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नई दिल्ली। भारतीय संविधान की निर्मात्री सभा के ड्राफ्टिंग कमेटी के चेयरमैन, डॉक्टर अंबेडकर थे। डॉक्टर राजेंद्र प्रसाद के जीवन से संबंधित पत्राचार तथा अन्य महत्वपूर्ण दस्तावेजों के आधार पर श्री बाल्मीकि चौधरी ने, जोकि एक स्वतंत्रता सेनानी होने के साथ-साथ लोकसभा के सदस्य तथा प्रमुख बुद्धिजीवी थे। उन्होंने 22 भागो मैं प्रकाशित करने का महत्वपूर्ण कार्य किया था। परंतु बाबा साहब के संविधान निर्माण में कुछ भ्रामक बातें लिखी है। उसके प्रत्युत्तर में स्वतंत्रता संग्राम के योद्धा, सोशलिस्ट विचारक तथा चार बार लोकसभा के सदस्य मधुलिमये ने संसद में अपनी जो अमिट छाप छोड़ी वह सर्वविदित है। अपने देहावसान से पूर्व अंत में उन्होंने दो लेख एक डॉक्टर अंबेडकर के संदर्भ में तथा दूसरा महात्मा गांधी पर लिखा था। जो उनकी मृत्यु के बाद प्रकाशित हो पाया। 

यह मधुलिमये का जन्म शताब्दी वर्ष है। 30 अप्रैल, 2023 को वह 100 वर्ष के हो जाएंगे। उन्होंने यूं तो डॉक्टर अंबेडकर पर कई लेख लिखे हैं परंतु उनकी पुस्तक 'अंबेडकर एक अध्ययन' अब तक जितना भी साहित्य डॉक्टर अंबेडकर पा प्रकाशित हुआ है उसमें अधिकतर उनके जीवन चरित्र को दर्शाया गया है। परंतु मधुजी ने उस पुस्तक में उनके वैचारिक पक्ष को प्रस्तुत किया है। वह बहुत ही विचारोत्तेजक, तथ्यात्मक पुस्तक है। यहां मैं बाबा अंबेडकर के बारे में बाल्मीकि चौधरी के लेख के प्रतिवाद में मधुलिमये ने जो लिखा है, उसको प्रस्तुत कर रहा हूं।


Dr. Rajendra Prasad was without question one of the most eminent leaders thrown up by the freedom movement in the Gandhian era (1917-48). Mr. Valmiki Choudhary has rendered invaluable service to modern Indian history by publishing twenty volumes of Dr. Rajendra Prasad's Correspondence and Select Documents collected by him. Mr. Choudhary is a freedom fighter. He was my colleague in the Third Lok Sabha. He also acted as Dr. Prasad's Secretary. But more than all these things, his devoted work as a compiler of Rajendra Babu's papers will be remembered by the posterity with gratitude. While paying my tribute to Mr. Choudhary, I cannot but protest against the wholly unnecessary, slighting and provocative remarks he has made in relation to Dr. B.R. Ambedkar's contribution to constitution making in his introduction to the twentieth volume. Dr. Prasad was a very courteous and knowledgeable person, and had he been alive, I am sure, he would have dissociated himself from what Mr. Choudhary has said about Dr. Ambedkar.

The intention of the introduction appears to be to dispel the "misleading impression" that has "been created among the people that the Constitution had been framed by Dr. B.R. Ambedkar". A long summary of a passage in his introduction is unavoidable because I don't wish to be accused of distorting his views: Dr. Ambedkar's name "figures in the records of the Constituent Assembly as respresentative of Bengal. It would appear he could not get elected from Bombay." Important Committees of the Constituent Assembly did not include his name. In the Committee on minorities he was "the fourteenth member." In another Committee his name came "towards the end." A seven member Committee (to examine the draft) under the Chairmanship of Sir Alladi Krishnaswami Ayyar included his name along with others. Towards the end, "this Draft was handed over to a Committee related to the Minwistry of Law." Dr. Ambedkar was entrusted only with the task of presenting it to the Constituent Assembly. Then comes the amazing statement that "the final decision" on the amendments received for discussion rested with President Rajendra Prasad who used to gauge the opinion of the House. (Does any President, Chairman or Speaker of any representative assembly ever take final decisions except on procedural and technical matters?) It was, then, merely a question of deleting and inserting some words. "Given this situation Dr. Ambedkar was left with no work to frame the Constitution." The writer refuses to call Dr. Ambedkar, Chairman of the Drafting Committee, does not even credit him with the work of expounding the provisions and principles of the Constitution with great clarity and learning. Can anything be more petty and stupid? But I know Mr. Choudhary is not a petty man. Still he does great injustice when he says that Dr. Rajendra Prasad made no particular mention of Dr. Ambedkar in the final stages of the Constituent Assembly's work.

