Constituent Assembly Of India -Volume IX
Dated: September 05, 1949
Shri Lakshminarayan Sahu (Orissa: General) : *[Mr. President, I have worked among the aboriginals and as such I would like to make some observations regarding the provisions that are going to be included in the Draft Constitution in respect of the Adibasis.
I. would like to point out that it has not been clearly stated as to who, are to be included in the terms 'Scheduled tribes'. We should duly consider which tribes should be included in this term. We have used the term 'scheduled areas' and in respect of this term also we should duly consider as to what areas should be included in it. Under the proposed article the President will have the powers to declare as to what areas are covered by-the term 'Scheduled areas.' It will not be proper to vest this power in the President. As has been suggested by my Friend Mr. Shibban Lal Saksena, this power should belong to the Parliament. If this power is not vested in the Parliament, there may arise strong agitation when the areas are re-distributed. Therefore, I submit that this power should be vested, not in the President, but in the Parliament.
I would like to submit one thing with regard to the 'Tribal Advisory Council. It is true we are going to constitute a Tribal Advisory Council consisting of 20 members, three-fourths of whom will be taken from the tribal people, but there is no mention as to who will be taken in for the remaining one-fourth of, the places. I want that this one-fourth should consist of representatives of the organisations that are working in these areas. Almost all the Governors win be aware of the requirements of the Tribal people. Some may argue that some of the organisations that are working in these areas belong, some to Christians and some to Hindus, and that it may lead to evil consequences. In my opinion there need not be-any fear of this. The organisations that are working in these areas have done and are still doing much good work for the welfare of the aboriginals. And moreover the final authority is going to be vested in the Governor. In view of all these considerations, representatives of the organisations that are working in these areas should be taken in the Advisory Council for the remaining one-fourth of the places.
Some problems may arise in future in regard to the Scheduled tribes and I may point out in this connection that many of the tribes that have been
*Translation of Hindustani Speech recorded as scheduled tribes are politically very advanced. For example, in Orissa there are two tribes named 'Dambi' and 'Pani' who are politically quite advanced. They have been included in scheduled tribes. When we take up the question of that area, we should exclude them from the scheduled tribes. Otherwise the scheduled tribes-or the 'Adibasis' will not be able to benefit from the provisions that we are including in the Constitution for their welfare. Therefore, I suggest that the 'Dambi' and 'Pani' tribes of Orissa, should be excluded in due course from the scheduled tribes. We cannot get any indication from the provisions of this schedule as to what would be the character of the rules framed for the administrations of these areas and tribes. This creates some misgivings in my mind. would suggest that it should be made clear by Dr. Ambedkar by an amendment that, as provided in a previous article which states that "provided that where such Acts relates to any of the following subjects, that is to say marriage, inheritance of property and social customs of the tribes etc., etc." the rules also would not be making any change in regard to marriage, inheritance of property and social customs.
Lastly, I submit that their life is gradually changing. There is a tribe in Orissa known as "Shabar Tribes"; formerly they were Adibasis, but now they have adopted the Hindu way of life and have become Hindus. Some of the customs of the aboriginals have crept into Hinduism and some of the useful customs of the Hindus have found place, in the life. of aboriginals. This interchange is gradually going on among Hindu and aboriginals. 'If a few non-aboriginals are not included in the Advisory Council, it may develop a belief among the Adibasis that they are separate from us and in course of time, it may be develop separatist tendencies among them. Perhaps this amendment, that the provisions will operate only for ten years, has been moved in view of these considerations. I think we should not bother about the period, whether it be ten years or twenty years, for the Adibasis are so backward that the period of ten years prescribed here may be safely extended to twenty years. We need not worry about this. The main thing that we should be anxious about is that we do not forcibly bring them into our fold. Some of us advocate that we should force them to come into our fold. It is very improper. It is only by a gradual process of creating closer relations that they should be absorbed amongst us.
With these words I conclude my observations.]
