CONSTITUENT ASSEMBLY OF INDIA - VOLUME - VII
Dated: November 06, 1948
Critics have tried to make a great deal out of this bulkiness of our Constitution. But we must not forget that ours is a big country of 330 millions and we are making a Constitution for almost one fifth of humanity. Therefore there should be no wonder that our Constitution is bulky. Not only are we making a Constitution for a number of people for whom so far no other country has made any Constitution but our problems are varied and are different. Also, at the same time we have tired to give in the constitution of ours a modus operandi where by we have been able to set at naught the rigours of federalism and the vagaries of unitary form of Government. In an attempt to bring about that compromise between federalism and unitary from of Government, we had naturally to take recourse to certain Articles which are responsible for increasing the bulk of our Constitution.
As I said, Sir, our is a country which has got its own problems. In no country in the world are there what we call the principalities - the States - and there should be no wonder that in order to bring all these various factors inline with the present day democratic principles, the draftsmen of our Constitution could not compress into a few Articles all that they wanted to do. Therefore the charge that has been levelled against our Constitution that it is bulky seems to me to be frivolous.
The second charge is that we have borrowed almost verbatim from the various constitutions and that we have not cared to glance at the Constitution of the U. S. S. R. Now, so far as this particular charge is concerned, I would like to draw the attention of the Honourable House to some very patent factual and fundamental differences that exist between our country and the U. S. S. R. Let us not forget that the Russian Constitution came into existence after full eighteen years of Government by a single party, the Communist Party of the U. S. S. R. For full eighteen years that party was in power. The October Revolution of 1917 brought that party to power and, till 1935, they did not think of making a Constitution for their country. After eighteen years, during which period a rigid single-party rule was there, they thought of giving a constitution to Russia. Our conditions are far different from the conditions prevailing in Russia. Naturally, if we could not borrow any provision from the Russian Constitution which may appear on the face of it desirable, we must not forget that we did not borrow on purpose. It is said that the Russian Constitution gives the fullest scope to the minorities, but we forget that during the eighteen years when that rigid party known as the Communist Party of Russia was in power in what is called the Democratic Republics of Russia, it had established such a strong hold upon the various Republics that constitute the U. S. S. R., that in spite of the fact that the Constitution gave them power to break off their connection with the Central Government, in the very nature of things it is impossible for them even to think of doing so. The Republics of Georgia, Ukraine, etc. and some of the other Central Asian republics, long before a Constitution was given to them, were in the grip of that well-knit, well-organised Communist Party of the U. S. S. R. Therefore, to turn round and say that we have not taken this or that great principle of the Russian Constitution and embodied it in our own Constitution is to ignore the facts as they exist in Russia and as they exist in our own country.
Sir, if we look at the political development that has taken shape in our own country, we will find that it is on democratic principles that our party, the Congress Political Party, has developed. The Russian Communist Party has developed on a totally different basis and that basis is the basis of revolutionary totalitarianism. Therefore those friends who came to the rostrum and spoke very well of the Russian Constitution and twitted us for not having borrowed various clauses from the Russian Constitution, may be told that their criticism is absolutely baseless. While making that criticism they have not cared to look at the situation in our own country.
Then again, let us not forget that there is a vital difference between the principles, the aims and objects of the Russian polity and the principles and the aims and objects of the polity which we want to develop in our own country.
Sir, in Russia, the individual as such has got precious little value. It is the State, the Society and the Party for which the individual should exist. But here, under the inspiring leadership of Mahatma Gandhi we have learnt to look at things in a little different way. We consider individuals to be the basis of society and party and State. This insistance upon the individual makes our situation far different from the situation that prevails in Russia. For all these reasons if our Constitution makers could not borrow from the Russian Constitution, then I can say that they did so on purpose and that it was proper that they should have looked to the democratic countries for inspiration rather than to Russia which, though apparently a democratic State, is yet a Government on a rigid single party basis.
The third charge which has been laid at the door of our Constitution makers is that this Constitution has got a very powerful centrifugal tendency and that the little provincial autonomy which seems to have been given under the Constitution is likely to be taken away in the course of working this constitution and that all power is likely to centre in the Union State. But why should we forget that we, our country, we all, have been chronic patients of what I may call centrifugalities ? This centrifugal tendency is a tendency to fly away from the Centre. This tendency of the various limbs to break off from the body politic is a historical tendency. We should not ignore it.
Today we are sitting here to weld the Nation into a strong well-knit, well organised society. If our Constitution-makers do not take care to guard against that chronic illness from which our country has been suffering for centuries, then we are likely to come to grief. Therefore I say that these friends and critics, who think that the Centre which has been given certain powers to meet certain emergencies is likely to abuse those powers, are trying to cry 'wolf' 'wolf' before actually the wolf comes to their doors.
There is no doubt that the Constitution does not contain any clause about village panchayats. A good deal of criticism has been hurled at it for that reason, but may I point out that the Constitution in no way rules out the development of the village panchayats? The Constitution does not put any obstruction whatsoever in the path of the development of those units of local self-government which will enjoy power for managing their own affairs, and therefore that criticism also seems to me to be without any foundation.
One word more, Sir, and I have done. I was rather pained to see that my esteemed friend, Mr. T. T. Krishnamachari, and my respected elder, Pandit Lakshmi Kanta Maitra, have taken our efforts, in the direction of trying to give a national language, with suspicion and even with a little sense of exasperation. I tender to my friend, Mr. T. T. Krishnamachari, a thousand apologies if that impression has been created. May I tell the House that those of us who feel that there should be a national language, that there should be a common medium by which we may be in a position ultimately to exchange our ideas and to express ourselves - this lingua Indica should be Hindi in our opinion - that certainly does not mean that we wish to tread upon the toes of any friends of ours. No provincial language can come to grief if those friends co-operate with us in evolving a national language. In trying to give a common language to the nation, our efforts are not with a view to exasperating any friends. We want sympathisers from every quarter. We want the whole group from the Dakshina to come to our rescue and to help us in our efforts to give a national language to this ancient land of ours. Thanks.
Pandit Thakur Dass Bhargava (East Punjab: General ):(Began in Hindustani).
Shri S. Nagappa (Madras: General): Sir, may I request that those of the members who can express themselves in English should speak in English?
Pandit Thakur Dass Bhargava: Since my friends insist that I should speak in English, I bow to their wishes. It is true that I am able to express myself with greater ease in Hindi but at the same time I do wish that I should be understood by all the members of the House.
Sir, I wish to join in the chorus of praise which has been showered in this House on the Drafting Committee, but I cannot do so without reservation. When I bear in mind the complaints made by some friends here, I do feel that the Drafting Committee has not done what we expected it to do. Some of the members were absent, some did not join, some did not fully apply their minds. In regard to the financial provisions, what do we find? They have shirked the question and have not given us any solution whatsoever with regard to some other questions also. The real soul of India is not represented by this Constitution, and the autonomy of the villages is not fully delineated here and this camera (holding out the Draft Constitution) cannot give a true picture of what many people would like India to be. The Drafting Committee had not the mind of Gandhiji, had not the mind of those who think that India's teeming millions should be reflected through this camera. All the same, Sir, I cannot withhold my need of praise for the lab our, the industry and the ability with which Dr. Ambedkar has dealt with this Constitution. I congratulate him on the speech that he made without necessarily concurring with him in all the sentiments that he expressed before this House.
