Rss

  • stumble
  • youtube
  • linkedin

‘What is this Constitution Day, Sir?’

sitaramyechu

Excerpts from CPI(M) general secretary Sitaram Yechury’s speech in the RS during the special discussion on commitment to India’s Constitution.

What we wanted was enactments of all legislation on the basis of which we can carry forward the vision of social justice that Dr. B.R. Ambedkar stood for. Now, instead, we have a situation where the government has come forward saying we reaffirm our faith in the Constitution. Where is the question of reaffirming? You are here, I am here, and all of us are here on an oath on this Constitution. What is this drama of reaffirming? If the Constitution is not there, then you won’t be here… And what is this Constitution Day, Sir?….

On November 26, this Constitution was signed by the President of the Constituent Assembly. It was voted upon and the draft was adopted. In the draft you have said explicitly that on January 26, 1950 India shall be a Republic when this draft will turn into a Constitution and we shall enact. Can this government answer? I want our esteemed lawyer, the Leader of the House, to tell us what law governed India from November 26, 1949 to January 26, 1950? Was it this Constitution? Is it known, Sir? The law that governed India during those two months after you adopted this Constitution was the India Independence Act 1947 moved by British Prime Minister [Clement] Attlee in the House of Commons in London… Now, what is this new thing that you are finding now 65 years later on Constitution Foundation Day?… Yes, that day the Constituent Assembly adopted this draft, but that was not the Indian Constitution yet. That was not yet the law of our land. It became the law of the land on January 26, 1950. Lawyers are talking like this on Constitution Day! You want some day or the other to find yourself, so that you can celebrate one more event…

Yes, the victor always scripts history. But here, the victor is also trying to change history. This is the history that we have inherited. Like the Hon. Leader of the House, I was also born after Independence. I think many of us were born after Independence. And for all of us, this is inherited history; this is our legacy. You cannot now tamper with that history and tell us a new history.

Now, why this Constitution Day? I can only come to the conclusion that this is an attempt [by the Bharatiya Janata Party] to try and worm its way into the national movement when it had no role to play at all. This is the way it wants to worm itself … And how it wants to worm itself I want to know…

Here in the section on Fundamental Duties that are supposed to be enforceable, Article 51A says, ‘it shall be the duty of every citizen of India.’ If you read Article 51A(f), it says, ‘to value and preserve the rich heritage of our composite culture.’ Is it a composite culture that we are preserving, Sir? I will come to that again. What does Article 51A(h) say? It says, ‘to develop the scientific temper, humanism and the spirit of inquiry and reform.’ Sir, if we hear that Lord Ganesha was the creation of plastic surgery or Karna in the Mahabharata was the creation of stent technology and test tube babies, is that scientific temper? And it comes from no less than the Hon. Prime Minister. What is happening? What are you implementing? What do you want to implement, and what [do you] not? You are only reviving the hardcore Hindutva agenda. You want to revive cow protection…

I read in the media that the Hon. Home Minister is saying secularism is the word that was injected into the Constitution and, therefore, that is the cause of all the problems. He has also referred to, I believe, poor old Aamir Khan; our actor is getting lampooned. He said, ‘Ambedkar did not leave the country. But he stayed here and struggled’. And that is what Aamir Khan also said, Sir. He did not say he is leaving. I am glad he is staying and struggling, and then you accuse them, saying the Left is sponsoring all that. Thank you for putting all those people with us. Our tribe is increasing…

But remember, Ambedkar did not leave the country. He was a patriot. But, Ambedkar renounced Hinduism and embraced Buddhism. You remember that. You remember that, and why was that? That is where the intolerance issue comes in. Sir, these are again matters of history. You cannot erase it, and if you want the question of intolerance, take the same speech of Dr. Ambedkar of November 25, which the Hon. Leader of the House was quoting… What does Dr. Ambekar say? He was saying, ‘history will repeat itself’. ‘Will we lose our Independence again…,’ [The] Hon. Leader of the House quoted that. After that, he did not quote the rest of it. What does it say? I am quoting from that speech of Dr. Ambedkar. ‘Will history repeat itself?’ That is, will we lose our Independence once again? ‘Will Indians place the country above their creed or will they place creed above the country, I do not know’. As the Leader of the House said, if Dr. Ambedkar was here today, what would he say? He would not pose this question. He would say, ‘Indians are being forced to place their creed above the country’. And that is the intolerance that is happening in the country today…