Babu Ramnarayan Singh (Bihar: General) : Mr. President, Sir, I shall not take much time of the House, because I am keeping generally silent these days. My honourable Friend Babu Brajeshwar Prasad is very fond of Central administration' I ask him to study the situation obtaining in centrally 'administered areas and for that he will not have to go far....
Mr. President: That remark need not taken seriously because he has not moved any of his amendments of which he has given notice.
Babu Ramnarayan Singh: Thank you, Sir. I think he should study the situation here in Delhi Where there is a Central Government and where he himself lives and he should go and see how the administration is going on here in Delhi itself. Sir, I have come only to remind you, the Honourable House and the whole country as regards this subject, of our previous commitments, acts and advocacy; it is under the instruction of our Indian National Congress that we have all along advocated in the Central Legislature that there should be no discriminatory administration in any part of our country. We wanted that there ought to be one and one administration only in every part of the country. We were ashamed of such things as backward tract or excluded area or partially areas. Now, Sir, it pains me and I think it must be paining everybody in this country to find that we have begun to do things nowagainst which we have, protested so long during the British rule. During the British rule, we did not want that there should be such a thing as backward tracts or excluded areas, but now we are going to have such a thing as a Scheduled area. There will be administration different from that in other parts of the country. During the period of British rule here they kept the area separate from other areas so far as administration went, but they did nothing for the real benefit of the people. I thank the Missionaries,the Christian Missionaries who have done a lot of improvement to the people,
Here, I must say one thing; I should not be misunderstood as speaking against anything that the people of the backward areas may require, may demand. I wish they should have all they demand. I know and everybody knows that there are backward people in every part of the country, in every village, in every town, even in the city of Delhi. The remedy does not lie m separating one part or area and doing something here and there. I know that the Government will not be able to do much by separating any part of the country as a scheduled area or anything like that. As it was said during the days of the British rule, there are certain people in the country, as honourable Members know, who require special treatment. Let the Government bind themselves to do three or four things. Let the Government educate all the children of the aboriginal people and other backward people in this country entirely at the cost of the Government. This education should also include military training. After having imparted education, let these people. be given preference in Government appointments. Next, I suggest let the Government give every aboriginal man and every backward people some land. Having done all these things, then, I feel there will be no distinction in social status, the people will have their own way and the general level of the well-being of the people will be one, and there will be no such thing as backward people or aboriginal people.
Then, Sir, there is one thing. What is our aspiration for the future ? Our aspiration is this. Unfortunately, the country has been divided into so many classes and communities. We should proceed in such a way that all the different communities may vanish and we may have one nation, the Indian nation. If we proceed as the British did, with this class and that class, with this. area and that, we shall fail in the future. I am glad that this amendment of Dr. Ambedkar is less pernicious. I have not much to say against this or the original provisions. But, I feel that such a thing should not have come up for discussion in this House.
Shri Jadubans Sahay (Bihar: General) : Mr. President, Sir, I have taken my stand here in order to congratulate Dr. Ambedkar and those associated with him for having brought about this redrafted Schedule V. I congratulate them because Schedule V as originally drafted was too rigid as has been observed by Dr. Ambedkar.
The problem, or rather the treatment of the problem of the tribal people is a very difficult and delicate one, and hence in dealing with these problems we have got to see that we should not tie down the hands of those who want to do good to them. It is true, and we are all, each one of us, here and outside, determined and agreed that this problem of the tribals is not of recent making. Their exploitation, their poverty, their economic backwardness, their social backwardness, all the things deserve the special attention not only of the provincial Governments, but also of the Central Government. But, in this, as has been right' pointed out by Babu Ramnarayan Singh, we have got to depend upon the State legislature and the provincial Governments. We should have faith in the provincial Governments as also in those non-official institutions who are working in order to ameliorate the conditions of the tribal areas. Here, I cannot withhold not only my thanks, but the thanks of all thoseworkers who are working among the aboriginals, to Shri Thakkar Bapa. We know. even in this old age, he has been touring those areas. I need not say here that if we go by his advice, and if he is given to us for another ten years, we shall be able to do not only something concrete to show to this House or to Parliament, but also which will bring real happiness, and economic, educational, social advancement to the tribal people.
