Post Mortem

On 65th Death Anniversary of Bharat Ratna Dr. B.R. Ambedkar

By Nagaland Post | Publish Date: 12/5/2021 2:58:47 PM IST

 Ever since life existed in the Earth, man has had to work for daily bread. He must earn his living by the sweat of his brow for his survival. In regard to his daily life earning, luxury, comforts are the terms that are very far from for certain section of the people. The working class people, the labour, whose hands are deals with harmful machines, chemicals, whose life is haunted by insecurity and future for them is like any other day. In this scenario of life, we can still hope for better life, as because some great man has sacrificed their life and worked for development of degraded communities including women in India. Dr.B.R.Ambedkar, who was the pioneer in the field of welfare of Indian Labour- the working and social security. He was a social thinker, a humanist, a fighter and a social reformer. He fought for the down-trodden classes of society including women.

For the Indian women’s movement, Babasaheb Ambedkar provides a powerful source of inspiration to formulate a feminist political agenda which simultaneously addresses the issues of class, caste and gender. Babasaheb Ambedkar saw women as the victims of the oppressive, caste-based and rigid hierarchical social system. He believed that socio-cultural forces artificially construct gender relations, especially by Manusmriti and Hindu religion. He wants to improve the condition of women in the Indian society. Hindu Code Bill was proposed by him is a demand for more equal status for women in marriage, divorce, adaption practices, inheritance and property ownership. The women under his leadership participated in the five year long Nasik Satyagraha to enter the Kalaram Temple from 1930-1935. On December 25, 1927 Dr. Ambedkar decided to burn the Manusmriti written by Manu, in which Manu has denied equal human rights to women. The Manusmriti limited the rights of untouchables and women. According to Manusmriti, a man of twenty four should marry a girl of eight years. He observes in the law book of Manu that the killing of women is like the drinking of liquor, a minor offence. It was equated with killing of Sudra. In spite the efforts made by Dr. Ambedkar to provide social justice to down-trodden and weaker sections including women, women have been pushed into the funeral pyre of their husbands. They could not hold property, were sexually assaulted, denied right to education and were always treated as inferior to man. The retention of male and destruction of female foetus after sex, a woman continues even after the birth of a female child and ends with her death. Undue harassment which may even lead to the death of women for bringing insufficient dowry is another aspect of life where women has been denied equality liberty for which Dr. Ambedkar fought through out his life. Dr. Ambedkar’s efforts to uplift women have proved futile because even today women is not considered the owner of her body as in case she wants to get her pregnancy terminated, it is the husband or the laws who decide whether the fetus should be flushed out or not. The social prescription of Dr. Ambedkar education, organization and agitation was well suited to women as it was to the down-trodden. The position of women not being much different from the down-trodden, their mental and physical inhibitions being similar, and their symptoms being the same, their diagnosis and treatment could not be different. The movement of Babasaheb for the uplift of the down-trodden gave a fillip to women’s liberation too. 

Abortion was narrowly allowed under the Indian Penal Code. Dr. Ambedkar had opined that attempts at abortion, resorted to for the prevention of unwanted progeny, exacted a heavy toll of female lives. Moreover, under Indian Penal Code miscarriage was treated as crime. This stand coincided with Dr. Ambedkar’s view that abortion cost female lives.

Liberalization of abortion under the Medical Termination of Pregnency Act, 1971 (reffered to as M.T.P.Act) is one of such step leading to the recognition of liberty and equality of women for which Babasaheb Ambedkar had striven throughout his life. Now under M.T.P. Act women have been given the right to get her unwanted pregnancy terminated. The consent of the women is to be recorded on the prescribed form under Medical Termination Rules before terminating her pregnancy. By this arrangement the individuality of women has been recognized relating to the termination of Pregnency. Women is given right to exercise her consent under section 3(4)(b) of the M.T.P. Act whether to get her pregnancy terminated. This is the consonance with the views of Dr. Ambedkar. 

