India is celebrating Constitution Day but there’s a long way to go before the vision of its architect Bhimrao Ambedkar can be realised

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India is celebrating Constitution Day but there’s a long way to go before the vision of its architect Bhimrao Ambedkar can be realised
BCCL

  • India is observing Constitution Day on November 26 to commemorate the adoption of the constitution of India — which came into effect on January 26, 1950.
  • Four years ago, Prime Minister Narendra Modi marked the birth anniversary of Bhimrao Ramji Ambedkar as the Constitution Day of India.
  • Political democracy cannot last unless there lies at the base of it social democracy, Ambedkar had famously warned.
India is observing Constitution Day on November 26 to commemorate the adoption of the constitution of India — which came into effect on January 26, 1950. Seventy years later, the very fabric of the world’s largest democracy is being tested on the 3 pillars ⁠— legislature, executive, and judiciary ⁠— that are supposed to uphold the constitution.

Four years back, Prime Minister Narendra Modi laid the foundation of the Ambedkar memorial in Mumbai on November 19, 2015 — marking November 26, which is the birth anniversary of the chief architect of the Indian constitution, Bhimrao Ramji Ambedkar — as the Constitution Day of India.

Ambedkar fought relentlessly to restore the dignity and rights of India’s oppressed classes. Ambedkar said that "political democracy cannot last unless there lies at the base of it social democracy. What does social democracy mean? It means a way of life which recognizes liberty, equality and fraternity as the principles of life."
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Political maneuvers override the voters’ mandate

Political maneuvers override the voters’ mandate


Increasingly, politics in India is more about dexterous maneuvers to consolidate power than the voters’ verdict. As seen in the ongoing political crisis in Maharashtra, political parties are more keen on staying in power by any means possible.


A pre-poll alliance that garnered enough votes to form the government has broken up right after the election, and the state legislature has been hostage to expedient politicking. While the Supreme Court has ordered a floor test tomorrow, the role of the governor who allowed the oath taken by Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis remains under question.


But as Ambedkar’s quote would remind us, "democracy is not merely a form of government. It is primarily a mode of associated living, of conjoint communicated experience. It is essentially an attitude of respect and reverence towards fellow men."

Women still stopped from entering temples and mosques

Women still stopped from entering temples and mosques

Ambedkar was also a champion for the feminist cause. "I measure the progress of a community by the degree of progress which women have achieved," he had said.


The controversial case of Sabarimala temple — that bans women of menstruating age from entering the temple — is showing no signs of conclusion.


The Supreme Court has ordered that women must not be discriminated against, enforcing the order on the ground has been a challenge. It is the state government’s duty to enforce law but the executive has put the fear of a political backlash ahead of the letter of the law.


With Mandala season welcoming devotees, the temple registered merely 36 women entries as compared to 740 last year. Added to that there was a case of 12 year old refused entry as their age was being checked before entry.


It has long been a debate if women can be allowed into religious places including Shani Shingnapur temple, the Haji Ali Dargah. Haji Ali Dargah Trust had said that it would be a ‘grave sin’ if women entered the dargah. Women, in fact, received death threats if they tried entering the dargah. However, in August 2016, the Bombay High Court lifted the man to allow women entry to dargah, if she wants to.

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Untouchability still exists, says the Supreme Court

Untouchability still exists, says the Supreme Court


While the caste-based reservation has helped in uplifting some of for those historically discriminated against, violence against lower castes are still rampant. Over the last decade, crime against Dalits increased by 25% while several cases from marginalised groups are still pending for investigation.


“Untouchability though intended to be abolished, has not vanished in the last 70 years. We are still experimenting with ‘tryst with destiny'… condition is worse in the villages, remote areas where the fruits of development have not percolated down,” India’s Supreme Court said in its order on October 1, overturning an earlier verdict (from March 2018) which diluted the protection given to the country’s Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes.