*in the 1940's*
 

CORRIDORS OF POWER, AND THE CONSTITUTION

Dr. Ambedkar was now lecturing and writing constantly, and was heavily involved in politics. With Independence (and Partition), he joined Nehru's cabinet as India's first Minister of Law, and became the Chairman of the Drafting Committee for the Constitution. Framing the Constitution and guiding it through to adoption was his greatest political achievement.

xx

==1940==  In December, Dr. Ambedkar published the first edition of his *"Thoughts on Pakistan"*. In this work he argued that though partition would be an unfortunate thing, it wouldn't be the worst possible outcome, and if the Muslims wanted it they had a perfect right to claim it.
==1942==  He founded his second political party, the All-India Scheduled Castes Federation, which didn't do so well in the elections of 1946. (--*Kadam*, p.115)
==1942==  Dr. Ambedkar was inducted into the Viceroy's Executive Council as Labour Member, a position which he held until his resignation in June 1946. His thoughtful comments in that forum cover *various topics* (see #6.). (--*Kadam*, p.115)
==1942==  Congress started the "Quit India" movement (discussion: *Abul Kalam Azad*; *Gandhi's original draft resolution*; *Sir Stafford Cripps's reply*; *The Hindu, August 1942*; *Manas*). Dr. Ambedkar severely criticized this move. He described it as "both irresponsible and insane, a bankruptcy of statesmanship and a measure to retrieve the Congress prestige that had gone down since the war started. It would be madness, he said, to weaken law and order art a time when the barbarians were at the gates." (--*Keer*, p. 354.)
==1943==  On January 19th he delivered the Presidential Address on the occasion of the 101st birth anniversary of Justice Mahadev Govind Ranade. It was published in book form in April, under the title *"Ranade, Gandhi, and Jinnah"*.
==1943==  In September he also prepared and published the vigorous memorandum, *"Mr. Gandhi and the Emancipation of the Untouchables"*.
==1944==  On January 29th, he presided over the second meeting of the Scheduled Caste Federation, in Kanpur; here is a report, sixty years later, by *Maren Bellwinkel-Schempp*.
==1945==  In February, he published a revised version of "Thoughts on Pakistan"; this second, expanded edition was called *"Pakistan; or Partition of India"*. A third edition of this book was published in 1946.
==1945==  On May 6th he addressed the Annual Conference of the All India Scheduled Caste Federation, held at Parel, Bombay. This speech was soon published as *"The Communal Deadlock and a Way to Solve It"*.
==1945==  In June, he published a political manifesto detailing the problems of dealing with Congress, and accusing it of many acts of betrayal: *"What Congress and Gandhi Have Done to the Untouchables"*. The next year, he published a second edition, with *major revisions in one chapter*.
==1946==  In June, he founded Siddharth College, in Bombay; it was a project of the People's Education Society, which he had founded in 1945. (--*Kadam*, pp. 116-17)
==1946==  In October, he published *"Who Were the Shudras? How They Came to Be the Fourth Varna in the Indo-Aryan Society"*. He dedicated the book to the great early reformer Jotiba Phule (*site*).
==1947==  In March he published *"States and Minorities: What Are their Rights and How to Secure them in the Constitution of Free India"*, a memorandum on fundamental rights, minority rights, safeguards for the Depressed Classes, and the problems of Indian states.
==1947==  INDEPENDENCE and Partitioncame in August; Dr. Ambedkar accepted Nehru's invitation to become Minister of Law in the first Cabinet of independent India. On August 29th he was appointed Chairman of the Drafting Committee for the new Constitution.
==1948==  In the last week of February, the Draft Constitution was submitted for public discussion and debate: *Constitutional discussions and debates* (see #7).
==1948==  On April 15th, Dr. Ambedkar married Dr. Sharda Kabir (a Saraswat Brahmin) in Delhi; she adopted the name Savita. He was now diabetic and increasingly ill, and she took care of him for the rest of his life.
==1948==  In October, he prepared a memorandum on *"Maharashtra as a Linguistic Province"*, expressing his views for submission to the Linguistic Provinces Commission.
==1948==  He published *"The Untouchables: a Thesis on the Origin of Untouchability"*(New Delhi: Amrit Book Company), as a sequel to his book on the Shudras. As always on this subject, he wrote with passion. In the Preface he said, "The Hindu Civilisation.... is a diabolical contrivance to suppress and enslave humanity. Its proper name would be infamy. What else can be said of a civilisation which has produced a mass of people... who are treated as an entity beyond human intercourse and whose mere touch is enough to cause pollution?"
==1948==  In November, the Draft *Constitution* with its 315 articles and 8 schedules was formally introduced to the Constituent Assembly. Dr. Ambedkar concluded his speech: "I feel that the Constitution is workable; it is flexible and it is strong enough to hold the country together both in peace time and in war time. Indeed, if I may say so, if things go wrong under the new Constitution the reason will not be that we had a bad Constitution. What we will have to say is that Man was vile." (--*Keer*, p.410.)
==1949==  In November, the Constituent Assembly adopted the Constitution, including Article 17, which formally abolished untouchability.
== on to the 1950's ==

 

  -- TIMELINE page -- Dr. Ambedkar index page -- FWP's main page --