I think, Sir, that the soul of this Constitution is contained in the Preamble and I am glad to express my sense of gratitude to Dr. Ambedkar for having added the word 'fraternity' to the Preamble. Now, Sir, I want to apply the touch-stone of this Preamble to the entire Constitution. If Justice, Liberty, Equality and Fraternity are to be found in this Constitution, if we can get this ideal through this Constitution, I maintain that the Constitution is good. In so far as these four things which are contained in the Preamble are wanting, then I am bound to say that the Constitution is wanting, and from this angle I want to judge the Constitution. I know that time is very limited and I cannot touch upon everything. I wish to speak about only three or four subjects.
In the first place, I would like to draw the attention of the House to Part II-Citizenship. There are about 60 lakhs of people or more who have come from Western Pakistan, Sind, Baluchistan and East Bengal. These people are not aliens. If technically they are regarded as aliens, I do maintain that it is a sin to do so, because this situation has been brought about by the Government who agreed to partition. Therefore to make a law that each one of them should go before a District Magistrate within one month and declare that he or she is a citizen of India is rather hard. In practice, I know it will be impossible as most of these 60 lakhs of people are illiterate and do not know anything about this provision in the Constitution. If any such illiterate man fails to register himself as a citizen under this article, what would happen to him? Therefore I maintain that this is a very serious flaw in Part II. We ought to see that all these persons who have come from Pakistan on account of this Government agreeing to partition automatically become citizens of India without any effort on their part. If they want to secure themselves by making a declaration, I have no objection, but in case they fail to comply with this provision, I maintain that we should have a provision that mere permanent residence entitles them to full citizenship rights. To insist that they can only become citizens after they have gone to a District Magistrate and made a declaration that they want to be citizens of India is, in my opinion, an act of tyranny on them.
I therefore submit that this clause should be amended in such a way that those 60 lakhs of people may become citizens of India without any special effort on their part.
Secondly, I beg to submit that in regard to the question of minorities, as you know, Sir, I have been taking the very same position which you have been taking in the Minority Committee and I must say that you yourself have been a sort of beacon light to me and to others who thought like you. In regard to this question, I beg to submit that under the third clause of the Preamble equality of status and of liberty will be given to all.
In regard to the majority community - Sir, there will be either single constituencies or plural constituencies. In regard to single constituencies my submission is that if a member of a minority community will stand for those constituencies the members of the majority community will not be allowed to stand. This means that the electoral right of the member of the majority community will not be equal to the electoral right of the minority community. Again if they had plural constituencies even then I maintain, it is very humiliating for any person to stand and secure the largest number of votes and then to be told that another person of a minority community will represent that constituency and no the who secured the largest number of votes. It is extremely humiliating and I want that in regard to the electoral right there should be perfect equality among the members of the minority community and the majority community.
Sir, I have been a worker all my life for the welfare of the minority community people. For the last 35 years I have been a worker and all those who belong to minority communities know that I have never made a speech on the occasion of budget when I have not submitted to this House that in regard to posts, lands, money, property, the members of the Scheduled castes should be given preference and priority and I do maintain it is necessary to pass such measures as will level up their economic and social equality.
I am in favour of Clauses 299 and 300 which provide sufficient safeguards for them, but in regard to this aspect of reservation of seats, I must submit that I am dead opposed to it. When weightage was sought to be given to the Anglo-Indians we made an effort to see that this weightage question is not introduced into our Constitution and we succeeded ultimately and by nomination any deficiency in the number of Anglo-Indians was sought to be made up and we have got section 293 and other sections where nomination has been impressed upon to make up deficiencies, if any. Now, Sir, I maintain that in regard to Muhammadans and Sikhs and Christians no occasion for reservation arises at all and the entire population is almost homogeneous, so far as wealth, social influence and status and other things are concerned. In fact some of these communities are perhaps better off than the majority community. In regard to Harijans, members of the Scheduled castes it may be said that in wealth, social influence and social status they are inferior, but all the same I want that their position may be levelled up in ways other than by reservation of seats. In regard to this right also I am agreeable that if there is any deficiency in any number according to section 67, then we will have recourse to nomination and by nomination the number may be made up if this House thinks that their right should be secured in this respect. There is no occasion for having reservations at all but if any are necessary this method of reservation is very humiliating to the majority community and will be very harmful to the minority community. Yesterday Mr. Karimuddin gave very good reasons in the House. In the Legislative Assembly Sardar Gurmukh Singh on behalf of the Sikhs said that he did not want reservations. I know that since August 1947 the situation has changed and my Muslim friends and my Sikh friends are coming round to the view that the reservations are not useful for them. I wish that many of them expressed their minds. In regard to reservations therefore my position is that if reservations are thought to be necessary by this House, the reservation should be made only by nomination. We know how the Bureaucracy used this power of nomination, but in regard to a President who will be elected by the people. I do not think that such a misunderstanding or such a situation can arise. In regard to reservations the question of equality of status comes in the way and at the same time such a system tends to perpetuate the psychology of separation and the majority community is bound to consider that the reservation being there they are not bound to do anything further and the word fraternity which has been added in the last sentence by Dr. Ambedkar will lose its significance. If we want to abolish the sense of separation, it is necessary that we should not encourage the sense of separation by our own act. I therefore submit, Sir, that in regard to reservation I wish the House accepted the proposition which I am advocating from the very day in which I entered this House.
Some criticism has been made in this House that this Constitution is more political than social and economic in nature. Prof. K. T. Shah gave vent to his feeling yesterday and I for one respect every word of what he said, but may I humbly submit that in this Constitution we have got sections 32, 33, 38 which deal with the social and economic aspect? Now, Sir, I do not want that we should have a Constitution which we may not be able to work; if this Constitution said that the State shall provide full employment and amenities and these rights given in the directive principles were also justiciable, we shall be stultifying ourselves and promising to do what we are unable to do at present as I do not think that the present Government of India is able to do what the other States in Europe can do. This Constitution very modestly says that we shall endeavour to the best of our ability to do what we claim to do. These directive principles have been spoken of disparagingly by some of the Members. I beg to submit that I regard these directive principles to be essence of this Constitution. They give us a target, they place before us our aim and we shall do all that we can to have this aim satisfied. In regard to this, sections 32, 33 and some other sections provide social and economic basis for advancement. In regard to section 38 it says that the standard of living shall be raised. But the question arises. How shall the standard of living be raised?