[U.S.] President [Barack] Obama came here. All of us were very excited in the Central Hall, both sides. Everybody was saying, ‘wah wah, President Obama came here’. And, then, he wrote in the Golden Book — there is no gold in that book — of our Parliament, ‘Greetings from the world’s oldest democracy to the world’s largest.’ This was his message. Yes, this was the message he gave. I had to point it out later that evening at the President’s banquet. I said, ‘Sir, I think, this is a wrong definition — that you are the world’s oldest democracy.’ He said, ‘Why?’ I said, ‘Sir, you got the right to vote, that is, American-Africans, universally in the United States of America in 1962, one year after you were born. The universality of adult franchise in the U.S. came only in 1962; in India, we gave it in 1950

.

SHRI ARUN JAITLEY (CONTD.): So, if Dr. Ambedkar had today stood up and proposed this provision, how would this House have reacted? ..[In Hindi]

SHRI SITARAM YECHURY: These are Directive Principles. You know as much as I know. These are Directive Principles. Do not stretch that argument to such a level.

MR. CHAIRMAN: Let the hon. Speaker continue.

SHRI ARUN JAITLEY: We will go beyond Directive Principles now…[In Hindi]  “The State shall endeavour to organise agriculture and animal husbandry on modern and scientific lines and shall, in particular, take steps for preserving and improving the breeds, and prohibiting the slaughter, of cows and calves and other milch and draught cattle.” So if Dr. Ambedkar had proposed Article 44 and Article 48 today, how many of you would have accepted it, as Shri Sitaram Yechury says, even as a Directive Principle? …[In Hindi]

SHRI SITARAM YECHURY: .[In Hindi] Dr. Ambedkar gave primacy to equality, life, liberty and dignity, the Fundamental Rights.

SHRI SITARAM YECHURY: Mr. Jaitley, if you don’t mind, I wish to make a point. You see, you have quoted article 44. You just go to article 43A. It says, ‘…by suitable legislation…to secure the participation of workers in the management of undertakings,…’ Has that been done? Look at article 45. It says, ‘The State shall endeavour to provide early childhood care and education…’ Has that been done? Then, go to article 46. It talks about promotion of educational and economic interests of SCs, STs and other weaker sections…(Interruptions)…But, you choose one article 44 and another article 48…(Interruptions)…What about providing special care? What about providing all these?

MR. CHAIRMAN: Sitaramji, please, do it when your turn comes. …(Interruptions)…

SHRI SITARAM YECHURY: So, don’t pick and choose. That is what I am saying…(Interruptions)…

SHRI ARUN JAITLEY: I think, I am glad that my friend Sitaram’s best argument is that we must have equality in the matter of not following the law, because one provision has not been followed the other should not be followed.

SHRI SITARAM YECHURY: Sir, I am saying you should follow the entire law…(Interruptions)…No, you are not following the entire law. …(Interruptions)…

MR. CHAIRMAN: I would request all the concerned to allow the discussion…(Interruptions)...

SHRI SITARAM YECHURY: Why are you picking and choosing, Sir? That is my point…(Interruptions)…

***

SHRI SITARAM YECHURY (WEST BENGAL): Sir, thank you for giving me this opportunity. ..[In Hindi] So, what we wanted was enactments of all the legislations on the basis of which we can carry forward the vision of social justice that Dr. Ambedkar stood for. Now, instead, we have a situation where the Government has come forward saying that we reaffirm our faith in the Constitution. Where is the question of reaffirming? You are here, I am here, and all of us are here on an oath on this Constitution. What is this drama of reaffirming? If the Constitution is not there, then, you won’t be here. The Government of the day must know, the Leader of the House — he is not here now — should know that they are there only because we affirm this Constitution. What is this question of now saying, “We will reaffirm”? And what is this Constitution Day, Sir?….