It is quite true that Dr. Ambedkar did not have the necessary votes to get elected to the Constitution-making body from Bombay. It was Bengal which sent him to the Assembly. But with partition, the previous elections stood annulled under the Mountbatten Plan of 3 June 1947. Dr. Ambedkar was now without a seat. It was Sardar Patel's foresight and greatness that he chose Dr. Ambedkar to fill the vacancy caused by Dr. M.R. Jayakar's resignation. He told B.G. Kher: "You have to make arrangements for Dr. Ambedkar's election" before 14 August, 1947. If the writer had known this background, he would not have adopted the tone he has chosen in the above passage.

Those who have carefully gone through the twelve volumes of documents published by the British Government under the title The Transfer of Power and the vast material on this subject and the related work on Constitution making know very well that if any two individuals were to be singled out for their crucial role in all this, they decisions were taken by the two of them, including the decision to would inevitably be Sardar Patel and Jawaharlal Nehru. The major discard any extreme form of Provincial Autonomy and go in for a accept partition, abandon the framework of the Cabinet Mission Plan, strong Centre. Neither Dr. Rajendra Prasad nor Dr. Ambedkar played any prominent part in this major decision-making. In fact it can be said that Dr. Ambedkar was a more ardent supporter of a strong Centre than Rajendra Babu or even Patel and Nehru. He held that a strong matter of "great admiration and respect and refuge." The words were Centre-st -stronger than that provided by the Act of 1935-was for him a matter of "great admiration and respect and refuge." The words were carefully chosen. What he wished to convey was that the Scheduled Castes, the Scheduled Tribes, the OBCs, the women, in one word all the oppressed needed a strong caring Centre, not a despotic one.

It should be remembered that the Constituent Assembly after partition was a wholly Congress-dominated body. It was, then, fully representative of the nation. But it was the greatness of the Congress leadership that it drafted the services of many outstanding non- Congress personalities in preparing the basic law of the land. The Constitution was not "the handiwork" of any one person. The Drafting Committee could not override "the wishes of the majority party". Dr. Ambedkar and his colleagues well knew the limitation within which they had to work.

Only one example of this limitation should suffice. Articles 330, 332 and 334 had provided that seats shall be reserved for the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes in the House of the People at the Centre and Legislative Assemblies in the States as nearly as may be in proportion to their population for a period of ten years. This reservation was to cease to have effect on the expiration of this period of one decade. In the euphoria following the achievement of independence, it was felt by the dominant majority in the Constitution-making body that the lot of these deprived sections would improve dramatically in a decade and the noble principles enunciated in the Preamble of the Constitution would be realised in that period of time. Any realist would have felt that these millenia-old evils would not vanish in a short time. There was a similar euphoria after the 1932 Yeravda Pact. The Hindu leaders had then promised to eradicate untouchability and overcome the disabilities from which the Scheduled Castes suffered. But what happened? A disillusioned Mahatam Gandhi had to lament in his 5 November 1947 prayer speech in Delhi that they were going "downwards". He was speaking on the occasion of the opening to Harijans of the famous Vitthal temple at Pandharpur.