In India a poor country, where the average earning of a man is only five shillings a week, compared to other countries of the world where the earnings are at least twenty times as much, we do not know how to face this question. If we go to the villages, even drinking water is not easily available. In regard to clothing, you know better than I can describe. In regard to these matters, if we want really to place some sort of an obligation on the Government, let us say clearly that the Government shall have, as soon as it gets into full power, to undertake the execution of irrigation and hydro-electric projects by harnessing the rivers, by the construction of dams, and adopt other means of increasing the production of food and fodder. Similarly, we can say certainly that the Government should provide good drinking water in the country. If you want rivers of milk and honey to flow in India, we should also say that the Government shall preserve, protect and improve the useful breeds of cattle, and ban the slaughter of useful cattle, particularly milch cows and young calves. I am placing this humble submission before the House. I know that the Congress party unanimously accepted this proposition when it was put to the House by me at the time of their meeting. But, it was my misfortune that this thing could not be debated in this House; and when the occasion came, the House was adjourned. I submit that there is a very great demand in this country that some steps should be taken to see that people get good food, good drinking water and milk. I have used the words "useful breeds of cattle and useful cattle". I may say every Government in India, even the Muslim Kings, the Government of Afghanistan, and even now Burma, have settled this thing by law for all time. In Burma, today, which has got no religion like ours, who do not regard the cow as sacred, they have enacted that slaughter of cows shall be banned. I do not want that. What I want is that the slaughter of useful cattle shall be banned. That is my humble submission to this House and I think nobody will disagree. This would, at the same time, give satisfaction to crores of people who regard this question from a different motive, though I do not regard it from that motive.
I have to make one other submission to the House and it is this. We have heard too much about the village panchayats. How these village panchayats will work I do not know. We have got a conception and that conception we try to put into practice. I wish to submit to this House for their very serious consideration that when the constituencies come to be formed under the new Constitution, they should make territorial constituencies; they should not make constituencies of cities alone and they should not make constituencies of villages alone. They should evolve a system by which the differentiation between the rural and urban people, between those who have too much and who have too little may for all time be removed, so that we may evolve one nation. In my visit to England just now, I found when an application goes to the Government for starting a new factory, they say, "go to the villages, we shall not allow any more factories in London". I want all the factories should be so established in India that for the villages or for groups of villages some sort of employment may be provided. The industries should be decentralised as much as the administration should be decentralised. The disparity between the mode of living of the rural people and the urban people must be abolished if we want to evolve one nation. At the present time, what do we find? The urban people and the rural people are so much apart from each other in their modes of living and outlook on life. To go near the villages is very difficult. The urban people do not like to go to the villages. I know the Congress has gone to the villages all honour to the Congress. But, there are a good many in the Congress also who do not wish to go to the villages; they cannot go because their mode of living is different. You will have to evolve such constituencies in which the cities and villages come in without any distinction; if there is a constituency for a lakhs of the population, the cities and villages should be included in one constituency. Some of the village people themselves may not like the urban people coming in, and will regard this proposition as a contrivance for usurpation of their preserve but in making this proposal I have the best interests of the country as a whole before myself. I wish that the amenities of life may be the same everywhere in city as well as in village and in future all efforts be concentrated financially and politically to bring the village into line with the city. I hope if you will ponder over this question, you will agree that it is essential to work this constitution in such a manner and in such a spirit as will conduce to better life and better happiness of the nationals of this country.
Shri H. V. Kamath (C. P. and Berar: General): On a point of order, Sir, may I ask whether it is fair to this House that Dr. Ambedkar who has moved this motion and who is expected to reply, to the debate should remain absent from the House? Is anybody deputising for him here?
Mr. Vice-President: Yes.
Shri Algu Rai Shastri (United Provinces: General):*[Mr. President, Sir, the point raised by Shri Kamath just now appears to be quite sound because so long as the member in charge does not benefit from the speeches that are being delivered and does not pay attention to whatever is being said in the House, it is futile to have a discussion. Therefore, I request that so long as he is unable to be present here, the discussion should be postponed. However, if he has authorised some one else to note down whatever is said here and then to help him, there would be no harm done. Otherwise the whole discussion that is being held appears to be a mere waste of breath and will not be of any use in amending the Constitution.
You should, therefore, give a clear ruling that if there is to be a discussion, the member in charge, who is piloting the Draft, should be present here or some representative of his should be here. So long as this is not arranged, the discussion should be postponed.]*
Shri Satyanarayan Sinha (Bihar: General): Mr. Saadulla who was in the Drafting Committee is here and he represents Dr. Ambedkar.
Mr. Vice-President: There are members of the Drafting Committee here who are deputising for the Honourable Dr. Ambedkar. I think that our requirements are fairly met. I hope this will satisfy the House.
Shri Lala Raj Kanwar (Orissa States): Sir, as a back-bencher and as one who has generally been a silent Member of this House, I crave your indulgence and the indulgence of this august Assembly to make a few observations for what they are worth. My observations, if I may say so, will be confined to only one aspect, albeit a very important aspect, of the problem that we are called upon to tackle, namely the question of national language.
Mr. Vice-President: It is for you to consider whether a detailed examination of that is necessary now.
