Posted On April 23, 2023

A few days ago, we had introduced you to such a personality related to the making of the constitution, whom the father of the constitution, ‘Dr. Bhimrao Ambedkar’ used to describe better than himself. And his name was Swami Alladi Krishnaswami Iyer. We can never forget the contribution of this personality in making the constitution. But we have just told about the contribution of only the men involved in the drafting committee formed for constitution making. In fact, only 15 women were included in the total 389 members of the drafting committee constituted for constitution making. But do you know that out of these 15 women, there was only one young woman from the Dalit community, whose name was Dakshinayani Velayudan..

By: Shashank Dubey.

To become a member of a woman in the Constituent Assembly was a great title in itself. That too at a time when casteism was completely dominant in the Indian society, what to say about the social status of women. At that time, joining the Constituent Assembly was a big achievement for the women’s society, for those women who had difficulty even getting out of the house.

Youngest member of Constituent Assembly

Born in 1912 in Mulavukad, a small island in Kochi, Dakshayini Velayudan’s personal and political life was deeply influenced by the rampant caste system that existed in the then Kerala. Velayudhan belonged to the Pulaya community, which is considered to be one of the earliest communities in the state of Kerala.

Pulaya community was a victim of severe untouchability

Ashley Mathew, in his research paper ‘Labor Participation and Social Mobility Among the Pulaya Women of Rural Kerala’, has mentioned that, “The Pulaya community was a victim of severe untouchability prevailing in the Indian society before independence. Due to social restrictions, most of the people belonging to this community mainly worked as daily wage laborers in the fields for their livelihood.

For the family, ‘Dakshayini’ was no less than ‘Maa Durga’

  At the time when Dakshayini was born, protests against this unconstitutional caste system and untouchability like untouchability had started in the Kerala society. Social reformers like Ayyankali had started raising their voice towards the upliftment of the previous community like Pulaya, although the destination was not so easy that they took a step and entered the house.

But in a society in which the life of the majority becomes haram, it was certain that rebellion would flare up in that society. Referring to this in her autobiography, Dakshayini writes that, ‘I was not born in a poor Pulaya family. Of my five siblings, my father loved and supported me the most.

The result of his love and support was that Dakshayini. Who became the first Dalit woman of her era, who started wearing upper body clothes, while before her the women of Pulaya community did not wear body clothes. Along with this, she also became the first Dalit woman graduate of India.

She wrote in her autobiography that, “Where other Dalit girls used to have strange names like Ajaki, Pumala, Chakki, Kali, Kurumba, her parents named her Dakshinayini, which means ‘bright’. ‘Kanya’ means ‘Durga’. This shows that his family did not believe in the conservative ideology of the society. Rather believed in such an ideology which talks about giving equal rights and respect to all.

When voice was raised for Dalit rights

In the year 1942, Dakshinayini was nominated for the Cochin Assembly seat and three years later, in 1946, she was elected as the first and only Dalit woman member of the Constituent Assembly. He believed that ‘any Constituent Assembly not only creates the constitution, but it also creates a new outlook of the society.’

Dakshinayini, a staunch supporter of Mahatma Gandhi, was a staunch opponent of untouchability and social discrimination. He believed that “when such beliefs will prevail in the society, till then it is meaningless to even talk about Gandhi’s concept of ‘Harijan’”. Dakshinayini openly opposed such things prevalent not only in her community but in every caste and community.

The result of his protest was that Section-17 was added to the constitution, under which untouchability was considered a punishable offense. While leaving, let us tell you that Dakshinayani was the president of ‘Depressed Classes Youth’s Fine Arts Club’ from 1946-49 and was also the editor of The Common Man in Madras. After this she became the founder president of Mahila Jagriti Parishad. He breathed his last in the year 1978 at the age of 66.

Shashank is a dedicated writer who loves to write on any subject. He has a good hold on history, politics, foreign and national news. He has a total experience of 2 years in web and TV. Shashank works as a writer for Nedrick News

Courtesy: Nedrick News.