill as four separate acts in 1956.

Now let us once again go back to Mr Advani’s statement.
Did Congress defeat Ambedkar in elections?
Yes true but only a half truth. It was Ambedkar who resigned from the Cabinet,refused Congress ticket,mobilised Dalits under the banner of Schedule Caste Federation, contested against Congress and was defeated. Even then Congress gave him a Rajya Sabha seat.Advani will never mention all the other truths as they are inconvenient for getting Dalit votes.

Was Jan Sangh supporting Ambedkar? The irony of the fact is that Jan Sangh’s opposition to Hindu Code Bill was one of the reason for postponing the tabling of Bill,which in turn resulted in Ambedkar’s resignation. Now Advani the leader of BJP,the new avatar of Jan Sangh is shedding crocodile tears in the name of Ambedkar. What a hypocrisy!!!

Sangh Parivar and Ambedkar
The true attitude of Sangh Parivar towards Ambedkar is well depicted in the former BJP Minister Arun Shourie’s book ‘Worshipping False Gods’. At the same time they do not want to loose Dalit votes by openly campaigning against Ambedkar.
BJP was always a master of such deceptions.
But it is difficult to hide history behind the saffron mask.


8 thoughts on “Advani on Dr Ambedkar. Masking History for votes?

  1. Dr Ambedkar was solely responsible for so many reforms in our ‘laws’as they existed is something I have always admired and respected in the man ever since I first read about him…yes,I agree all political parties have become quite adept at this game of selective amnesia..BJP and the Congress are two sides of the same coin…and LK Advani is as pathetic a Prime Ministerial candidate as Sonia(if Congress even bothers to inform us of a candidate that is)Dr Ambedkar is someone whom I have huge respect for…sadly even the great man has been made a tool/method/strategy in the hands of our esteemed Behenji aka Mayawati…:(But his writings that you mention here,his decisions ,his courage all that I read about in college make me respect him a lot…polls are here and the whom to vote for question looms large…by the process of elimination one is left with no party that stands up to our scrutiny…

  2. IHM, yes Hindu code bill is very important.It may not have passed in that form after 1970s. Read what Nehru wrote to Dr Rajendra Prasad. He wrote,”The Bill is in opinion of many a moderate measure of Social reform,with very little of revolution about it. …..the changes suggested are generally recognised by thinking ppl world over as desirable and as being in consonance with modern conditions and the spirit of the times” Still Dr Prasad and many conservative men and even few women opposed it in 1951.Both Nehru a pragmatic politician and Ambedkar a stubborn academic were much ahead of their times.

  3. Indyeah, Yes Ambedkar was responsible for framing so many progressive laws,But Nehru and the liberal leaders of Congress were resposible for passing the laws in Parliament and implementing it. In 1951 Ambedkar who did not care about the pulse of the ppl and their leaders wanted to table the Bill then it self.If Nehru allowed that the Bill might have been defeated. Nehru despite Ambedkar’s objection wisely postponed it,came back with a huge majority and passed the Bill.From the above bit of History we know that Jan Sangh/RSS and Congress are not 2 sides of same coin. Same holds true now.BJP and Jammat Islami are 2 sides of same coin.Congress is different.

  4. I agree with your views Charakan in context of this post…but do you really think Congress is any better than the BJP?In todays context?or is it a choice between the devil and the deep sea?I abhorr both of them equally…and both have blood on their hands…But yes I can understand what you were trying to say in this context..

  5. Indyeah,thank you for understanding in context of this post.Even now the difference between Congress and BJP holds true.You may think both are similar but they are not.It is like comparing polluted river water and water from drainage.Some time river water may be as bad as water from drainage.But when you analyse origin and the basic chemistry you realise the basic difference between them.

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