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INDIA NEEDS A NEW CONSTITUTION
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INDIA NEEDS A NEW CONSTITUTION

By Milap Choraria

Even after 57 years of Independence we Indians believing that Indian Constitution was prepared by Dr. B. R. Ambedkar. But, what Dr. Ambedkar himself says is totally different and more authentic and important. On 2nd September 1953 he made a statement in the Rajya Sabha (Parliament) that "People always keep on saying to me, so you are the maker of the Constitution. My answer is I was a hack. What I was asked to, I did much against my will. I am quite prepared to say that I shall be the first person to burn it. It does not suit anybody." Now question is required to be answered that who asked to finish such job against his own will, and a job which does not suit anybody? The Chairman of the Constituent Assembly of India and 1st President of India Dr. Rajendra Prasad at the first instance also refused to sign the Constitution, after its completion, claiming that this Constitution cannot fulfill aspirations and requirement of the people and the nation and signed only after long persuasion. Some thing was hidden from the people by our then leaders, which we should try to find out from historical backgrounds.

British Prime Minister Winston Churchill viewed that the "Democracy is worst form of government except all those other forms that have been tried." I am of the firm views that before formulation of his views Churchill should have defined the meaning of the real Democracy. In my opinion "Any form of the so-called democracy should not be defined or called a "democracy", till following fundamental principles are not inserted in the system itself, with concrete mechanism for their implementation in real practical terms":-

  1. Truth shall prevails;
  2. Justice must be above all;
  3. Reins of the powers should be in the hands of the people;
  4. Unity, based on self reliance, self respect and self dependence amongst the people must be supreme objects;
  5. Each, including Constitutional Authority should be accountable before the law and system irrespective of his status or position;
  6. Justice delivery system should be easy, affordable and within reasonable time;
  7. In the Election mechanism value should be given to the Voters not to the Voting;
  8. Individualized Politics should not be allowed at any level and at any cost;
  9. Promotions in the Politicians should be based on experience, competency and performance;
  10. Distribution of the benefit of the progress and economical betterment of the country should be horizontal;
  11. System should not allow to found the ways to discriminate one to protect the powerful by skills or expertise.
  12. Each Individual should be kept away from the democratic process, if he does not obey these principles with the latter and sprit.

In India formulation of Mr. Churchill was proved when important Committee appointed by the Government of India Vohra Committee, admitted in its Report that lives and liberties of the individuals are at a stake and parallel government of Organized Mafia are running at every sphere of the life pushing government apparatus in to non-existence. From the Report this was very well clear that fundamental principles of democracy find place in the statute Books just for eye wash and in such a manner, that required results missed completely. In considerations of seriousness in issue, this may be necessary that A NEW CONSTITUTION FOR INDIA, must be invented, innovated and evolved upon application of which aspirations and requirement of the people and the nation on the long terms can be fulfilled. To justify it historical background behind the preparation of the Indian Constitution is important.

On March 11, 1942 British Prime Minister Winston Churchill made an announcement before the House of Commons regarding his plans to send Sir Stafford Cripps' Mission to India, from which at the first hand this was appears that Britain was honest generous to hand over the Freedom to India. But important question was arises to analyses that why Mahatma Gandhi was opposed the British Plan, with teeth and nail. Under his plan Churchill announced inter alia:

"The crisis in the affairs of India arising out of the Japanese advance has made us wish to rally all the forces of Indian life, to guard their land from the menace of the invader. In August, 1940, a full statement was made about the aims and policy we are pursuing in India. This amounted, in short, to a promise that, as soon as possible after the war, India should attain Dominion status, in full freedom and equality with this country and the other Dominions, under a Constitution to be framed by Indians, by agreement among themselves and acceptable to the main elements in Indian national life. This was, of course, subject to the fulfillment of our obligations for the protection of minorities, including the depressed classes, and of our treaty obligations to the Indian States, and to the settlement of certain lesser matters arising out of our long association with the fortunes of the Indian sub-continent."