In the matter of reservation of seats in the Legislatures and reservation in services, a longer perspective and plan was and is necessary. There had to be a self-liquidating scheme within a longer span of time. Dr. Ambedkar was aware of the time factor. He had said in his speech in the Constituent Assembly that it would have been quite "proper" and "generous" on the part of the House to have given the Scheduled Castes a longer term with regard to these reservations. But since the majority felt otherwise, it was not possible for them to go back on these decisions, he said.

When the British ruled India, Dr. Ambedkar usually viewed things purely from the point of view of improving the lot of the Depressed Classes as they were called before 1935. He appealed for British intervention, thought in terms of enhancing the Scheduled Castes representation with a view to playing a balancing role between the Savarna Hindus and Muslims. For tactical reasons, he deliberately and completely ignored the claims of the Scheduled Tribes! One of the reasons why he advocated partition was the fear that the Savarna Hindus would appease the Muslim communalists in the matter of weightage in the Legislatures in a united India at the cost of the Depressed Class representation in these representative bodies. But Dr. Ambedkar was not a selfish man like the majority of the present day politicians. He was a patriot to the core of his being. After independence his attitude to Gandhiji and his views on many other issues underwent a change. Even on the question of Scheduled Tribes there was a total transformation.

The following exchange between Dr. Ambedkar and that great champion of the Schedules Tribes, the Scheduled Castes and the OBCs, Mr. A.V. Thakkar (Bapa), of G.K. Gokhale's Servants of India Society, shows the change clearly:

The Honourable Dr. B.R. Ambedkar: .. If at the end of the ten years, the Scheduled Castes find that their position has not improved or that they want further extension of this period, it will not be beyond their capacity or their intelligence to invest new ways of getting the same protection which they are promised here.

Shri A. V. Thakkar (Saurashtra): What about the Scheduled Tribes who are lower down in the scale?

The Honourable Dr. B.R. Ambedkar: For the Scheduled Tribes I am prepared to give far longer time. But all those who have spoken about the reservations to the Scheduled Castes or to the Scheduled Tribes have been so meticulous that the thing should end by ten years. All I want to say to them, in the words of Edmund Burke, is "Large Empires and small minds go ill together." 4

How right both Dr. Ambedkar and Mr. Thakkar Bapa were is proved by the fact that the period had to be extended several times, and will have to be extended even beyond 2000 A.D.

If Mr. Chodudhary or his ghost writer had gone through the final debates in the Constituent Assembly in November 1949, he would have realised that compliments had been showered on Dr. Ambedkar by all sections. That Mr. V.I. Muniswami Pillai, a Scheduled Caste leader, should highly praise Dr. Ambedkar's services, calibre and capacity may, perhaps, be dismissed as sectional pride. But what would one say when we find a strong opponent (Mr. Govind Das) of the Hindu Code Bill, on whose passage Dr. Ambedkar had set his heart, admitting unreservedly that "Dr. Ambedkar was quite equal to the task of Constitution-making that had been entrusted to him."s

Mr. Kuladhar Chaliha, who later became Chief Minister of Assam, Constitution." appreciated the work of the Drafting Committee "and more so of Dr. Ambedkar in producing a wonderful Mr. Ananthasayanam Ayyangar, who later became the Speaker of the Lok Sabha, certainly knew what he was talking about when he recognised that Dr. Ambedkar had "taken a leading part in the framing of this Constitution and he was one of the architects of the Constitution we are now passing." Mr. Thakurdas Bhargava (from East Punjab), who took an active part in the debates, acknowledged that Dr. Ambedkar had made for himself "a high position" in their hearts and he hoped that the Doctor would join the Congress and thereby become a member of the Congress High Command!