Go through the history. On 26th of November this Constitution was signed by the President of the Constituent Assembly. It was voted upon and the draft was adopted and in the draft you have said explicitly ‘that on the 26th of January India shall be a Republic in 1950 when this draft will turn into a Constitution and we shall enact.’ Can this Government answer? I want our esteemed lawyer, the Leader of the House, to tell us what law governed India from 26th of November, 1949 to 26th of January, 1950? Was it this Constitution? Is it known, Sir? The law that governed India during those two months after you adopted this Constitution was India Independence Act, 1947 moved by the British Prime Minister Attlee in the House of Commons in London. What is this Constitution then? You were under the British law for these two months. You adopted and enacted this Constitution on the 26th of January. Now, what is this new thing that you are finding now 65 years later on the Constitution Foundation Day? You please explain to me, Sir. You are sitting on the Chair. Maybe, you have greater knowledge, but you please explain to me that when Dr. Ambedkar himself says that on 26th of January we are enacting this Constitution and we shall be a Republic, what is this 26th November? Yes, that day the Constituent Assembly adopted this draft, but that was not the Indian Constitution yet. That was not the law of our land yet. It became the law of the land on the 26th of January, 1950. Lawyers are talking like this, Sir, on the Constitution Foundation day! You want some day or the other to find yourself so that you can celebrate one more event. The Constituent Assembly met again on the 24th and 25th of January, 1950. The Jana Gana Mana as the National Anthem was adopted on the 24th of January and on the 24th and 25th all Members of the Constituent Assembly signed this Constitution and on the 26th of November only 15 out of the 395 clauses in our Constitution came into operation. Sir, 26th of January, 1950 was when the entire Constitution came into operation. So, what is this new item that we have, Sir? …(Interruptions)… You may call it item song or whatever. It is a new item now in the Indian Constitution. A senior leader of the ruling party has described our Prime Minister, charitable or uncharitable, I don’t know, it is up to their party to decide, he called him an excellent event manager. One event after another, London and after that Malaysia, after that Asia and after that Constitution Day and from tomorrow it will be Paris. They showed us an old film in my youth, “Paris ke range shyam”. That will be the event from tomorrow.

SHRI ANAND SHARMA: It cannot be in the name of a film.

SHRI SITARAM YECHURY: I don’t know. So, what is this event to event to event? What are we observing, Sir? I am sorry, but I think the entire, what in Hindi we call, garima of this House, of the Parliament is being undermined by these sorts of flippant events that are coming in. Yes, for 26th of November we have the highest respect for Dr. Ambedkar and for everybody else. Does this Government today know that Constituent Assembly began its work on a Resolution moved by Shri Jawaharlal Nehru called the ‘Objectives Resolution’? Does this Government know that out of the eleven sittings of the Constituent Assembly six of the sittings were devoted to the ‘Objectives Resolution’ and not to this draft? A majority of the discussions in the Constituent Assembly was on the objectives put forward by Shri Jawaharlal Nehru. Sir, that is our history. Yes, the victor always scripts the history.

SITARAM YECHURY (CONTD.): But, here, the victor is also trying to change the past history! Now, this is the history we have inherited. Like the hon. Leader of the House, I was also born after Independence. I think, many of us are born after Independence. And, for all of us, this is inherited history; this is our legacy. You cannot now tamper with that history and tell us a new history! Now, why this Constitution Day? I can only come to the conclusion that this is an attempt to try and worm their way into the national movement when they had no role to play at all. This is the way they want to worm themselves into the national movement and how they want to worm themselves I want to know.

How this order is given? Sir, it is a Gazette Notification saying that ‘it has been decided to celebrate 26th day of November every year as the Constitution Day.’ It is a Gazette Notification. If you want I will place it on the Table of the House. It is a notification in the Indian Gazette, dated 19th November. It is issued by the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment. Does the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment decide a national day to be observed every year?

AN HON. MEMBER: The hon. Minister is here.

SHRI SITARAM YECHURY: Yes, I have noticed that hon. Minister is coming in here. Hon. HRD Minister was a good fried of mine before she became a Minister. After that she does not have time and she has got very onerous responsibilities. But, I just want to know how the Gazette Notification comes on 19th and the HRD Ministry issues a circular to schools on 10th of November saying ‘observe 26th November as the Constitution Day.’ This is a Gazette issued on 19th. What is happening, Sir. Items in Indian politics. That is the only thing I can say — events. You have event management. You want to worm into the national movement when you had no role. Here, I wish to put it on record the fact that often we have heard and we will hear also, I am sure, in the course of this discussion, the role of Communists, etc., in the Freedom Struggle. That is an old charge…

(Interruptions)…

SHRI SITARAM YECHURY: Sir, please don’t deduct the time of these interruptions from my time and start pressing the bell. Please don’t do that. The British Bombay Home Department, in 1942, during the Quit India Movement observed, “The Sangh has scrupulously kept itself within the law and in particular has refrained from taking part in the disturbances that broke out in August, 1942.” ..(Interruptions).. This is the record of the British Government. Now, Tarunji made a charge against the Communists. .[In Hindi].

