New Delhi, October 13: It’s a pretty safe assumption that BR Ambedkar would have ‘disapproved’ of and been ‘fairly critical’ of the idea that political leadership should come through inheritance rather than elections or other forms of merit. , Senior Congressman Shashi Tharoor said Thursday.
Tharoor, who is up against his party colleague Mallikarjun Kharge in the Congress presidential election, was speaking at the Nehru Memorial Museum and Library here at the launch of his new book ‘Ambedkar: A life’.
For someone who “has never been convinced by the logic of the caste system, he would not have accepted the principle of family inheritance anyway in politics or elsewhere,” said the Lok Sabha MP from Thiruvananthapuram about Ambedkar.
“…Although he (Ambedkar) did not write about it, I can tell you that it is a fairly safe assumption that he would have disapproved of and been quite critical of the idea that the political leadership should go through inheritance rather than election or other forms of merit,” Tharoor said when asked about Ambedkar’s views on state parties concentrating power in the hands of the respective first families.
The book launch, moderated by the author himself, had former Supreme Court Justice (retired) Madan B Lokur, former Rajya Sabha MP Bhalchandra Mungekar and lawyer Karuna Nundy as speaking panelists of the life and times of Ambedkar.
Congratulating Ambedkar for the outstanding job he did in drafting the Constitution, Justice (Retired) Lokur highlighted the amount of work done by Ambedkar “alone”, the other members of the drafting committee did not having not been able to give him the needed help with the job.
“One person died, one person was sent on a mission to America, two others were given other duties elsewhere in India. So he was left alone to do it. And he did a wonderful job, not because he took care of everything, but also because he consulted a lot of people,” said Justice (Retired) Lokur, who is currently a Justice of the Supreme Court of Fiji.
There were seven members in the Constitution Drafting Committee — BR Ambedkar, Alladi Krishnaswami Ayyar, N Gopalaswami, KM Munshi, Mohammad Saadulla, BL Mitter and DP Khaitan.
Ambedkar was elected chairman of the editorial board at their first meeting on August 30, 1947.
“…Yes, there were few drafts that existed. The Government of India Act 1935, which was a sort of basis, and Sir Benegal Rau had also worked on the Constitution before going to the International Court of Justice. But in reality, the workings of the constitution were written by Ambedkar,” he explained.
Published by Aleph, “Ambedkar: A Life” claims to offer readers a new and profound understanding of the father of the Indian constitution.
Speaking about the book, Tharoor said there is undoubtedly drama and suffering in the life of Ambedkar – the son of an untouchable subedar in the cantonment town of Mhow – but far more “consequent is the weight of his writings, speeches and interventions in the public debates of his time”.
“…It is the story of the rise of a man of ideas, illustrated with many quotations from his writings and speeches, and not of a man of physical adventure,” he wrote in the introduction to his book.