Dr. Ambedkar was propounded the “Labour Charter” in the Viceroy’s Executive Council on 2nd September, 1945, which was because the basis and guiding principle of the labour welfare schemes in this country. He was so sincere and serious in this cause that be even fought against the two Viceroys, Lord Wavell and Lord Linlithgo, even during the days of the great world war. He was the Labour Member of the Viceroy Executive Council from 1942-1946. Although, he was in office only for about four years, the period could not be removed from the pages of history of Labour Legislation and Labour welfare.

It was during his period, is playing such Tripartite Approach, which today, is playing such an important role in the evaluation of labour policy and formulation of scheme emerged and took institutional schemes. Speaking at the Tripartite Labour Conference held under his chairmanship, at New Delhi 7th August, 1942. He said “It was for the first time in the history of these Labour Conferences that the representatives of the employees and employers have been brought face to face within the ambit of a joint conference.”

It was during his tenure that the Factories Act was amended to ensure holiday with pay and shorter hours of work, Indian Mines Act and Mines Benefit Act were amended to provide larger benefits and better facilities. We knew, Coal Industry occupies a very important place in the national economy of the country. During the Second World War, there was a decling trend in coal output, due to runaway of the colliery workers to war industries in the vicinity where the Government of India took quite a few unpleasant steps. It was for the lean on underground employment of women in CP and Brar on 2nd and 18th August and in Bihar, Bengal and Orissa on 29th November and 4th December, 1943. It was first imposed on 7th March 1929. But, on the persistence insistence of Dr. Ambedkar the lean was reimposed on 1st February, 1946. 

The Government of India promulgated the Coal Mines Labour Welfare Fund Ordinance on 31st January, 1944 for instituting a fund to finance the welfare activities for the colliery workers. It marks the beginning of a new era in Labour Legislation. Later on, the Ordinance was replaced by the Coal Mines Labour Welfare Fund Act, 1947.

Broadly speaking, a separate housing of colliery workers, are financed from housing account and measures for General welfare such as medical facilities, water supply, education, recreation and cooperation from the General Welfare Account.

During Dr. Ambedkar’s tenure as Labour Member, the Industrial Employment Bill was introduced in the Central Assembly on 8th April, 1946. The Industrial Employment Standing orders are very important measures. By defining the terms and conditions of employment they eliminate friction between employers and their workers.

Dr. Ambedkar said, “The object of the Bill is to have the terms and conditions of employment reduced to writing that the terms and conditions should be certified by a competent officer appointed for that purpose and that it should form a shot of register of what the terms and conditions of employment are in any particular establishment.”

He also emphasized on the measures for social security, when assured charge of the Labour Department. Indeed, the Labour Investigation Committee referred to earlier pointed out in its conclusion that the Indian worker was exposed equally, if not more, to various risks especially unemployment, sickness and death of the bread earner as his counterpart in other countries. The committee regretted that the question of providing security to the worker against such risks had received the least attention so far in this country.

Dr. Ambedkar believed the Hindu Society needed a wholesome radical change, instead of blaming a man for the religious customs observed by him, which would have been a futile exercise; he adopted the wise course of educating society in the principles and values of democracy. “To agitate for and to organize inter-caste dinners and inter-marriages is like forced feeding brought about by artificial means. 

Why does Dr. B. R. Ambedkar give more preference for SCs and STs rather than BC and OBC in the constitution of India?

Dr Bhimrao Ambedkar never gave more preference to any community. The irony of our nation is that still people haven’t understand the real motto or real deal behind reservation and reservation was never implemented by Bhimrao Ambedkar neither OBC SC or ST category were made by Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar. Reservation were firstly introduced in 1931 which was just carried forward in 1950. OBC category was introduced after Mandal recommendation during 80’s. The biggest myth surrounding Dr. Ambedkar is that he used to hate Uppercaste. But if he used to hate them so much than he wouldn’t have married Brahmin lady Savita Ambedkar whose maiden name was Sharda kabir. Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar said

 “I knew that I was an untouchable, and that untouchables were subjected to certain indignities and discriminations. For instance, I knew that in the school I could not sit in the midst of my classmates according to my rank [in class performance], but that I was to sit in a corner by myself.” 

(To be Concluded...)

Dr. Kulendra Patni Ambedkar

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