“After large scale strikes in mills in Kanpur, Jamshedpur and Ahmedabad, a despatch from Delhi dated September 5, 1942, to the Secretary of State, in London, reported about the Communist Party of India: ‘the behaviour of many of CPI members proves what has always been clear, namely, that it is composed of anti-British revolutionaries.'”

This is the President of India telling this in the Central Hall of Indian Parliament.

(Interruptions)

…[In Hindi].  He read out Article 44 of the Constitution, Sir, which deals with it. I have the copy of the Constitution and this is the copy that belongs to the Chamber. So you cannot accuse me of any personal or fudged copy.

MR. DEPUTY CHAIRMAN: Do you think there are different copies of Constitution?

SHRI SITARAM YECHURY: No, no. Sir. They may accuse me. They may accuse me, so I am reading out only from the Chamber’s copy. Even that is challenged. So you don’t argue for authentication; it is marked as Chamber’s Copy. It says, ‘the State shall endeavour to secure for the citizens a uniform civil code.’ It was quoted. It was also quoted on the question of organisation of agricultural and animal husbandry. I pointed out then that these are Directive Principles of State Policy, which are not justifiable and enforceable, and these Directive Principles also have other things, Sir, which are not quoted. What do they say? They say, ‘the State shall promote with special care the educational and economic interests of the weaker sections of the people.’ What did Babasaheb Ambedkar say? The same thing; that is Article 46. Article 47 says, ‘the State shall regard the raising of the level of nutrition and the standard of living.’ Isn’t it a shame that today, the largest number of children malnutritioned are in India? Isn’t it a shame that majority of the stunted children in the world are from India, today? This is the Constitutional Directive, Article 47. What has been done? You only pick and choose what you want to do and that is where the suspicion comes as to what is your actual motive. Here in the section on Fundamental Duties that are supposed to be enforceable — you please look at your copy in your hand, Sir — Article 51A says, ‘it shall be the duty of every citizen of India.’ If you read Article 51A (f), it says, ‘to value and preserve the rich heritage of our composite culture.’ Is it the composite culture that we are preserving, Sir? I will come to that again. What does 51A(h) say? It says, ‘to develop the scientific temper, humanism and the spirit of inquiry and reform.’ Sir, if we hear that Lord Ganesha was the creation of plastic surgery or Karna in the Mahabharata was the creation of stent technology and test tube babies, is that scientific temper? And it comes from no less than hon. Prime Minister. What is happening? What are you implementing? What are you wanting to implement and what not? You are only reviving the hardcore Hindutva agenda. Cow protection, you are wanting to revive. Then the entire question of equality of all citizens to liberty in life. He has quoted Article 30. He is not here, unfortunately, so I cannot request him also. He has quoted this Article 30 — you can also help me, Sir, in finding that Clause — and said that these are contradicted by Articles 29 and 30. Article 15 says, ‘the State shall not discriminate against any citizen on grounds of religion, race, caste, sex, place of birth or any of them.’ This is Article 15, Fundamental Rights.