Sir Stafford Cripps reviewed his negotiations with All-India Congress and made interalia a statement on Colombia Broadcasting System on 26th July 1942:

  • "I've always been a firm friend of India, and I've done my best in the past to work for the freedom of India. When I joined the British War Cabinet and found the British government anxious and willing to put forward a proposal for Indian self-government, I volunteered to travel the twenty thousand miles to India and back, to put the case directly to the Indian political leaders on behalf of the British government and people. We offered to the Indian people complete liberty, the moment the war was over, to devise and set up their own form of government. We suggested the broad outlines of how they should proceed, but there was no rigidity in those suggestions. It was left open to the various religions and races to agree upon some other method. But, to my regret, they neither accepted nor put forward any agreed alternative.
  • It was not these future arrangements, however, but the immediate situation which caused the Congress Party in India to reject the proposals. We offered the representative Indian political leaders immediate office in the Viceroy's executive council-a body of Ministers like those who advise your President. Mr. Gandhi has demanded that we should walk out of India, leaving the country filled with deep-rooted religious division and without any constitutional form of government or organized administration. No responsible government could take such a step, least of all in the midst of war.
  • The Moslems, of whom there are at least 80 million, are deeply opposed to Congress Party domination, as are also the tens of millions of depressed classes. To have agreed to the Congress Party's or Mr. Gandhi's demands would have meant inevitable chaos and disorder. This is not merely my assertion. It has been stated by Mr. Gandhi himself. Quite recently he has said: "Anarchy is the only way. Someone asked me if there would be anarchy after British rule. Yes, it will be there. But I tell the British to give us chaos."
  • India is now an essential and vital part of the world front against the Axis powers. There are British, American and Chinese forces, as well as Indians, fighting side by side to defend India against Japan. If the obligations of the British government to their American and Chinese allies are to be observed, we must insure that India remains a safe base in and from which to operate against the Japanese enemy. We cannot allow conditions to be created by any political party or leader in India which will jeopardize the safety of the United Nations' army and air forces or open the door to the advance of our enemies into this new and dangerous theatre of war. That is an obligation, not only to the British and American forces in India; it is our obligation to the Indian peoples. That's why your country and my country find themselves both intimately concerned with the condition of India at this moment. Your sons, as well as our sons, are helping to defend India and to wage war against the Japanese. Your policy, as well as our policy, is to defend India.
  • But Mr. Gandhi and the Congress Party have other views. Mr. Gandhi, I have always regarded with respect, as a great nationalist and religious leader, but I'm bound to say that in the present circumstances he is not showing himself to be practical or realistic. Certainly the action which he is now threatening-mass civil disobedience by his followers-is calculated to endanger both your war effort and our own and to bring the greatest aid and comfort to our common enemies. Mr. Gandhi's views are not always easy to follow or very consistent. Let me read you two of his recent statements:
  • "We do not want these Allied troops for our defense or protection. If luck favors us, the Japanese may see no reason to hold the country after the Allies are withdrawn." China would hardly appreciate that. Again Mr. Gandhi has said: "American aid amounts in the end to American influence, if not to American rule. Add it to the British. If the British left India to her fate, probably the Japanese would not leave India alone." These are solemn words. What do they amount to? Mr. Gandhi is not prepared to wait. He would rather jeopardize the freedom and the whole cause of the United Nations. He threatened the extremes of pressure in this most difficult hour to win political power for his own Party. There is not the slightest doubt that other large and powerful political parties in India are opposed to Mr. Gandhi's demands. I regret profoundly that he has adopted this attitude and I am sure that the Indian people as a whole do not support it. He may gain a measure of support from mass disobedience, but for the sake of India, as well as for the cause of the United Nations, it will be our duty to insist upon keeping India as a safe, orderly base for our joint operations against the Japanese. Whatever steps are necessary to that end, we must take them fearlessly.
  • Once victory is gained, India has been offered complete freedom to provide in whatever way she chooses for her own self-government. But that victory must first be gained. We cannot allow the actions of a visionary, however distinguished in his fight for freedom in the past, to thwart the United Nations' drive for victory in the East. The issues are too grave and too great for the whole world. American, Chinese, Indian, and British soldiers must not be sacrificed in their gallant struggle for the liberty of the world by political party maneuvering in India or in any other country. It is the interest of India that is at stake, as well as that of China, Britain and the United States.
  • I am sure that we in this country can rely on you to give us your understanding, your help and your support in doing whatever is necessary to maintain intact the front of the United Nations in India and to reopen the lifeline of our gallant allies, the Chinese."