Shri Lala Raj Kanwar: I am not going into the details; I shall confine myself to general observations. The Constitution is bound to reflect the will of the people and the voice of the people and I believe, therefore, the voice of God, as the Latin saying goes, vox populi, vox Dei. It means that it is not a question of the language of the Constitution, but the language of the nation and the country at large. Sir, in the Upanishads, which are the repository of concentrated wisdom and divine knowledge, and about which the great German Philosopher Schopenhauer said that "in the whole world there is no study so elevating as that of the Upanishads, which has been the solace of my life and which will be the solace of my death", it is written:
Language is the outward expression of our innermost thoughts and a common national language is a prime necessity as it makes for unity and cohesion in a manner in which no other single factor does. As in the case of redistribution of provincial boundaries, there is an outcry in favour of some of the provincial languages struggling for supremacy. This is only natural but there should be no antagonism between one language and another. Whether the provinces should be formed on linguistic basis or some other basis or should be left intact has nothing to with the question of national language - the lingua franca of the country. That the Government of the day can give a great lead in this matter goes without saying. Witness the case of English which under the domination of our late foreign masters practically became the lingua franca throughout the length and breadth of this vast country. But in order to be the national language it should not only be the language of the intelligentsia but of the common people. It should be a language which should be spoken and understood by all classes of people and by the majority of them. Considering the huge population of India we find that of the provincial languages such as Bengali, Marathi, Gujarati, Punjabi, Telugu or Oriya, none of them is spoken or understood by the great majority of the people of India and the only language that can lay claim to a great extent to this position is Hindi which is spoken not only in Upper India but in C. P., Rajputana, Bihar and various other tracts. But the spoken Hindi is not the Sanskritised Hindi of Scholars and the intelligentsia - for after all what is their percentage as compared to the huge population of the country - but a Hindi full of short, sweet and simple words, the pure, chaste and unadulterated Hindi spoken by the great majority of the people and which the uneducated people, the womenfolk and the children make full use of and speak freely and frankly. Although Sanskrit is the mother of most of the Indian languages - the languages not only of India but also of the World - and although it is the language par excellence in which our Vedas, Upanishads, Shastras, the Ramayan and Mahabharat and the Immortal Gita are written and although in the words of Sir William Jones, the great Orienta list, "Sanskrit is more perfect than Greek, more copious than Latin and sweeter than Italian", still it is not the language of the common people and so it is not desirable that we should draw upon it for our daily requirements in Hindi. Moreover Sanskrit has been a dead language for several centuries like Latin, Greek and Hebrew, and in spite of the marvels of the marvellous and inimitable Ashtadhyayi of Panini, the greatest Grammarian of the world, Sanskrit is most difficult to learn. The test of a national language should be its simplicity, and that it should be easily understood by everybody in the country. Now nobody can deny that the Sanskrit Alphabet is the most perfect and scientific in the World and it is also very natural and not unlike the alphabets of other languages. For example the very first letter of its alphabet is a. The mouth automatically opens when you have to utter this and the sound represented by it is the very first sound which one hears when the mouth is opened. Similarly when the last letter of the Sanskrit alphabet, that is m is uttered the mouth is automatically shut, which means that it is rightly the last letter of the alphabet, although I do not forget that m in a sense is not the last letter of the Devanagri alphabet because it is followed by other letters like ya ra la va but they are variations of other letters. For instance ya is a variation of e,ra is a variation of ree, la is a variation of lree, va is a variation of oo. On account of the perfection of the Sanskrit alphabet, Hindi which is spoken by the great majority of the people in this country, should when reduced in writing, be written in Devanagri script (Cheers). Sometime ago a move was made to evolve what is known as basic English. If some such steps could be taken with regard to Hindi, it would be much easier for other people who do not at present speak Hindi or write Hindi to learn it in the minimum of time. In view of the position hitherto and at present occupied by Urdu written in the Persian script and in view of the fact that it is the language generally used by our Muslim brethren who number nearly 3 1/2 or 4 crores in this country and who are scattered throughout the length and breadth of this country, and in view of its intrinsic merit that its script is a sort of shorthand, I think it is desirable that we should pay some attention to Urdu also but of course it can never be and there is no reason why, it should be the primary language of the Nation. The national and official language should of course be Hindi written in the Devanagri script but the second language should in my opinion be Urdu because it is a sort of shorthand and takes much lesser time to write and occupies much lesser space than other languages. For example take the word 'Muntazim' which in Urdu is written as if it were one compound letter, but if you write in Hindi in Devnagri script or Roman English it will consist of 7 or 8 distinct letters. Similar instances are 'Muntazir, Muntashir, Muntakhib' and hundreds of other similar combinations of letters which at present form unitary words. So I think that in view of the fact that Urdu is at present spoken by an appreciable number of people in this country and especially in big cities like Delhi, Agra, Lucknow and other places, and the countryside round about Delhi, and other large centres of population in Northern India and it possesses certain advantages in as much as it is a sort of shorthand, I submit that we should treat it as the second language of the country. Moreover, if we adopt it as a second language, it will be a gesture of good-will towards the Muslim population who, as I have already said, number no less than 3 1/2 to 4 crores. And in a secular State we will do well to make such a gesture. However much we may feel the consequences of the partition and the holocaust that followed in its wake we should take a realistic view of things, for after all we cannot build on anger, vengeance or retribution. Although I happen to represent a distant part of India at the moment, namely the Orissa States, I am a Punjabi, and like most Punjabis have suffered grievously in a variety of ways on account of the partition, but that should not make me forgetful of our duty towards the country. We should also not forget that the Father of the Nation during his life-time freely and unreservedly expressed himself in favour of Hindustani, and in expressing this opinion he was never depressed; on the other hand he was always impressed with the reality of the situation and the necessity and the correctness of this view.
One other suggestion that I should like to make in all humility is that in framing our Constitution we should invoke God's blessings as is done by every householder when he performs some big ceremony or when some great Yajna has to be performed. And what greater Yajna could there be than this in the new India that is born after so much travail? I therefore suggest that at the commencement of the Constitution we should say that we invoke God's blessings in this holy task, and at the end of the Preamble also we should use some such words as "So help us God". At a time of great trial facing his country Rudyard Kipling devoutly wrote:
Lord God of gods,
Be with us yet,
Lest we forget, Lest we forget.
I trust this suggestion of mine will be considered by this Honourable House.
Before I resume my seat I should like to add my tribute to the chorus of praise showered on the Honourable the Law Minister, Dr. Ambedkar, Chairman of the Drafting Committee, for the excellent speech made by him while moving for the consideration of the Draft Constitution. For lucidity and clarity of exposition and expression it could hardly be surpassed. Both he and his co-adjutors are entitled to our best gratitude for the very strenuous work they have done in preparing the Draft Constitution. Sir, I thank you forgiving me this opportunity of making my submission.
Shri Yudhisthir Mishra (Orissa States): Mr. Vice-President, Sir, I have been called upon to speak at this fag-end of the morning session and I shall try to finish it as soon as possible. I want to submit a few points for the consideration of this Assembly. The first thing is that in the whole of the Draft Constitution there is no provision for the economic independence of the country. So long we had been fighting for the political independence of the country, and times without number, our leaders have said that we shall try to establish in this country such a Constitution as will provide for the economic independence of the country. But I am sorry to say that nothing of the kind has-been done. There is nothing for the common people to be secure about their future. There is nothing in this Draft Constitution which provides them full opportunities for their growth in the future. The Constitution should firstly provide that all the lands, machinery and all other means of production and products thereof will be owned and controlled by the State in the interests of the people.
Secondly, the State should provide for every man and woman work according to his or her capacity and ability and supply the people with materials and goods according to their needs and requirements.
Thirdly, the production of goods should be determined and regulated according to the needs of the people. The Draft Constitution does not give any guarantee for the nationalisation of the wealth within a reasonable time; and it does not say anywhere that every man and woman should be provided with work in this country.
The second submission I would like to make is about civil liberty. The Draft Constitution provides that a person can be detained without trial in the interests of the state. I do not understand what is meant by "in the interests of the state". You have been seen, in the last few months, from January and thereafter, what is meant by detention without trial. In the various High Courts it has been held that the detention which has been ordered by the various Provincial Governments was in some cases illegal. When there is the law of the land to be applied to different individuals, I do not understand why there should be any provision at all for detention without trial. We fought against this during the time of the British Government, and I do not see any reason why this provision should be retained now also. Of course this principle has been agreed to by this Assembly while adopting the principles for the Constitution. But I would submit that this view should be changed and that the provision which has been given a place in the Draft Constitution should be amended.