SHRI SITARAM YECHURY (CONTD.): He says, “Articles 29 and 30 are in contradiction”. Sir, any lawyer would know, any right always comes with what is called reasonable restrictions. I hope, Mr. Parasaran is here; there is no right which does not come without reasonable restrictions. The reasonable restrictions through Article 15 have been detailed in Articles of the Constitution, 29 and 20, where the rights of the minorities to their religion are given. Minorities here meaning not only religious but also linguistic minorities. So, it is said, “This is a contradiction. Don’t we want to remove it?” What would Dr. Ambedkar say today if you were talking about this contradiction, about this Constitution? He would say precisely the same thing that the duties of a citizen would be the spread of tolerance, and not the spread of any one particular intolerant point of view. And that is the bone of contention today, Sir. I read in the media that hon. Home Minister saying that secularism is the word that was injected into the Constitution, and, therefore, that is the cause of all problems. He has also referred to, I believe, poor old Aamir Khan; our actor is getting lampooned. He said, “Ambedkar did not leave the country. But he stayed here and struggled”. And that is what Aamir Khan also said, Sir. He did not say that he is leaving. I am glad he is staying and struggling, and then you accuse them saying that Left is sponsoring all that. Thank you for putting all those people with us. Our tribe is increasing. That is what you are doing. …(Interruptions)… But remember, Ambedkar did not leave the country. He was a patriot. But, Ambedkar renounced Hinduism and embraced Buddhism. You remember that. You remember that, and why was that? That is where the intolerance issue comes in. Sir, these are matters again of history. You cannot erase it, and if you want the question of intolerance, take the same speech of Dr. Ambedkar of 25th November, which the hon. Leader of the House was quoting. This is the same speech, and what does Dr. Ambekar say? He was talking about ‘history will repeat itself’. “Will we lose our Independence again…”, hon. Leader of the House quoted that. After that, he did not quote the rest of it. What does it say? I am quoting from that Speech of Dr. Ambedkar. “Will history repeat itself”? That is, will we lose our Independence once again? “Will Indians place the country above their creed or will they place creed above the country, I did not know”. As the Leader of the House said, if Dr. Ambedkar was here today, what would he say? He would not pose this question. He will say, “Indians are being forced to place their creed above the country”. And that is the intolerance that is happening in the country today. Then, what did Dr. Ambedkar say? “But this much is certain — this is the speech, Sir, which was quoted in the morning — if the parties place creed above country, our Independence will be put in jeopardy a second time — after all the instances he gave, which were quoted by the leader — will be put in a jeopardy a second time and probably be lost forever. This eventuality we must all resolutely guard against. We must be determined to defend our Independence with the last drop of our blood”.

Today, when I stand up against this intolerance, I am doing exactly what Dr. Ambedkar asked us to do. Anybody who wants to say what Dr. Ambedkar said must be done, we will do exactly what Dr. Ambedkar asked us to do, i.e., raise ourselves against this sort of intolerance. This is the same Ambedkar in the same speech.

Then, we heard the question of social justice. The essential point of Dr. Ambedkar is missed out. I have quoted this a number of times in this august House, but I can’t stop myself from quoting this again.

SHRI SITARAM YECHURY (CONTD.): Now, I quote it in the full. It says, “On 26th of January, 1950” – please note once again, it is the Constitution Day, the Republic Day – “we are going to enter into a life of contradictions. In politics, we will give equality and in social and economic life, we will have inequality. In politics, we will be recognizing the principle of ‘one man one vote’, ‘one vote one value’. In our social and economic life, we shall, by reason of our social and economic structures, continue to deny the principle of ‘one man one value’.” That is the contradiction. Then, he continues to say, “If we continue to deny it for long, we will do so only by putting our political democracy in peril. We must remove this contradiction at the earliest. Or else, those who suffer from this inequality will blow up the structure of political democracy that this Assembly has so labouriously built”. This is Dr. Ambedkar in the same speech. What is the situation today? A hundred multi-billionaires in our country, whose asset value is close to one-half of my country’s GDP. And, according to the latest census, ninety per cent of the households in my country, today, have an income of less than Rs. 10,000, a month. Is this contradiction being resolved or are you only accentuating it further? Are we discussing issues of how we should reduce the gap in this contradiction? Instead, every foreign trip, we find a new concession to foreign capital. Fifteen new areas have been opened up to the FDI. Free Trade Agreements are ruining our domestic cultivation of commercial crops! The agrarian distress is growing. Farmers are committing suicides. Your industrial production index, as per this Government’s own statistics, this month has shown a drop from about six per cent plus to about three per cent. Manufacturing has dropped to 2.4 per cent from over 6 per cent. Industrial production is declining. Agrarian distress is deepening. …[In Hindi]

Where are we on the social justice vision of Dr. Ambedkar? I have mentioned about the atrocities on SCs and STS and about reservation. On the question of growing inequalities, the condition of our people is deteriorating. What is this contradiction? You see the reality. Are we paying homage to Dr. Ambedkar? Is this the way Modern India is actually fulfilling the vision of social justice. Forget about the political parties. Forget to which party belong, to which party you belong. As an Indian, when you are talking about these things, are we being honest to ourselves? Are we doing justice to Dr. Ambedkar and all of that generation – Nehru, Gandhi, Abul Kalam Azad, Sardar Patel – that gave us Independence and this Constitution? What had they exhorted all of us to do? Are we doing it? And, you say, “I reaffirm my faith in the Constitution.” Without reaffirming that faith, you won’t be here. What is this reaffirming of faith? Come to the federalism. What did Dr. Ambedkar say on federalism?