In fact during the visit of Crisp Mission on 27th April 1942 Mahatma Gandhi presented one Draft to ask British Government to quite India, without any dictation with regards to future of the governance. But All India Congress Working Committee rejected it to favour amended version presented by Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru. This amended draft by Shri Jawahar Lal Nehru and approved by Congress Working Committee was released by the British Government and published in New York Times dated 5th August 1942:-

  • "Whereas the British War Cabinet proposals by Sir Stafford Cripps have shown up British imperialism in its nakedness as never before, the All-India Congress Committee has come to the following conclusions:

  • The committee is of the opinion that Britain is incapable of defending India. It is natural that whatever she does is for her own defense.

  • There is the eternal conflict between Indian and British interest. It follows that their notions of defense would also differ.

  • The British Government has no trust in India's political parties. The Indian Army has been maintained up till now mainly to hold India in subjugation. It has been completely segregated from the general population, who can in no sense regard it as their own. This policy of mistrust still continues, and is the reason why national defense is not entrusted to India's elected representatives.

  • Japan's quarrel is not with India. She is warring against the British Empire. India's participation in the war has not been with the consent of the representatives of the Indian people. It was purely a British act. If India were freed, her first step would probably be to negotiate with Japan.

  • The Congress is of the opinion that if the British withdrew from India, India would be able to defend herself in the event of the Japanese, or any aggressor, attacking India.

  • The committee is, therefore, of the opinion that the British should withdraw from India. The plea that they should remain in India for the protection of the Indian princes is wholly untenable. It is an additional proof of their determination to maintain their hold over India. The princes need have no fear from an unarmed India.

  • The question of majority and minority is the creation of the British Government, and would disappear on their withdrawal.

  • For all these reasons, the committee appeals to Britain, for the sake of her own safety, for the sake of India's safety and for the cause of world peace, to let go her hold on India, even if she does not give up all her Asiatic and African possessions.

  • This committee desires to assure the Japanese Government and people that India bears no enmity, either toward Japan or toward any other nation. India only desires freedom from all alien domination. But in this fight for freedom the committee is of the opinion that India, while welcoming universal sympathy, does not stand in need of foreign military aid.

  • India will attain her freedom through her non-violent strength, and will retain it likewise. Therefore, the committee hopes that Japan will not have any designs on India. But if Japan attacks India, and Britain makes no response to its appeal, the committee will expect all those who look to the Congress for guidance to offer complete non-violent non-cooperation to the Japanese forces, and not to render any assistance to them. It is no part of the duty of those who are attacked to render any assistance to the attacker. It is their duty to offer complete non-cooperation.

  • It is not difficult to understand the simple principle of nonviolent non-cooperation:

  • First, we may not bend the knee to an aggressor, or obey any of his orders.

  • Second, we may not look to him for any favors nor fall to his bribes, but we may not bear him any malice nor wish him ill.

  • Third, if he wishes to take possession of our fields we will refuse to give them up, even if we have to die in an effort to resist him.

  • Fourth, if he is attacked by disease, or is dying of thirst and seeks our aid, we may not refuse it.

  • Fifth, in such places where British and Japanese forces are fighting, our non-cooperation will be fruitless and unnecessary.

  • At present, our non-cooperation with the British Government is limited. Were we to offer them complete non-cooperation when they are actually fighting, it would be tantamount to bringing our country deliberately into Japanese hands.

  • Therefore, not to put any obstacle in the way of the British forces will often be the only way of demonstrating our non-cooperation with the Japanese.
  • Neither may we assist the British in any active manner. If we can judge from their recent attitude, the British Government do not need any help from us beyond our non-interference. They desire our help only as slaves.