Many speakers who took part in these final discussions praised his clarity of expression. Mr. Mahboob Ali Baig Sahib said: "Dr. Ambedkar was unique in his clarity of expression and thought, and his mastery over the constitutional problems including those of finance has been marvellous, unique, singular and complete." I can go on like this. But I would conclude these citations by quoting a few lines from the speech of the greatest constitutional authority in that august body, namely Sir Alladi Krishnaswami Ayyar: ". . . Before I conclude, I would be failing in my duty if I do not express my high appreciation of the skill and ability with which my friend the Honourable Dr. Ambedkar has piloted this Constitution and his untiring work as the Chairman of the Drafting Committee"10

But it is best to refer to Dr. Ambedkar's own concluding speech. It is imbued with a spirit of humility and gratitude befitting a great scholar. He said that when he came to the Constituent Assembly his limited aim was to serve the interests of the Scheduled Castes. He was surprised when he was inducted into the Drafting Committee. He was even more surprised when he was elected as its Chairman when there were "men bigger, better and more competent than myself such as my friend Sir Alladi Krishnaswami Ayyar." He said that he could not find words adequate enough to express fully his gratitude to members of the Assembly who had "showered compliments" on him, more so "for reposing so much trust and confidence in him." He was aware that they had chosen him as "their instrument" and given him an opportunity to serve the country. Upborne on the tide of gratefulness and generosity, this man of vast learning, condemned by our social system as the "lowliest" of our long-suffering Mother's children, gave credit due to everybody who worked with him in accomplishing this great task:

The credit that is given to me does not really belong to me. It belongs partly to Sir. B.N Rau, the Constitutional Adviser to the Constituent Assembly who prepared a rough draft of the Constitution for the consideration of the Drafting Committee. A part of the credit must go to the members of the Drafting Committee, who as I have said, have sat for 141 days and without whose ingenuity to devise new formulae and capacity to tolerate and to accommodate different points of view, the task of framing the Constitution could not have come to so successful a conclusion. Much greater share of the credit must go to Mr. S.N. Mukherjee, the Chief Draftsman of the Constitution. His ability to put the most intricate proposals in the simplest and clearest legal form can rarely be equalled, nor his capacity for hard work. He has been an acquisition to the Assembly. Without his help, this Assembly would have taken many more years to finalise the Constitution. I must not omit to mention the members of the staff working under Mr. Mukherjee, for, I know how hard they have worked and how long they have toiled, sometimes even beyond midnight. I want to thank them all for their effort and their cooperation (cheers)."

And, finally, he gave "all the credit for the smooth sailing of the Draft Constitution" to "the sense of order and discipline of the Congress Party" and thanked the President of the Assembly, Dr. Rajendra Prasad, for his "courtesy and consideration" to members and his firmly disallowing technicalities and "legalism" to defeat the great work of Constitution-making.

But the real answer to the pettiness of spirit which the writer has permitted to surface in his introduction is the concluding address of Dr. Rajendra Prasad himself. While wishing not to make any invidious distinctions among members of the Drafting Committee, he nevertheless could not help making these remarks about the Chairman of the Drafting Committee, Dr. Ambedkar:

"Sitting in the Chair and watching the proceedings from day to day, I have realised as nobody else could have, with what rare zeal and devotion the members of the Drafting Committee and especially its Chairman, Dr. Ambedkar, in spite of his indifferent health, have worked (Cheers). We could never make a decision which was or could be ever so right as when we put him on the Drafting Committee and made him its Chairman. He has not only justified his selection but has added lustre to the work which he has done."12

I can only hope that Mr. Valmiki Choudhary will make amends for. the manner in which the Introduction, which goes in his name, has sought to belittle Dr. Ambedkar and his work at the earliest opportunity. He should not allow this blemish to mar the product of his untiring industry.


1. Dr. Rajendra Prasad, Correspondence and Select Documents, Vol. 20, p. xii.

2. Durga Das (Ed.), Sardar Patel's Correspondence, Vol. 5, p. 139.

3. Constituent Assembly Debates, Vol. I, 17 December 1946, pp. 99-103.

4. Ibid., Vol. IX, 25 August 1949 , pp. 696-97.

5. Ibid., Vol XI, 17 November 1949, p. 610.

6. Ibid., 18 November 1949, p. 642.

7. Ibid., 18 November 1949, p. 664.

8. Ibid., 18 November 1949, p. 682.

9. Ibid., 21 November 1949, p. 742.

10. Ibid., 23 November 1949, p. 840.

11. Ibid., 25 November 1949, pp. 972-981.

12. Ibid., 26 November 1949, p. 994.

New Delhi,