MR. DEPUTY CHAIRMAN: Please try to conclude.

SHRI SITARAM YECHURY: Yes, Sir. But how can I conclude federalism and intolerance and all that? …(Interruptions)… You are asking to conclude what the Government is doing.

SHRI SITARAM YECHURY (CONTD.): In a federal structure, on CentreState relations, what did Dr. Ambedkar say? He said that the Centre and the States are coequal in this matter. Sir, I am reading from the same speech. “It is difficult to see how such a Constitution can be called centralism. That is, the basic principle of fedearlism is that the legislative and executive authority is partitioned between the Centre and the States, not by any law to be made by the Centre but by the Constitution itself.” That is the essence of this Constitution. Is the principle of federalism followed, Sir? You are talking about the misuse of Article 356. That is only one part of it. We, the Kerala Government, were the first victim of Article 356, way back in the 1950s. I don’t know how many of you were there. Second time, we were victim in 1960s; twice, we were victim in Bengal, in 1967 and 1969. …(Interruptions)..

SHRI T.K. RANGARAJAN: Mr. Antony is here. He was the hero.

SHRI SITARAM YECHURY: Hon. Antony is here. He was a hero of one of the… (Interruptions).. But, Sir, all that apart, what is fedearalism? Not merely equality, that independent respect of the States, are we granting it today? Then, you talked of judiciary. Let me tell you, what Dr. Ambedkar said about judiciary is very, very interesting. I am quoting from the same speech, ” Courts may modify, they cannot replace”, please note, “Courts may modify, they cannot replace, they can revise earlier interpretations as new arguments, new points of view are presented. They can shift the dividing line in marginal cases, but there are barriers they cannot pass, definite assignments of power they cannot reallocate. They can give a broadening construction of existing powers, but they cannot assign to one authority powers explicitly granted to another.” The separation and the complementarity of the Executive, the Judiciary and the Legislature are hallmarks of our Constitution. Now, this is as far as your Judiciary is concerned. But what worries me about is you are paying homage to Dr. Ambedkar. Remember, Sir, from 1946 to 1950, what was the condition of the world? Millions of people were under colonial subjugation. When these countries became independent, what we did in India was, actually, a revolutionary step then. We granted universal adult suffrage, which nobody else of these countries granted. …(Interruptions).. Europe did not grant and not even the United States of America. President Obama came here. All of us were very excited in the Central Hall, both sides. Everybody was saying, wah wah, President Obama came here, and, then, he wrote in the Golden Book — there is no gold in that book — of our Parliament, “Greetings from the world’s oldest democracy to the world’s largest.” This was his message. Yes, this was the message he gave. I had to point it out later that evening at the President’s banquet. I said, “Sir, I think, this is a wrong definition that you are the world’s oldest democracy.” He said, “Why’? I said, “Sir, you got the right to vote, that is, American-Africans, universally in the United States of America in 1962, one year after you were born. The universality of adult franchise in the United States of America came only in 1962; in India, we gave it in 1950.” Whether you are a dalit, you are a landlord, whether you are a Muslim, whether you are a Hindu, we gave it in 1950. And, today, Sir, what is happening? In Haryana, 86 per cent of the people will be kept out of their right to vote and right to contest elections because of various conditions. The State Government has said that unless you fulfil these conditions, you cannot contest or you cannot vote.

SHRI SITARAM YECHURY (CONTD.): In Rajasthan, you put conditions whereby more than half the people are excluded from the universal suffrage. In Gujarat, you have said, ‘unless you have a toilet, a pucca toilet, in your house, you cannot vote or contest in local elections’. All these three States have got a BJP State Government. You come here to pay homage to Dr. Ambedkar and the one important thing that has been done by the Indian Constitution on universal adult suffrage, you deny it to people in the States which have a State Government that is led by the BJP. …(Time-bell)…

Sir, I know you will press the bell. But the point is that you please consider all these things. The Ruling Benches are empty. I don’t know who will convey, what and to whom when the reply comes on Monday.