  • It is not necessary for the committee to make a clear declaration in regard to a scorched-earth policy. If, in spite of our nonviolence, any part of the country falls into Japanese hands, we may not destroy our crops or water supply, etc., if only because it will be our endeavor to regain them. The destruction of war material is another matter, and may, under certain circumstances, be a military necessity. But it can never be the Congress policy to destroy what belongs, or is of use, to the masses.

  • Whilst non-cooperation against the Japanese forces will necessarily be limited to a comparatively small number, and must succeed if it is complete and genuine, true building up of swaraj [self-government] consists in the millions of India wholeheartedly working for a constructive program. Without it, the whole nation cannot rise from its age-long torpor.

  • Whether the British remain or not, it is our duty always to wipe out our unemployment, to bridge the gulf between the rich and the poor, to banish communal strife, to exorcise the demon of untouchability, to reform the Dacoits [armed bandits] and save the people from them. If scores of people do not take a living interest in this nation-building work, freedom must remain a dream and unattainable by either non-violence or violence.

  • Foreign soldiers: The committee is of the opinion that it is harmful to India's interests, and dangerous to the cause of India's freedom, to introduce foreign soldiers in India. It therefore appeals to the British Government to remove these foreign legions, and henceforth stop further introduction. It is a crying shame to bring foreign troops in, in spite of India's inexhaustible man power, and it is proof of the immorality that British imperialism is."

Only thereafter, on 9th August 1942, "Quite India Movement" was pronounced. But, from aforesaid historical facts one thing is ample clear that there were basic differences between Mahatma Gandhi and Jawahar Lal Nehru whether Britain should Quite India without any hunky-bunky, or should transfer the powers with some kind of hiding allegiance to Britain.

However facts, remains that in 1946 Constituent Assembly was constituted on the basis of agreement between the Cabinet Mission and Congress Working Committee. After successful journey of the Cabinet Mission, and follow up action of constituting the Constituent Assembly in India, based on elected representative from Religion Electoral Constituencies, and Interim Government under Prime Minister-ship of Shri Jawahar Lal Nehru, in January 1947, the British Prime Minister announced in British Parliament about his Government's decision to left from India, in June 1948. When Constituent Assembly was constituted there were no plan of the division of India, and Constitution was prepared by undivided India, for undivided India, though Constituent Assembly was unrepresented by certain constituencies, which covers present Pakistan and Bangladesh, because of opposition from Muslim League.

Now we are seeing the results of the Indian Constitution. Society is divided on the various counts. Constitution failed to ensure at least even starting point of journey towards achievements of its own preamble. In fact Constitution adopted in it the Law enacted by the British Government in India namely the Government of India Act, 1935 which was improved version of original law enacted in 1860 after 1857 revolt, to Rule India and Indians by causing divisions amongst people of India. Today’s Indian Politics is completely based on those principles of divisions amongst people. Therefore, India needed a new Constitution which can ensure implementation of the aforesaid principles of the democracy through concrete mechanism and in real practical terms.

In fact aforesaid historical background suggests that Indian Constitution is not prepared considering the need of India and Indians, rather prepared under the impact of amended version of the British Plan subsequently submitted in 1946 by the Cabinet Mission and accepted by the Congress Working Committee. After acceptance of such plan Mahatma Gandhi was just informed. Now this is very important question whether the departure of Britain from India was constitutes as transfer of the powers keeping some extent of allegiance to it under hiding, or Britain quite India without hiding anything. Now Britain and India should agree to publish all the facts relating to the aforesaid plans of the British Cabinet Mission?

(MILAP CHORARIA)

Convenor : Movement for Accountability to Public (MAP)

Freelance Columnist: For several DAILY Newspapers in India

Post Box No. 2690,

Delhi-110005

(INDIA)

Milap_choraria@yahoo.com

Mobile: 91-011-20036132

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TRUTH SHALL PREVAILS