The third submission I would like to make is about States, the Rulers of which have ceded their jurisdiction and power to the Central Government. The provision which has been made in the Draft Constitution is beyond the terms of reference given to the Drafting Committee. I do not understand why the Drafting Committee has gone beyond the terms of reference and has gone beyond the wishes of the people of the States who have come under the administration of the Government of India, and adopted a Constitution which is not at all demanded or liked by the people of the States. I would therefore say that Article 212 which has also been applied with respect to the States who have merged with the Provinces should be amended and that the wishes of the people should be respected in that regard. Of course, in due time the amendments will be moved, and I hope the House will accept the same.
With these words, Sir, I command the Draft Constitution for the consideration of the House.
Mr. Vice-President: I am glad to announce to the Honourable Members that the President has agreed that in deference to the wishes of the House, we shall have another day, that is Monday, for general discussion.
The Assembly then adjourned for lunch, till Three of the Clock.
The Assembly re-assembled after lunch at Three of the Clock, Mr. Vice-President (Dr. H. C. Mookherjee) in the Chair.
Shri H. V. Kamath: Will you be so good as to direct that......
Mr. Vice-President (Dr. H. C. Mookherjee): Will the Honourable Member kindly resume his seat?
TAKING THE PLEDGE AND SIGNING THE REGISTER
The following member took the Pledge and signed the Register:
Shri Ratna Lal Malaviya (C. P. and Berar States).
Mr. Vice-President: We will now resume the debate.
Shri H. V. Kamath: Will you be so good as to direct that a copy of Dr. Ambedkar's speech introducing the Draft Constitution be supplied to every Honourable Member with the least possible delay?
Mr. Vice-President: I understand that the speech of the Honourable Dr. Ambedkar will have to be cyclostyled. This will be done as quickly as possible and possibly copies will be made available to the Members either this evening or tomorrow morning.
We will now resume the debate.
Prof. Shibban Lal Saksena (United Provinces: General) : Mr. Vice-President.....
Shri B. Das (Orissa: General): Are you allowed to speak twice on this motion?
Prof. Shibban Lal Saksena: No. Formerly I spoke on the amendment of Seth Damodar Swar up. I have not yet spoken on the motion moved by Dr. Ambedkar.
Mr. Vice-President, we are today called upon to discuss the principles underlying our Draft Constitution. To begin with, I must congratulate the learned Doctor who has placed this motion before us. I have read the speech, which he delivered, several times and I think it is a masterpiece of lucid exposition of our Constitution. I certainly think that there could not have been an abler advocacy for the Draft Constitution. But I would like to say something about the principles incorporated in the Constitution.
Sir, this Draft Constitution has accepted, as he himself said, the democratic Government of England as the model and has rejected the American system of Government. I personally have tried to compare both and to weigh which is better. I personally think that our country's need at present is for a stable State. I think what we require first is stability of Government. I therefore think that we should have opted for the system which prevails in America. A President elected by adult suffrage should be in charge of the Nation and he should have the right to choose his executive to carry on the administration, and the judiciary should be independent of the executive. I personally think that stability of Government is the first need of the Nation today. There are already tendencies which are fissiparous. There is the demand for linguistic provinces and for re-distribution of the provinces. We have also seen quarrels about the division of powers between the units and the Centre. All these tendencies are natural. But if we had modelled our Constitution on the American example and had adopted their system of election, I think it would have met our needs better. Therefore, in one fundamental respect I beg to differ from Dr. Ambedkar who has opted for the British model. The British system works admirably. But that is the result of seven hundred years' experience and training. Besides, I think there are two special features of British life which enable them to keep their system going. There are no fissiparous tendencies and the loyalty to one King is a strong binding force. Secondly, in every Englishman, respect for his Constitution is ingrained. In our own country, I personally feel that the American system would be better. There will be less corruption and we can grow to our full stature much better under that system than we can do under the system recommended.
Then, Sir, Dr. Ambedkar has criticised the system of village panchayats which prevailed in India and which was envisaged by our elders to be an ideal basis for our Constitution. I was just now reading Mahatma Gandhi's speech in the 1931 Round Table Conference in London. He was speaking about the method of election to the Federal Legislature. There he recommended that the villages should be the electoral units. He in fact gave fundamental importance to the village republics. He said that it was in villages that the real soul of India lived. I was really sorry that Dr. Ambedkar should express such views about the village panchayats. I am certain that his views are not the views of any other Members of this House. Let us see what Dr. Ambedkar has said about these village panchayats:
I am certain that a very large majority of the House do not agree with this view of village republics. As one who has done work in villages and has experience of the working of Congress village panchayats for the last twenty-five years, I can say that this picture is purely imaginary. It is an entirely wrong picture. I personally feel that, if we bring to these village panchayats all the light and all the knowledge which the country and the world have gathered, they will become the most potent forces for holding the country together and for its progress towards the ideal of Ram Rajya. In fact, the Soviet Constitution is based on village units, village Soviets as they are called. I feel personally that these village republics, like the Russian village Soviets, can become models of good self-government. I think that the Constitution should provide for the establishment of village republics.
The Upper House under this Draft Constitution is to be elected indirectly by provincial legislatures. I think it should be elected on a wider franchise and village panchayats should be required to elect the Upper House. The suggested method of electing the Upper House by provincial legislatures is a very wrong method. If village panchayats are allowed to elect the Upper House, we will have a more representative Upper House. I personally feel that unless we give the villages more responsibility, we cannot really solve their problems.
The third point I want to touch upon is States. I fully agree with Dr. Ambedkar in his criticism against having two kinds of constitutions, one for Indian States and one for provinces. I feel that the States should be made to fall in line with the provinces. I hope that the States' representatives here will see that it will be more advantageous to have constitutions for the States similar to those for the provinces. Instead of Governors, they can have Rajas as constitutional heads. Most of the smaller States have already merged themselves with bigger units. Where they are very small, they have already merged themselves with provinces. I feel that the Constitution should have a provision that, if any State wishes to fall in line with the provinces, the provincial constitution shall apply to that State also. I hope that by the time the Constitution is passed, most of the States will agree to fall in line with the provinces.
Then, Sir, about the fundamental rights, Dr. Ambedkar said that nowhere in the world are Fundamental Rights absolute. I personally feel that our Fundamental Rights should be in more unambiguous form. I think there is much force in the contention that the provisos to these Fundamental Rights take away much of the rights granted by the Constitution. I think that these Articles should be modified.
Then, Sir, one word about our national language. I think there should be a separate clause stipulating a national language on the model of the Irish Constitution. I personally feel that it should be Hindi written in Devanagri characters. Similarly I think the form of the flag should also be provided for in our Constitution: what colour it shall be and what its dimensions should be, should all be declared in the Constitution. I also quite agree with Seth Govind Das when he said that cow-slaughter should be banned in the Indian Union. I personally feel that the sentiment of thirty crores of population should be respected. I feel that we should provide in one of the Articles of this Constitution the banning of cow-slaughter. I feel that after all we have to take the people as they are and we will have to respect their sentiments also. I therefore feel that this Constitution should be amended to suit our needs and requirements.