I wish to make one observation so far as Mr. Jaipal Singh's amendment is concerned. His first amendment is that not only with regard to the tribals living in the Scheduled areas, but also of all the tribal people, living in the province, the report of the Governor should be submitted to the President. I think Dr. Ambedkar will consider over this matter. Because, it is none of our wish nor )is that a report on only the scheduled tribes in the Scheduled areas should be submitted to the President. We know that the tribals living outside the proposed Scheduled areas are more backward, less organised and there are very few people to care for them. Therefore, if it be possible, this amendment of Mr. Jaipal Singh may be accepted.
There is another matter to which I wish to draw your attention. It has been said that so far as the Advisory Council is concerned, they should be invested with more powers. powers of trying cases and all those. things. But, I submit, Sir, that this Advisory Council should be entrusted, as has rightly been done,, with the work of welfare and advancement of the tribals. If we tic down this Advisory Council with work of a political nature, then, what would happen to the councils formed by the tribal people ? Even our village Panchayats in some places, as you may know, have become a ground for political rivalry and political bitterness. If we really want the advancement of the tribal people, this Advisory Council should not be, as has been rightly done in the new draft, rather burdened with the task of trying cases and all those things regarding land, etc. So far as land is concerned, it is not our intention; nor of the provincial Governments where the tribals live-provincial Governments have made laws to see that land should not pass out of the hands of the tribal people; in our province, the Chota Nagpur Tenancy Act was modified and altered long long before 1937 in order to see that no land should pass out of the hands of the tribal people. But, there were various difficulties in the original schedule; that land should not be settled by the Government to any one except the tribal people. In the Scheduled areas, there are not only the tribal people; there are Harijans also; there are other castes also who are equality back-ward, if not otherwise, at least economically, as the tribal people. Is it, then, Sir, our wish that in those areas where the Harijans and other backward people remain, land should not be settled by the Government to them also ? Of course, the tribal people should have the preference as well as the Harijans living in those areas. If these things are made elastic, we should have nothing to say on this point. But, the,Government should see and in the future we also should see that preference is given to- the tribal people and if they have no land, the landless tribal people should have the first priority.
Then, Sir, regarding the other provisions it is not here for us to debate I have come here to congratulate the Drafting Committee. I think Sir, in the future, when the question of scheduled areas comes up, the Provincial Governments will give a correct advice to the President to whom has been entrusted the formation of the Scheduled areas. At present, among the Scheduled areas, there are various areas which should not have been kept there. Take the case of Latehar Sub division from which I have been returned. There are a large number of tribals no doubt, but the non-scheduled tribals are in a majority but these things ate not to be taken up here. I will only say that by leaving all these for the full consultation of the Provincial Government and other leaders of the country who are entrusted with the work of the tribals and also of tribal leaders, nothing will be lostShri A. V. Thakkar: Mr. President, Sir, It gives me very great pleasure to support Dr. Ambedkar's revised Schedule No. 5, because of two reasons. One is that it is very very abridged. Abridgment does not take away anything from that except one or two small points, but it widens it in respect of inclusion of the tribals of the Indian States which have formed themselves into Unions ,as well as those that have merged in the provinces. Those tribals that existed that live at present in the wilds of Rajasthan , in the Central India, States of Madhyabharat, also in the Vindhya Mountains, also in the Himachal, also in the Western Ghats of Travancore and Cochin-they were all neglected upto now and now they come into the picture for the first time in this revised Schedule. They were not included in the original Schedule. That is a great improvement which will affect not only lakhs but millions of tribals residing in the Indian States.
