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Mainstream, VOL LVII No 51 New Delhi December 7, 2019

A Letter to B.R. Ambedkar

Sunday 8 December 2019

by Inamul Haq

The following letter has been written in a competition organised by the Department of Social Sciences, Central University of Gujarat on Constitution Day (November 26, 2019). It was awarded the first prize.

Jai Bhim!

I do not know how to start this letter. As you are the father of the Indian Constitution, I have so many questions regarding my basic rights that are not being fulfilled. Babasaheb, you took a lot of difficulties in framing the Constitution, borrowing fundamental rights and duties from other Constitutions of the world. While framing it, the Constitution became the book of every individual irrespective of religion, caste, colour and creed. Babasaheb, today, I am going to question you about the caste, class, religion, because these things will remain dominant in our society.

You know well the case of Rohith Vemula, a Ph.D candidate from Hyderabad Central University, who wrote his last words that when equality is denied, everything is denied, and my birth is a fatal incident. This is not one case in this country, where students are being forced to commit suicide in the name of caste and religion. The crime of Rohith Vemula was that he belonged to a lower caste. Recently, a bright student of IIT Madras, Fathima Lathief, was also forced to give up her life and in her phone note, it was found that she was being harassed in the name of religion. Her last words were: “My name itself is a problem.” Babasaheb, you have worked too much, but I think, you must rise again and fight for this opium that divides us in name, identity, region and so on. Babasaheb, who created this caste and if he created what kind of similarities and differences he found in upper and lower castes?

Babasaheb, the Constitution that you provided to this country has it been buried slowly and slowly by the present fascist government? They murdered the real meaning of democracy and democracy remains only as a headline. The power-hunger reached so much that with tax money, political parties are doing horse-trading in order to form governments. With tax money, the Prime Minister is visiting foreign countries, enjoying mushroom dishes and aam ka ras. However, when the students protest against the fee hike, they are levelling charges like sedition and well-wishers of politicians are calling such institutions as anti-national, hub of sex rackets and urban Naxalities. Why is there no space for dissent?

Babasaheb, in this country why is a Kashmiri treated as a second-class citizen, why are people caged? Where are our rights that you granted like liberty, right to life and right to law? Why are we being pushed into a state of exception and a state of liminality? The State of Kashmir was connected with India through Article 370. Instead of consulting the representatives of the Kashmiri people the present government created such panic in the Valley, that terrified everyone. On August 5, 2019, Article 370 was abrogated unconstitutionally. Besides that, on the same day till date seven million Kashmiris have been caged. Babasaheb, what is their crime, being Muslims or something else? The communication and internet links were uspended. Schools and other institutions were closed. Babasaheb, definitely you have to wake up again in this country. Otherwise, we will be increasingly more colonised.

The author is a Ph.D candidate, Centre of Gandhian Thought and Peace Studies, School of Social Sciences, Central University of Gujarat, Gandhinagar.

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