Lastly, Sir, I thank the Drafting Committee for providing us with a very fine Constitution. I also feel that the suggestions that I have made will be discussed at the amendment stage and finally find a place in the Constitution of our country. Sir, with these words, I commend the motion to the House.
Shri Sarangdhar Das (Orissa States): Mr. Vice-President, Sir, like all the previous speakers I congratulate the Drafting Committee, and especially its Chairman, Dr. Ambedkar for the hard work that they have put in. But at the same time, there are certain things in his speech with which I cannot agree. When he says: "What is the village but a sink of localism and a den of ignorance, narrow-mindedness and communalism ?" I am rather surprised that a respected member of this House and also a Minister of the National Government should have such an idea about our villages. I must say here, that with the spread of western education in our schools and colleges we had loss contact with the villages, and it was our leader, Mahatma Gandhi, who advised the intelligentsia to go back to the villages, and that was some thirty years ago. For the last thirty years we have been going into the villages and making ourselves one with the villagers; and in reply to Dr. Ambedkar's accusation, I would say that there is no localism in the villages. There is ignorance, yes, ignorance of the English language and also our various written languages, and that situation is due to the kind of Government we had, a Government that destroyed our educational system. As far as knowledge of nature and wisdom gathered from Shastras and Puranas are concerned. I would say that there is more wisdom and more knowledge in the villages than in our modern cities.
I am not a hater of cities. I have lived in cities in two continents, but unfortunately our cities in India are entirely different from the cities in other countries. Our people living in the cities are far away from the villagers, from their life, and that is why we have become such that we think there is nothing good in the villages. Now this idea is changing; I do not know if it is changing outside the Congress circles, but I am positive that within the Congress circles, the idea of the villages is uppermost in everybody's mind. I shall therefore appeal to Dr. Ambedkar to reconsider this matter and to give the villagers their due because the villages in the near future will come into their own as they used to be.
Now then when we come to the Draft Constitution itself, I am at one with Dr. Ambedkar in the matter of more power to the Centre, because a strong Centre is very necessary at the present time. No matter what we say about the fundamentals of the culture of our peoples in different provinces being the same, we are a heterogeneous people; and taking advantage of the situation that the British have gone, there are all kinds of disruptive elements trying to raise their heads, and therefore it is essential that the Centre must be strong so that all the different peoples of the country can be welded together into one nation. In this connection, I would urge upon you to keep this idea of linguistic provinces in abeyance for, say, five or ten years, because although I come from a province where we also think that injustice has been done to our province, nevertheless because of this linguistic provinces idea during the last one year, there has been more bitterness between the peoples of neighbouring provinces than anything good. And this is not the time to have bitterness. We want goodwill between the neighbouring provinces and that is why I would strongly urge that this linguistic provinces idea should be kept in abeyance for at least five years. As regards language, I know and every freedom-loving man in any country knows that there must be a national language. In that respect also, we have different provincial languages some of which have developed very much and are of a very high order, while there are others which are backward. So, there is a competition between the different provincial languages. But, we must remember that we must use a language that the majority of people speak or understand. There is no language other than Hindi that can stand this test. Hindi is a language based on Sanskrit. Because in the different provinces we study Sanskrit to some extent, although not as fully as the older generations used to do, our regional languages also are based on Sanskrit, our Sadhu Bhasha as we call it in my province, that is, the scholarly language is such, that I believe, this scholarly language spoken in Orissa can be understood by the Hindi people or the people from the Punjab and they do understand it. So also, the Oriyas understand Hindi though they may not be able to speak it. The same is the case in Bengal, Maharashtra, etc. When we look at it from that point of view, I am rather surprised that other non-Hindi-speaking friends, particularly in South India consider that the demand for adopting Hindi as our national language is "imperialism of language". I do not see where there is imperialism of language. If the South Indian scan speak in no other language than English, do they mean to say that the millions of people living in the Madras Province understand English? It is only a few, and a few of the uneducated people in the cities also who understand English; but not in the villages. We will have to banish English; but at the same time, I would say to the advocates of Hindi that it cannot be done right away, immediately. Some time must be given to the people of South India and other non-Hindi speaking provinces to get acquainted with Hindi and to make their contacts with North India and Western India in the national language.
The next point I want to dwell on is the Indian States. When we first considered the principles of the Constitution, some ten months ago, the Indian States were in a different position. Since then, things have changed. I cannot see how we shall have units of Indian States and of provinces, and call them all units, and yet, the Indian States are not on a par with the provinces. Particularly I see, that the High Courts of the Indian States will not be under the jurisdiction of the Supreme Court. It is said in the Chapter on Fundamental Rights that these rights are guaranteed to every citizen in India. I take it that a person, man or woman, living in an Indian State or in a Union of States as they have been formed during the last few months, is a citizen of India and if his Fundamental Rights are curtailed by the Government there, there is an appeal to the High Court and that is the final judgment, while in the provinces, the matter can go up to the Supreme Court. I do not see how the man or woman in the States is on a par with the man or woman in the provinces.
Then there are various other matters that exist in many States, particularly in Rajputana and Central India, where there are Jagirdars who own practically 75 to 90 per cent of the land under the Maharajas of Jaipur, Jodhpur and Bikaner; there is an inland customs duty collected by the Jagirdar from the producer, and then again by the Maharajas' Government, and then when the goods are exported to the neighbouring State, that State also levies an import duty. I can give a particular instance of cotton grown in Jaipur, paying two duties in the Jagirdar's territory and while going out of Jaipur, paying another import duty in Bikaner, when exported to Bikaner, where there is no cotton grown. These matters will have to be changed and the earlier they are changed, the better it is for the primary producer as well as the consumer and also for the expansion of trade and commerce.
Then there is another matter and this is the last one that I want to stress, that is the tribal population in the various States that have come into the provinces, particularly in Orissa and the Central Provinces. It is the duty of the Union Government to improve their standard of living, and to give social and economic amenities to all the people. These tribal people, unfortunately, have been in a very backward condition as far as education, sanitation and economic status are concerned. There are about twenty lakhs of tribal people in Orissa and about 15 lakhs in the Central Provinces. For the quick advancement of these fellow citizens of ours, it will be necessary to allot large sums of money from the Centre, because the provinces cannot bear such heavy burdens. In the matter of financial arrangements between the Centre and the provinces, it will be necessary, when there is any per capita allotment on population basis, for the purposes of the tribal people, the amount must be four or five times the ordinary allotment allowed for then on-tribal people. I press this point particularly, because, if we are to improve their status in the quickest possible time, it is necessary to spend more money whenever it is needed and wherever the people are backward.
Chaudhari Ranbir Singh (East Punjab: General): *[Mr. Vice-President, while supporting the motion of Dr. Ambedkar I would like to submit a few words to this House. I agree with Seth Govind Das that it would have been better if we had decided upon our National Anthem, National Flag and National Language in the very beginning. With reference to what Shri Maitraji said yesterday, I admit that we cannot expect our Deccan friends to speak in Hindi and to use it for the business of the House all at once. But there would have been one advantage if the problem of the national language had been settled in the very beginning - and even now the advantage would accrue - and it would have been that people would have come to know which language was to be their national language and which language they should seek to learn.