The other thing is that the Tribal Advisory Councils come into the picture for the first time 'I the history of India. Even with the Scheduled classes and the movement of Gandhiji for the amelioration of the Scheduled Castes, the Scheduled Caste Committees about administration were never formed. They are now being formed for the tribal areas for the first time and that is a very great advance. Not only that, but the Tribal Advisory Committee will consist of three-fourth of tribal members. They can if they like, take the greatest advantage of it in all ameliorative measures as well as in the conduct of everyday affairs of the Scheduled tribes, as well as Scheduled areas, but I am afraid our tribal friends are too shy yet. They have to be brought out not only from the plains of the country but also from the hills and hilltops, from the distant Himachal, from the distant Vindhyachal, from the Hills of Chota Nagpur, from the hills of Travancore and Cochin. Even there there are places on the hills where even the Christian Missionaries have not yet reached, and I am glad to say that some of our new social workers are reaching them even in the hills of Travancore and Cochin. Let me say that this question is very little known to all of us. I, will give you only one instance of that. When I went with the Assam Tribal Committee to tour in the areas of Assam with the Chairman Mr. Gopinath Bardolai and the prominent Minister Rev. ',Nichols Roy- all the members of the Committee, one and all, went for the first time to the Lushai Hills and Naga Hills in the year 1947. Even the Premier of Assam had never visited the Lushai Hills and Naga Hills, much less a man like me. Therefore the more we are able to know of these tribes the better it is for the country as a whole and to assimilate those tribal people as fast as we can in the whole society of the nation as we are now.
The other day my honourable Friend Dr. Kunzru was telling me "Thakkar. why don't you arrange a tour for me to go into the outside areas of Assam 'where tribals live those in Balpara areas and Sadia areas and Tirip areas." I say in reply to this House that if the Government can arrange a trip of 40 or 50 members of this Assembly to tour in all the tribal areas of the country it will be a very great knowledge gained and it will solve the problem a good deal. Even my friend Mr. Jaipal Singh does not know anything about the tribals outside Bihar his own province. He does very little touring in other parts. I would wish him to do that. I would see that he is provided with money to tour everywhere, wherever he likes to go in the tribal areas or other parts of the country than Bihar. Bihar is not India. There are so many Bihars in India and let him take care-if he likes-of all the remaining provinces where there is great necessity. more necessity of doing tribal welfare work than in Bihar. The tribes of Bihar as a whole are much advanced, comparatively speaking. I will give only one instance. There are Oraons and Mundas. These are the main tribes of Ranchi District which is the centre of Bihar tribals. Take the nearest State of what was called the Sarguja District of C. P. The Oraonsof Surguja are twenty times more Jungly than the Oraons of Ranchi District. I have been reading recent papers obtained from those places from friends and coworkers and from the staff of the C.P. Government who are engaged. in the welfare work, and I find that the Oraons of Sarguja District will not come down, for anything that you will give them, from the hills to the plains. Such is the difference between Oraons of one province and Oraons of the adjacent district of Sarguja. Another thing is people have very little idea of what progress we have made in the matter of amelioration of the condition of the tribals during the last two years only. I would may two years, only from 1947 to 1949, the Governments of Bombay, C.P., Bihar etc. have made wonderful progress. I am using the word purposely. Very few people have any idea. I am not giving you a secret if I say that Dr. Ambedkar was asking me a week ago 'Has any Government been doing practical work for the amelioration of the tribal'? I said 'Yes, Dr. Ambedkar, you are not aware of the things that are going on in the provinces'. I am running to those places occasionally and also giving some guidance to the social workers there. The Bombay Government has recently introduced a system of backward class inspectors in 11 or 12 districts where the tribals predominate. The Government of C.P. has done the same thing on a much larger scale. Let me say that as the C.P. is said generally to be a backward province compared to Madras or Bombay. There a large number of States have been merged in the Province and the States contain a much larger proportion of tribals than- the Province proper. There even they are spending money like water-if I may say so. Have you ever heard of-one Department working for the welfare of tribals in one Province been given a sum of fifty lakhs per year. That the