December 09, 2015

Hindutva agenda is being revived - Sitaram Yechury

Business Standard

Hindutva agenda is being revived
Article 47 says, "The State shall regard the raising of the level of nutrition and the standard of living."

Sitaram Yechury December 5, 2015 Last Updated at 21:28 IST

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The Constitution 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 justiciable 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 a 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 your actual motive is.

Here in the section on Fundamental Duties that are supposed to be enforceable - you please look at the 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 the honourable 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 is what you want 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 only of religion, race, caste, sex, place of birth or any of them." This is Article 15, Fundamental Rights. He says, "Articles 29 and 30 are in contradiction."

Sir, any lawyer would know, any right always comes with what are called reasonable restrictions. I hope, Mr Parasaran is here; there is no right, which does not come with 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 the honourable home minister is saying that secularism is the word that was injected into the Constitution, and, therefore, that is the cause of all problems. It 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 November 25, which the honourable 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..." honourable 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. 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 second time - after all the instances he gave, which was quoted by the leader - will be put in 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, that is, raise ourselves against this sort of intolerance. This is the same Ambedkar in the same speech.

Excepts from a speech by Communist Party of India (Marxist) MP Sitaram Yechury in the Rajya Sabha, on November 27, at a discussion on commitment to India's Constitution as part of the 125th birth anniversary celebration of Dr B R Ambedkar