I would not like to go deep into the question of centralisation and decentralisation of power, but I would like to draw the attention of the House to one matter. Mahatma Gandhi, the Father of the Nation always taught us that whether in the political or in the economic sphere decentralisation engenders a power which is much greater than other kinds of power. Besides, there are other reasons also for this view. I am a villager, born and bred in a farmer's house. Naturally I have imbibed its culture. I love it. All the problems connected with it fill my mind. I think that in building the country the villagers should get their due share and villagers should have their influence in every sphere. Besides there is another matter to which attention was drawn this morning by Babu Thakur Dasji. It is that the distinction between rural and urban seats should be done away with. I have no doubt that if we take a long view of the matter it would be beneficial for the rural areas - and more specially in a country like India where there are seven lakhs of villages and only a few cities. But we cannot ignore the conditions of today. Howsoever ingeniously we may try to beguile them with subtle arguments and fine sentiments the village people cannot be blinded to the fact that the power of the Press and the Intelligentsia is cent red in the cities alone, and that they of the villages have little say in the affairs of the nation. It is no use, therefore, to ignore this reality. Today a distinction has to be maintained in our country between the rural and urban seats. In fact reservation of seats is to be provided and it should be provided, for those who are backward. The reservation provided in our Constitution is rather a peculiar one. We should remember what used to be emphasised by the Father of our Nation, Mahatma Gandhi, that is, the means for achieving an end have to be very carefully scrutinised, for the end is conditioned by the means. Our aim today is to set up a secular State - a non-denominational State. I cannot therefore, see any reason why seats should be reserved for minorities or sectarian groups. I do not see any sound reason for the adoption of such a course of action. Would not its adoption defeat the realisation of Ideals we have in view? Our object of establishing a secular State in this country would remain merely an unrealised dream if we decide to provide safeguards on grounds of religion. The training, the level of education, and the power of the followers of Islam do not need any further demonstration in the circumstances prevailing in the country to-day for we have already had ample proof of the same.
We have seen that by the power of their organisation and with the help of a foreign power they brought about the partition of the country. The other minorities that have already been referred to are not less powerful. We cannot from any point of view call them backward communities. It is no doubt true that it may be said, if it can be said for any group at all, that Harijans constitute a backward class. Both from their educational and financial conditions they may be called a backward class. But even in this respect we have to keep in view one other consideration. It is that if we provide in this Constitution safeguards for Harijans, the word 'Harijans' would be perpetuated even though such is not our intention. We want to form a classless society in the country. But a classless society cannot be formed if we make a provision for reservation of seats on the contrary. This would only perpetuate the word 'Harijan'. In my opinion there is another way and a much better way of providing safeguards for them. All the backward people in the country are either peasants or labourers. All such people were disfranchised in Russia as did no manual work and lived not by their lab our, but on the returns on their capital. We may not disfranchise such people in our country today. We may even give them rights according to their numbers. But we should provide safeguard for manual workers, the peasants and the wage-earners. If safeguards are to be provided they must be only for those who are peasants and wage-earners and in fact safeguards can be properly provided for them alone.
There is one thing more. As I said before, it may perhaps be objected that this will give rise to another serious problem, that is to say, the words 'peasant' and 'labourer' will find a permanent place in the Constitution. But I think that, even if this happens, it will not be in any way injurious to anyone. It will be all the better that the people of the whole country would be labelled as peasants and workers. If every one would earn his bread by labour, it would be the best thing for the country and the problems of food and cloth with which the country is faced today would then be solved easily.
I would like to proceed to make one more observation and this I may do only as a peasant. It is with respect to the protection of the cows. Pandit Thakurdass Bhargava and I had jointly moved a resolution on slaughter of cows in the Congress party and at that time it was unanimously adopted. But unfortunately no mention of it has been made in our Constitution. Though the same was the case in regard to Hindi on which question also the party had come to a decision, yet the mention of Hindi is to be found in the Draft while no mention has been made of the resolution as regards cow protection. I humbly submit that resolution should be carried out as a whole - rather it should be enlarged as follows:
Sir, I would like to make one more point in regard to the economic order. I have no objection, rather I am happy that the Centre should be very strong. But I consider it my duty to submit that the finances of the provinces should be on a sound basis. Today there is not a single pie of the income of the peasant who earns it by his sweat and blood, which is not taxed. If he cultivates even a single bigha of land he has to pay a tax on it. As compared to this even an income of two thousand rupees of other people of India is not taxed. This is a great injustice to the peasant, particularly in a country where they dominate and have a large population. It should rather be considered how the continuance of this injustice in a country of peasants would look like? Therefore I want that the provincial governments should realise land revenue on the same basis as the income tax; for this purpose their finances should be strengthened.
I would like to make one more observation as a Punjabi. Punjab was partitioned as a consequence of the Freedom of India and partition completely dislocated the entire administration of this Province. To bring it again into line with the other provinces it is necessary that at least for the next ten years, in so far as its finances are concerned, special concession should be shown to East Punjab.]*
Mr. Vice-President: I have received a number of communications from Honourable Members suggesting that the House might be adjourned as they want to go to the Exhibition. I want to know the views of the House.
Honourable Members: Yes, it may be done.
Mr. Vice-President: I have got the names of sixty gentlemen who wish to speak. The adjournment will mean that only a smaller number will be able to speak because there is only one day left. It is for the House to decide what they want.
An Honourable Member: We might adjourn at half past four.
Another Honourable Member: Let it be four o'clock.
Mr. Vice-President: We will carry on up to a quarter past four.
Shri R. R. Diwakar (Bombay: General): Mr. Vice-President, Sir, Honourable Members who have spoken before me have covered enough ground and I think I should not take much time of the House in going over the same ground. I would like to make a few points which from my point of view are very important when we are on the eye of giving a new Constitution to our country. One thing which I wish to make quite clear is that the Draft Constitution which is before us is really a monumental work and we all of us have already given congratulations to the Drafting Committee and its Chairman who is piloting it through this House. At the same time I would like to point out that the Drafting Committee has not only drafted the decisions of the Constituent Assembly but in my humble opinion it has gone far beyond mere drafting. I may say that it has reviewed the decisions, it has revised some of the decisions and possibly recast a number of them. It might be that it was inevitable to do sounder the circumstances, but at the same time we, the Members of the Constituent Assembly, should be aware of this fact when we are considering the Draft and when we are thinking in terms of giving our amendments.
The second point I want to make is about the hurry with which some people want to finish the discussions about this Draft. I do not think that much hurry will be beneficial ingoing through the Draft. Enough time should be allowed, and none of the amendments that may be given should in any way be suppressed or insufficient time given to them. Enough time should be given for the discussion of important things. If not for anything else, I want to point out that it is more than one year since Free India is in existence, and this year has been one of rich experience. This experience itself, I think, should make us pause and think about changing a number of provisions that are there in the Draft, as it is today before us.
