India celebrated Constitution Day on November 26. It was on that day in 1949, we adopted, enacted and gave to ourselves the Constitution of India.
After India became independent, the Constituent Assembly entrusted the job of drafting the Constitution to a Committee and Dr. Bhimrao Ambedkar was elected as the Chairman of the Drafting Committee.
Dr. Ambedkar completed the draft of the Constitution and presented it in the Constituent Assembly. This draft was adopted in November 26, 1949.
It marked a new era in our country as the Constitution which was going to come into effect from January 26, 1950 (Republic Day), upheld the sovereignty of all the people of our country for the first time in Indian history.
Unfortunately, some people believe that India was a land of justice and fairplay in the epic age and was a far better place to live in than the present Republic India. They strongly recommend Mahabharata as a better guide than the Constitution of India. India cannot progress so long as we have such a backward pull in our mindsets.
Our Constitution is a result of thousands of years of evolutionary progress of humankind since the days of Mahabharata.
So, it is quite natural that the spirit of Mahabharata will come into conflict with our Constitution which is based on the ideals of equality, liberty, fraternity and justice. Dronacharya, a great figure of Mahabharata, should have been arrested in Republic India for cutting the right thumb of Eklavya as tuition fees.
Will the code of Mahabharata promote women to the status of Devis? When women of elite families could have been pawned in a game of chance in those days, it can, easily, be understood what was the status of common women especially the Dalit ones at that time.
We still nurture prejudices against Dalits and women because of our soft corner for barbaric ancient days. The brightest and the humblest student, Eklavya, was, devilishly, made crippled so that he could never use his education in archery.
Our pining for such an unequal society made a bright student of modern India, Vemula, write in his suicide note, ~ “My birth is my fatal accident”. Instead of realizing the contributions of Ambedkar and the Constitution of India, we are giving Dronacharya award to sports coaches. But he is an example of what a coach should not be! Such an award and the renaming of Gurgaon as Gurugram to glorify this mythological inhuman character show that it is still miles to go for us to give due honour to Ambedkar and Indian Constitution. The need of the hour is to follow Ambedkar’s path of “Educate-Agitate-Organize” to clear the cataracts of prejudices so that the ideals of our Constitution ~ “Equality-Liberty-Fraternity-Justice” ~ can be translated into reality. India needs to back Eklavyas and Ambedkars to build a modern, progressive, strong and happy India.
5/11 Government Housing Estate, Sodepur, Kolkata