MR. DEPUTY CHAIRMAN: The Ministers are there. …(Interruptions)… They will do it. …(Interruptions)…

SHRI SITARAM YECHURY: Sir, I sympathize with my friend, Shri Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi. How much burden can he carry, Sir? How much can he go and report upstairs saying that this is all that has been said and you please answer that? And, even the officers have deserted the officials’ block. So, I don’t know if anybody is taking note of all this. We understand many of these things. They ignore us normally. …(Interruptions)…

AN HON. MEMBER: This shows their commitment.

SHRI SITARAM YECHURY: But, Sir, since you are pressing the bell, let me come down to my final points. The Leader of the House made an interesting and a very interesting reference to the Third Reich and Germany. Wonderful, Sir. We are happy, and I must pay my gratitude to the Leader of the House for having reminded me of the Third Reich and Germany and the dangers of authoritarianism. Sir, in 1939, when the debate in the country was going on as to what should be the character of Independent India, there was a book, which was not thought that it would be very important but a book which had a very, very important implication for Indian politics and India’s future, and that was a book called ‘We, or our Nationhood Defined’ by Madhav Sadashiv Golwalkar. He is called the RSS Guru. And, since the Leader of the House mentioned the Third Reich, I only want to quote from that book about the Third Reich. That book is, ‘We, or Our Nationhood Defined’. Who is ‘we’? In Hindi ‘Swaraj.’ ..[In Hindi]  That is the entire import of that book..he talked saying that ‘only Hindus and Hindus alone are inhabitants of this country’. And, then, what does he say about the Third Reich? I am quoting, “To keep up the purity of the Race and its culture, Germany shocked the world by purging the country of the semitic Races, the Jews”. I will take a break here, Sir, for a moment. You please draw the parallels in India — who is that instead of the Jews and who is that for the Race and the culture and its purity. I continue with the quote. “Race pride at its highest has been …” …(Interruptions)…

SHRI V.P. SINGH BADNORE: Sir, which book is he referring to? …(Interruptions)…

MR. DEPUTY CHAIRMAN: From which book are you quoting? …(Interruptions)…

SHRI ANAND SHARMA: He is quoting from scriptures of your party. …(Interruptions)…

MR. DEPUTY CHAIRMAN: You say from which book you are quoting. …(Interruptions)…

SHRI SITARAM YECHURY: Sir, my good friend, Mr. V.P. Singh Badnore, may not be so much in tune with the RSS as he is a BJP M.P. But let me tell him that the name of the book is: ‘We, or Our Nationhood Defined’. I am quoting from page no. 35. This book was published in 1939 by Bharat Prakashan, republished by Bharat Prakashan, Second Edition, again in 1944. That is the authenticity. That book must be available in library if it is not already removed. I mean, they have this habit also of removing all these books. But otherwise, this book should be in the Parliament library. Otherwise, I will help you. I will give you a copy.

SHRI SITARAM YECHURY (contd.): Now, it is in this book, on page 35. I repeat that quote; it says, “To keep up the purity of the race and its culture, Germany shocked the world by purging the country of the semetic races, the Jews. Race pride at its highest has been manifested here. Germany has also shown how well nigh impossible it is for races and cultures having differences going to the root to be assimilated into one united whole. A good lesson for us..” Please understand this.

SHRI V. P. SINGH BADNORE: We cannot do that. That is why! What is that commentary?…(Interruptions)... We cannot do it. What is wrong in it? …(Interruptions)…

SHRI TAPAN KUMAR SEN: He is not saying anything wrong. Why are you getting agitated? …(Interruptions)…

SHRI V. P. SINGH BADNORE: We cannot do that. That is why he has said so. What is wrong in that?…(Interruptions)…

SHRI TAPAN KUMAR SEN: He is not saying anything wrong, Mr. V.P. Singh. …(Interruptions)…

SHRI SITARAM YECHURY: Sir, let me complete. …(Interruptions)… Sir, let me complete. ..(Interruptions)…

SHRI V. P. SINGH BADNORE: We cannot do that. That is why he has said…(Interruptions)… What is wrong with that? …(Interruptions)… What is he trying to do? …(Interruptions)….