Let us take the question of adult franchise. A number of us are already thinking as to whether we shall have the required type of people in the legislatures if we straightaway introduce adult franchise. I am one of those who would suggest that while we should keep adult franchise as it is, so far as the electorate is concerned, we should consider and put our heads together and see if the qualifications of candidates are, in a way, such as would bring to the legislatures people who would really be capable of shouldering their responsibilities. No doubt it is a superstition with western democratic method that each one who has a vote is also eligible for becoming a candidate. But I do not think that it is absolutely necessary for the purposes of democracy to follow this tradition of western countries. We can as well think about the important consideration that we want a legislator who is not merely a representative but also a representative who can legislate and who has a certain perspective. While we are speaking in terms of nationalism, unitary government, strong Centre etc., all these words would be useless and meaningless if we do not have in our legislatures people who have this perspective and who can look upon every piece of legislation with this perspective and in this context. The Constitution, after all, draws its force from the people who work in and if we are not able to send to the legislatures people who can understand, who can grasp the spirit of the whole Constitution, I think it would be very difficult to work it for what it is worth. I want to point out that there are some more considerations of this type which experience has brought home to us during the past one year, and they should stand us in good stead in considering the Draft that is before us.
Another important point which has been harped upon from this platform is about linguistic provinces and the question of language. The battle of languages has been or is being fought almost from day to day - it comes up in a number of dubious ways. But I think that when once we have all agreed that there should be a lingua franca, a national language, I do not think that we should quarrel any more about details and emphasise unnecessarily the point that our Constitution itself should be in that language. With due respect to the Hindi language - or Hindustani or whatever we may call it - I should say that it has not yet developed the connotations, that are necessary for its free use in legalistic and constitutional works as well as constitutional methods and interpretation. Therefore, it is absolutely necessary that we should wait a little more before we rush in that way. I would plead that we should pass the Constitution in the English language and we should also have a good Hindi translation of it, but so far as an authoritative version is concerned, for the next few years the English one should be that authoritative version. That, of course, is my humble opinion.
Now, the old hatred or rather the dislike for the English language must really lapse with the 15th of August1947. Before the 15th August 1947, we were using the English language as slaves, and therefore we ought to have felt the revulsion that we were feeling. But today, it is out of choice, out of the merits of that language possibly, out of the difficulties of the situation, on account of the heterogeneous languages which so many of us speak that we take to it, we rely on it for some period; and that I think should be the best way of doing things. It is from the point of view of arriving at the highest common measure, what maybe called the highest common factor, that we ought to look at this problem; then I hope we shall be coming to a very good conclusion and a harmonious one.
Now about linguistic provinces. The question is before the Commission that has been appointed by the President of our Assembly; it is premature to say anything about it. Really speaking, I wish that none had referred to it from this platform. But since it has been referred to, I should think that this question should not in any way be shelved or postponed since this Constituent Assembly is there; and since we are considering the whole future of the country as well as of the Provinces, it is no use simply brushing it aside saying that there are difficulties in the way. If there are difficulties, well, we are all here to see that those difficulties are removed. I do not think that there are insuperable difficulties which we cannot overcome as a nation. We have overcome greater difficulties, possibly we shall have to overcome far greater difficulties in future, and at such a time it is necessary that each limb of the nation, each group in the country, feels that its future is assured, that its development is assured and that there is no danger of its being suppressed or neglected in the future Constitution of India.
Sir, I once more urge that we should not be in a hurry about this Constitution - it might take a few days more or a few days less. I would urge you to take fully into consideration the experience that we have had during the whole year and bring that experience to bear upon the provisions of the Draft Constitution that we have before us.
With these few remarks, I commend the Draft and congratulate once again the Drafting Committee and its able Chairman and on the way in which he has presented this Draft to this House.
Shri Himmat Singh K. Maheshwari (Sikkim-and-Cooch Behar): Mr. Vice-President, Sir, the House has during the past two days heard some very vigorous and useful criticism son the Draft--before it. It is not my intention to repeat or to paraphrase any of the suggestions that have been made. I shall permit myself to make only one general comment and to make one appeal.
The general comment that I wish to make is that the Draft tends to make people, or will tend to make people, more litigious, more inclined to go to law courts, less truthful and less likely to follow the methods of truth and non-violence. If I may say so, Sir, the Draft is really a lawyers' paradise. It opens up vast avenues of litigation and will give our able and ingenious lawyers plenty of work to do. Whether this will help the nation as a whole, is extremely doubtful.
Many of the provisions of the Draft confer benefits or concessions of a somewhat illusory character. Some of them, in my opinion, are even harmful. The question then is: what is this blemish due to? I shall hazard an answer: the answer is that the raw material out of which this Draft has been made is all foreign. The ideas are foreign, the garb is foreign, and what is more, the form is top-heavy. With these disadvantages I am afraid it was not possible to do much better than what the Committee has done. Whether at this stage it will be possible to remove these defects I am unable to say. But I wish to put in a strong plea that when the Draft is examined clause by clause by the House, every effort should be made to expunge all unnecessary provisions and provisions which might more conveniently be left for legislation by the Dominion Parliament in future.
The appeal which I wish to make to the House is in connection with a subject which has been touched upon by an umber of speakers today and yesterday. It is in connection with reservation of seats in the legislatures for the minorities--Muslims, Sikhs, Scheduled Castes and others. My friend Mr. Karimuddin sounded a very healthy note yesterday when he opposed reservation of seats for Muslims. From my personal experience in the State which I represent, I am able to say that the refusal to grant separate electorates and the refusal to grant reservation of seats in the legislatures to Muslims during the last 25 or 30 years has had the most beneficial results in my State. The result has been that Hindus and Muslims have always been on the most friendly terms and have, even during the troublous times of 1946, 1947 and this year, remained on the most friendly terms without breaking each others' heads. They co-operate in every field of life and are the best of friends. Reservations are bound to encourage separatism and postpone at least for some time the realisation of the dream which we have, namely, that of evolving a truly secular State. As long as any community demands and gets reservation of seats in the legislatures a truly secular State, in my opinion, must remains a distant dream. I therefore make a most earnest appeal to my friends of all minority communities to drop their claim for reservations voluntarily so that this Constitution may start off as a truly democratic, virile, strong Constitution without any drawbacks to begin with. One of our Sikh friends yesterday, as far as I could understand him, also put in a plea I believe against reservation. That is a very healthy sign. I have still to hear what the Scheduled Castes in this House have to say. Personally, Sir, I have always felt that giving any person the name of a Scheduled Caste involves a stigma.
(At this stage the bell was rung indicating that the Member's time was up.)
I bow to your call, Sir. I have said nearly all that I wanted to say.
Mr. Vice-President: The House stands adjourned till 10o'clock on Monday, the 8th November 1948.