MR. DEPUTY CHAIRMAN: Please, you would get a chance. You may reply to that; you would get your chance….(Interruptions)…. You can reply to that. You would get your chance. You say that he is misinterpreting. When you get your chance, you may correct it. …(interruptions)…

SHRI SITARAM YECHURY: I am quoting verbatim. And if you want, shall I re-quote the whole thing?

MR. DEPUTY CHAIRMAN: No, no; there is no need for that. It is all on record. …(Interruptions)….

SHRI SITARAM YECHURY: Have you followed so far?

MR. DEPUTY CHAIRMAN: Yes, yes. Now, you need to conclude also. There is no time. …(Interruptions)…

SHRI SITARAM YECHURY: Sir, let me conclude with just one sentence – “A good lesson for us in Hindustan to learn and profit by.” This is about the Third Reich that the hon. Leader of the House was reminding us about.

SHRI V. P. SINGH BADNORE: We thought this is wrong. That is why we…(Interruptions)

MR. DEPUTY CHAIRMAN: Now, please conclude. …(Interruptions)…

SHRI SITARAM YECHURY: This is exactly what this Hindu Rashtra is all about, Sir. That is why, if you want to pay homage and our shraddhanjali to Dr. Ambedkar, please remember what he said in the speech finally. I would like to quote to you what he said about creed: “Without equality, you cannot have liberty. Without fraternity, you cannot have equality and liberty. Without equality and fraternity – fraternity means sadbhavna – …you cannot have liberty.” If you are celebrating India’s freedom and its liberty, equality and fraternity are the two things on which there can be no compromise. And that is precisely what is being compromised in this furtherance of the atmosphere of intolerance.

Sir, finally, let me end by quoting Dr. Rajendra Prasad. When he was about to put his signatures on this draft, the future President of India, quoted these lines. He was not yet the President of India; he became the President of India only on the 26th of January and, then, it was said that the Governor General, Dr. Rajagopalachari, cannot administer an oath to our President because the Governor General is an appointee of the British. So, the Chief Justice was called, in this Central Hall, and he administered the oath. After that Dr. Rajendra Prasad administers the oath for an interim  Government, adopts this Constitution, administers the oath and directs that under this new Constitution, fresh elections be held after delimitation is completed. That election was held in 1952. And today, we hear, Sir, that Sardar Patel was being denied from being India’s first Prime Minister. Unfortunately, poor Sardar died in 1950; the first election was in 1952. .(Interruptions). Is that understood, Sir? Now, if there is some magic and some tantra through which like Lord Ganesha somebody who is dead and gone can be brought back alive, unfortunately, to be the Prime Minister, I can understand! That apart, what did Dr. Rajendra Prasad say? I am quoting this and ending, Sir. Dr. Rajendra Prasad, in his address, hailing that we adopted this Constitution, says, “After all, a Constitution, like a machine, is a lifeless thing.”

SHRI SITARAM YECHURY (CONTD.): “…It acquires life because of the men who control it and operate it. India needs today nothing more than a set of honest men who will have the interest of the country before them.” I am sure when Dr. Rajendra Prasad and Dr. Ambedkar talked about ‘men’, they included the ‘women’ also. So, please don’t take offence; I am sure, at that time, women were also part of it. “There is a fissiparous tendency arising out of various elements in our life”, said Dr. Rajendra Prasad on November 26, 1949. He said, “We have communal differences, caste differences, language differences, provincial differences and so forth. It requires men of strong character, men of vision, men who will not sacrifice the interests of the country at large for the sake of smaller groups and areas and who will rise over the prejudices which are born out of these differences. We can only hope that the country will throw up such men in abundance.” Is that the case? I rest my case by asking you the question. What are we seeing today? Have we produced such men in abundance? If not, I think it is time to correct the notion. If you want to do actual reaffirmation to our Constitution and pay our homage to Dr. Ambedkar, …(Interruptions)…

MR. DEPUTY CHAIRMAN: Okay.

SHRI SITARAM YECHURY: Please don’t okay me here, Sir, you will also be a part of it. All of us will have to sincerely pay homage to this, and that is what we need to do. Thank you, very much for giving me time. (Ends)

Related posts

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: