Constituent Assembly Of India -Volume IX
Dated: September 06, 1949
The Constituent Assembly of India met in the Constitution Hall, New Delhi, at Nine of the Clock, Mr. President (The Honourable Dr. Rajendra Prasad) in the Chair.
Sixth Schedule- (contd.) Paragraph 2 The Honourable Dr. B. R. Ambedkar (Bombay General): Sir, I beg to move:
This amendment is introduced because it was felt that the original number forty might be too large.
Sir, I move:
The reason why the deletion is made is-because we propose to leave the delimitation of constituencies to rules rather than provide it in the Constitution itself.
Sir, I move:
This was omitted from the rule-making powers.
Shri Kuladhar Chaliha (Assam: General): Sir, I move:
Para. 2 sub-para. (5) reads:
The Nagas are a very primitive and simple people and they have not forgotten their old ways of doing summary justice when they have a grievance against anyone. If you allow them to rule us or run the administration it will be a negation of justice or administration and it will be something like anarchy. If you see, the background of this Schedule you will find that the British mind is still there. There is the old separatist tendency and you want to keep them away from us. You will thus be creating a Tribastan just as you have' created a Pakistan. The ultimate result will be that you will create a Communistan, and hence it is that I am suggesting this amendment "subject to such directions as may be given by the Governor or by the Legislature of the State.
There are so many people of our country, so many Assamese, Punjabis and Sikhs-all people of the country. You cannot consign them to mis-rule, to a primitive rule, It is impossible that they should remain such. It is said that they are very democratic people, democratic in the way of taking revenge; democratic in the way that they first take the law into their own hands. And it is threatened by some that they are so democratic that they will chop off our heads. They have not been able to chop off our heads for the last three thousand years and till 1948 they have not been able to do anything, and we are not afraid that they will chop off our head if they are not given independence of administration. It is a threat which is useless and worthless. We should not be frightened by these threats of some people who say that they will come down on us. This is intended to be imposed on us by the threats of some people, and we should be aware of these interested persons. There is no need to keep any Tribalstan away from us so that in times of trouble they will be helpful to our enemies.
In the subsequent provisions of this Schedule you will find that an Act of Parliament cannot be imposed on them unless they consent to it. Have you ever heard that an Act of Parliament cannot be applicable to any people unless they agree to it ? Such a thing is impossible and therefore I say that this Schedule has been conceived in a way the background of which is to keep them away from us and to create a Tribalstan. And the result will be that there will be a Communistan there. The Communists will come and they will have a free hand, as in Manipur one of the Ministers was already a Communist. Your Governor will not be able to act, your Parliament will not be able to act. If you go on like this we will have no government there. The whole Schedule is conceived in a way which is a negation of government. As such I commend this to the consideration of the Drafting Committee. I commend this to Dr. Ambedkar who should think over again and not conceive it in the way they have conceived this schedule.
Mr. President: You may move No. 257 also.
Shri Kuladhar Chaliha: Sir, I move:
The Naga Hills contain only a lakh and seventy thousand people and it contains about ten tribes. If you give them for every district twenty-four members it will be too much. They will quarrel among themselves. The less the number the better. Therefore I have suggested in my amendment fifteen for twenty-four and one-third will be nominated by the Governor. In order to make a proper proportion ten will be elected and five will be selected by the Governor. Therefore I commend this amendment to the House. It is no one having twenty-four. It is much too many. There are ten tribes having a population of about 1,70,000 and the villages or tribes will be about from 1,000 to 2.000 per ten tribes. They ought not to have so many members. It will be only giving cause for trouble. As such the number should be less. I should say that the number should even have been five. It should not be so much, as it will lead only to interminable quarrels and trouble to the Governor and trouble to us.
(Amendment No. 3493 was not moved.)
Mr. President: Nos. 109,. 110, 111 and 112 are-based upon 3493. They do not therefore arise now.
Shri Brajeshwar Prasad (Bihar: General): This can very well fit in as an independent amendment as well. I will move only 110 and make a few general observations.
Sir. I beg to move:
I am thoroughly opposed to paragraph 2. I am opposed to the division of India into Provinces. I can never be a party to dividing Assam into a large number of sub-Provinces. This is exactly what sub-paragraph (4) of paragraph 2 does. I am opposed to the District Councils and Regional Councils because they will lead to the establishment of another Pakistan in this country. I stand second to none in my enthusiasm for social, educational and cultural advancement in the tribal areas of Assam. For it is on the achievement of these 'objectives that the security of the State can be guaranteed. But the step that we have taken is neither in accord with the general well-being of the tribals nor with the interests of the people of India as a whole.
The responsibilities of parliamentary life can be shouldered by those who are competent, wise, just and literate. To vest wide political powers into the hands of tribals; is the surest method of inviting chaos, anarchy and disorder throughout the length and breadth of this country.
I may be confronted with the question "What will you say to the tribals if they come and tell you that they want political autonomy and all the powers that have been vested in the District and Regional Councils ?" I will never concede this demand. I am not in favour of the principle of self-determination. I believe in the principle of the greatest good of the greatest number. I will not jeopardise the interest of India at the altar of the tribals. The principle of self-determination has worked havoc in Europe. It has been responsible for two world wars in my life-time. It led to' the vivisection of India, arson, loot, murder and the worst crimes upon women and children. It led to the assassination of Mahatma Gandhi. I do not find myself equal to the task of supporting the formation of these District and Regional Councils on the ground that the principle of self-determination must be supported by all. Let those who believe in political shibboleths support the provisions of paragraphs 2. I am strongly opposed to it.
The argument may be raised that we are doing nothing new in vesting powers into the District and Regional Councils.
Democratic institutions exist in the tribal areas. Paragraph 2 only gives constitutional recognition to the existing state of affairs. Sir, I am not impressed by these arguments. If there is an evil it must be suppressed, however old it may be. Another argument may be advanced that the Scheduled areas and the reforms that have been incorporated are based upon the report of the Tribal Committee of which Shri Thakkar Bapa was the Chairman and that it had the support of the Premier of Assam. I hold the view that the political implications of that report have not been grasped. We are doing a great disservice to the people of this country as a whole. Frankly stated, my own view is that you should be appealed to direct the Drafting Committee to reconsider this Schedule. We are jeopardising the interests of the whole country. This is not a question in which the people of Assam only are concerned. This is a question which affects the whole of India. This question affects the defence of the country as a whole. I hope my friends from Assam 'will rise to the occasion and treat the question in that light. I request you, Sir, to send back this Schedule to the Committee for re-consideration. This should be re-drafted on the lines of the Fifth Schedule. The existing Schedule Six bristles with difficulties and it may lead to anarchy and chaos later on unless it is suitably amended now.
Mr. President: Amendment No .192 standing in the name of Mr. Naziruddin Ahmad need not be moved. These are all the amendments to be moved.
The Honourable Shri Gopinath Bardoloi (Assam: General): Mr. President, Sir, I did not want to participate in this debate. But it seems to me that many Members are not fully cognizant of the tribal situation in Assam, and what is more, many have not been able to appreciate the background of the recommendations of the Advisory Sub-Committee set up by the Constituent Assembly for the purpose of enquiring into the tribal situation in Assam.
I wish to state, Sir, that there are three categories of tribals in Assam. There are the plains tribals-- men who were the original inhabitants and who have a culture and civilization of their own. They were gradually absorbed into the folds and the culture of other plains people, to put more appropriately the Aryan culture. These people have now been classed with the minorities, just as the Scheduled classes and they have been granted the same rights as the other minority community.
Then there are the hill tribes proper. These again can be divided into two clear categories. One such class of hill tribes is administered by the Governor as, the Agent of, the Governor-General of India and the other class, coming under the Sixth Schedule, is proposed to be administered as autonomous groups. We are not concerned with the first category in the Sixth Schedule except to extent of the provision contained in paragraph 17 which says that any area now administered by the Governor as the Agent of the Governor-General, can be brought under the category of autonomous districts in his discretion only under certain circumstances. For that purpose the Governor has been given power as mentioned by me under paragraph 17.
Now I would like to give this information to the House that in the Agency area these tribes have no self-governing institutions of their own at the present moment. The draft Constitution provides that these areas should be administered directly by the Governor without any restriction whatsoever, But the time may come when they may become fit to govern themselves. The proposal is that at that time they may be brought under the category of autonomous districts. These areas lie on the northern banks of the Brahmaputra on the foothills of the Himalayas. The others who come under the category of autonomous districts are those who inhabit the southern bank of the river bordering Burma and Pakistan. There are some six different types of tribes among them and the autonomous districts are envisaged for them. Now I want to place before you the, background in which this draft had to be formulated. It is not unknown to you that the rule of the British Government and the activities of the foreign Missions always went together. These areas were formerly entirely excluded areas in the sense that none from the plains could go there and contact them. That was the position till 15th August 1947, when India became independent. The foreign rulers till then had in these are I as power to send out of the place anyone they desired within 24 hours, Again, Sir, some of these areas were war zones. During the war, the then rulers and officers developed in the minds of these tribal people a sense of separation and isolation and gave them assurances that at the end of the war they will be independent States managing their affairs in their own way. They were led to believe that the entire hill areas would he constituted into a province and put under some irresponsible Governor. You might possibly have read in the papers that plans were hatched in England in which the ex Governors of Assam evidently took part, to create a sort of a Kingdom over there.
Now, with this background, Sir, our investigation began early in 1946, People of this area were already fully suffused with these ideas of isolation :and separation. The most important fact that presented itself before this ,Committee was whether for the purpose of integration the methods of force. the methods of the use of the Assam Rifles and the military forces, should be used, or a method should be used in which the willing co-operation of these people could be obtained for the purpose of governing these areas.
Sir, it is necessary to mention here that there are certain institutions among these hill tribals which, in my opinion, are so good that, if we wanted to destroy them, I considered it to be very wrong. One of the things which I felt was very creditable to these tribals 'was the manner in which they settle their disputes. Cases which would go in the name of murder according to our Penal Code were settled by these people by the barest method of Panchayats decision and by payment only of compensation. Then, the democracy which prevails there--through limited in the, sense it is confined only to the tribals of a clan or region-will rouse the admiration of any disinterested student. And again take the instance of their village administration. The district authorities have indeed very little to concern themselves with the way things go on there. Take again the case of Ao Nagas who distributed the entire functions of the society through certain age groups of people in their society. The boys would perform certain simple functions, leaving the sturdier functions of the State to the adults, while the elders would give their judgments in cases of disputes and order distribution of lands for jhuming and things of that kind. In other words, they are exercising a certain amount of autonomy which, I thought. and the members of the Tribal Sub-Committee thought, should be preserved rather than destroyed. What is necessary for good government is already there.
It is true that some of these tribal people sometimes indulge in head hunting, but it should be clearly understood that this is only when there is enmity of one clan against another. These people nurtured a spirit of collective hatred in them for generations. The point therefore that presented itself to us was whether we should raise in their a spirit of enmity and hatred by application of force or whether we should bring them up under the broad principle of government by good will and love. The Advisory Committee thought that the latter course was the course that should be ;adopted, I myself am a firm believer in Gandhian principles. If therefore Gandhian methods are to be followed. there is no alternative but to adopt the course which we have thought was the best method. Now, with that background the draft was prepared and was placed before, you. In the meantime, great changes have come in the structure of the Government of India. lore powers are being vested in the Centre today than it was contemplated then. Therefore those powers at present have to be put in the appropriate place. The trend of criticism on the amendments that have been submitted seems to indicate that we gave more powers to these autonomous Councils, perhaps very much beyond what the State Legislature of Assam could. I do not agree with this view. As a matter of fact, most of these provisions are nothing more than translating something which already prevails in the tribal societies, and therefore we are not giving too much as has been pointed out by some of my friends.
Then coming to the amendments which have been moved by Mr. Chaliha, excepting for what he was objecting to that a particular place Dimapur, has been included in the Naga Hills, the rest have all been accepted by the Drafting Committee. It is true that the, area was included in the Naga Hills only for administrative convenience. The Drafting Committee have however provided for two things. First, that any area as a whole could be excluded from the autonomous district Secondly it has also been provided that the men who are living there or similar area shall have the right of exercising their vote in a neighbouring general constituency.
I submit, therefore, that nothing has been proposed here which is not in line with the pattern and the structure of the Constitution which we are framing for the whole of India, and that wherever there was any anomaly, that anomaly has been removed. That is all that I have to say. I therefore request that the Movers of these amendments take into consideration the background of the draft and also the peculiar conditions which prevailed in the hills before.
Shri Rohini Kumar Chaudhuri (Assam: General): May I ask the honourable Member to refer to that provision of the new Constitution whereby the people non-tribal people-living in a tribal area can exercise their choice in areas not included in the tribal area? In the first, place the tribal areas as it now stand, are not final. The Governor is given the power of fixing the boundaries. Again 16(a) reads as follows:-
That is the amendment we shall be moving. It would be seen that we have done nothing wrong to anybody of the plains : but have recognized the autonomy of these areas to the extent that the tribes are capable of exercising them.
I hope, Sir, in the. circumstances the amendments that had bee'. given notice of are moved in an appreciative way and not in a spirit of destructive criticism.
Prof. Shibban Lal Saksena (United Provinces: General): Mr. President, Sir. I have very carefully listened to the speech of the Honourable Mr. Gopinath Bardoloi. I do admit that we are not very much conversant with the conditions in the autonomous districts and therefore, I accept what he has said and I also want to assure him that the House will give him fall opportunity to have the government of the area in the way in which he wants it. I do feel, however, that there must be some method by which these autonomous districts should at some later date at least be absorbed in and become part of the normal population of the whole province.The Honourable Dr. B. R. Ambedkar : If you like, Sir, I would make a few observations at this stage and then probably many people may not find it necessary to speak and all these doubts, I think, would have been dispelled.
Prof. Shibban Lal Saksena: I only wanted to say that if this scheme of thing,, is going to be put in a permanent Constitution that will mean that some areas of Assam shall remain beyond the control of Parliament for ever. I want that for ten years, fifteen years. or for a fixed period or time, this may be provided for together with whatever else you want for their welfare, but let us conceive of some time after which these people should become absorbed in and become part of the normal population of the province and it should not be necessary to have a separate province for them. I tried to study the whole Schedule, and I did not find any such provision in the amendments which are to be moved. Dr. Ambedkar has moved article 20 by which Parliament can amend the Schedule, but no method is indicated to bring in those areas into greater affinity with the rest of Assam. This separation will take a permanent character and it may lead to the division of the province itself. The honourable Mr. Gopinath Bardoloi has given us the background under which this has been done, but I do want that with that background, we must foresee the future and should try to amend this Schedule in such a way that after some considerable time, say ten or fifteen years, these Scheduled areas may not be necessary and that they may become part of the whole province of Assam.
Mr. President: Power is given to the Parliament under the paragraph 20 to repeal the whole of the Schedule, if it thinks necessary. What more do you want ?
Prof. Shibban Lal Saksena : Sir, I have referred to this fact in my speech Mr. President: Does Dr. Ambedkar like to say anything at this stage?
The Honourable Dr. B. R. Ambedkar: If you like, Sir, now that Honourable Members want to speak, let them speak.
*Shri Rohini Kumar Chaudhuri: Mr. President, Sir, I have listened with great attention to the speech which has been delivered on the floor of this House on the question of protection of the interests of the tribal people. After having heard the opinion of the tribal Members themselves, after having seen the attitude which has been taken by the non-tribal Members of this House, who have very little information about the conditions obtaining in the tribal areas, the only reaction which has come to my mind is this : India, independent India, we were. It is on account of differences amongst ourselves that India was lost to the Mughals and Pathans. It is on account of a policy of appeasement that we had ultimately to lose some prosperous areas of this India to be lost entirely and to be converted into Pakistan. I want this House and through this House, the people of India to know that on account of the wrong information which the persons in authority have and on account of the want of information of among the persons not in authority, India is going to lose a great deal, and is going to lose entirely the whole of the tribal areas. In truth, Sir I say I have no information worth the name about the tribal areas and at the same time, I shall say that none of my honourable Friends here, not even the Honourable the Premier of Assam, has much of in information about the tribal areas in India. (Hear, hear). The reason is not clue to the negligence or indifference of the Honourable the Premier but is due to the state of things which existed before the independence of this country. The Honourable Premier when he was the Honourable Premier before Independence came to India had not the right to visit the tribal areas; he did not have free access to these areas and he could have gone there only with the Permission of the Governor and not otherwise. That was the position. The Honourable Rev.Nichols Roy who was also one of the Ministers--he too could not have gone to any other tribal areas, except perhaps to Khasi Hills. As a matter of fact he never went anywhere except perhaps to Naga Hills on business. I do not know, but absolutely there was no means of knowledge either by himself or by anybody in the public or by anybody in the Ministry to know about these tribal areas. Sir, these tribal areas were kept as a close preserve by the British people. When the I.C.S. officers came to India, their first concern was to find out territories in the Province of Assam where there were no mosquitoes, there were not lawyers and where there were no public men. That was the first aim of the officers there, and whatever rules they framed for the administration of justice in these hill areas, whatever rules they framed for the conduct of business, these rules were framed in order to keep these tribal areas exclusively as a different country from the rest of India, where Europeans could live as Europeans, enjoying the same climate., enjoying the same authority and enjoying whatever it pleases them to get in India. That was the whole object. That was the object. Therefore, none but the Christian missionaries, and missionaries of no other religion, were allowed to visit those areas. There was no provision in the rules and regulations that a man should be defended by a lawyer or any one of that kind, even in a most serious criminal case, because he had no right to be defended. He can get special permission to be defended; but he had no right to be defended; not to speak of civil courts. No lawyers were allowed to remain in these hills and practise there. No other people were allowed to migrate to these areas except with the permission of the authorities. The British wanted to keep the people of these areas as primitive as possible. I tell you, and the House will be surprised to learn that in the Naga Hills, - Naga means naked, - people used to go about naked in the past. There was a Deputy Commissioner who used to flog any Naga who was dressed in Dhoti. The British wanted the Nagas to remain as they were they should not clothe themselves properly; they should not live like civilised men. That was the position , I may tell you.
*Speech not corrected by the Honourable Member.
Shri Kuladhar Chaliha: Dhoties were not allowed to be worn by the Nagas. That was the order of the Deputy Commissioner all the time.
Shri Rohini Kumar Chaudhuri: What is more, Sir, you will be surprised to learn that before the advent of the British, these Nagas were friendly with the Assamese. They had adopted the Assamese language. This was so till about ten years ago when the Roman script was introduced forcibly by the British officers. Even up to that date Assamese used to be the court language of the Nagas. During the last ten years, they have tried to substitute the ordinary Bengali by the Roman script. The same sort of rules apply to the Balllipara Frontier tract, the Sadiya frontier tract and all the Hill areas, including the Garo hills. In the Garo Hills there are a large number of non-tribal people. Even in the Garo Hills, Assamese and Bengali used to be the court language before in the early days of the British occupation. The British gradually substituted these scripts and language and introduced English. That is how they were doing. I do most regretfully observe that what Dr. Ambedkar is doing in regard to this Schedule VI is that he is closedly, absolutely closely, following, except in some cases, the British method. He is wanting to perpetuate the British method so far as the tribal areas are concerned. This action on his part is due more to ignorance than to intention. I would therefore respectfully submit to this House not to be impatient to reconsider the whole question in its proper perspective. Let this Constitution about the tribal areas be worked out by persons who have a direct and intimate knowledge of the affairs in the tribal areas. None of these persons, I assert with all the emphasis that I can command, neither my honourable Friend Mr. Munshi neither Dr. Ambedkar nor my honourable Friend the Premier of Assam have any intimate knowledge of the affairs going on in the tribal areas. There are good reasons for this; I do not find fault with them. But, after the attainment of reasons for this; I do not find fault with them . But after the attainment of independence, they can acquire that knowledge, they can go about and find out. Let a small committee of this House composed of people of tribals and non-tribals, go round the areas, see the condition of things themselves and let them revise the whole constitution, in this Schedule. That is the only course open now. Unless you wish to lose the entire tribal people, unless you wish to lose control over the tribal areas, the only course which is left open to this House would be to have a small committee consisting of persons in whom we can have confidence. Let them go round the tribal areas and let them revise the whole Constitution. That would be proper method.
We want to assimilate the tribal people. We were not given that opportunity so far. The tribal people, however much they liked, had not the opportunity of assimilation. So much so, that I living in Shillong cannot purchase property from any Khasi except with the permission of the Chief of the State or with the permission of the Deputy Commissioner. I have no right to purchase any property in the tribal areas. An Indian has no right to purchase lands in those areas without the permission of the Deputy Commissioner or the Chief of the State. That ridge is still continued.. If this Constitution is adopted, those disabilities still continue. I am not allowed to associate with the tribal people; the tribals are not allowed to associate with me. Here comes our Friend Mr. Nichols Roy pleading for autonomous districts. Why do you want autonomous districts ? My honourable Friend Mr. Bardoloi says that he wants autonomous districts in order to educate the tribal people in the art of self -government. Why not give them local self-government itself? ( Interruption). You will be surprised to learn that in none of these hills there is a municipality except in the Shillong administered areas. This Municipalities Act of Assam is not in force in any of the tribal areas. The Local Self-Government Act by virtue of which District Boards and Local Boards are formed is not in force in the tribal areas. if you really want to educate the people of the tribal areas in the art of self-government, why do not you introduce this Act in those areas ? Why do you want autonomous districts for these Municipal purposes. Why not introduce the Municipalities Act? Then, they will themselves know the art of self-government. Why do you want to dissociate them from us by creating these autonomous districts which will remain autonomous? Do you want an assimilation of the tribal and non-tribal people, or do you want to keep them separate? If you want to keep them separate, they will combine with Tibet, they will combine with Burma, they will never combine with the rest of India, you may take it from me.
Shri Jaipal Singh ( Bihar:General): Question.
Shri Kuladhar Chaliha: Mr. Jaipal Singh attend the British club in Shillong.
Shri Rohini Kumar Chaudhuri: This autonomous district is a weapon whereby steps are taken to keep the tribal people perpetually away from the non-tribals and the bond of friendship which we expect to come into being after the attainment of independence would be torn as under. During the British days, we were not allowed to introduce our culture among those people. Even after the British have gone, we find the same conditions in the new Constitution of Dr. Ambedkar.
Shri A.V. Thakkar ( Saurashtra): May I ask my honourable Friend if this cannot be changed by a change in the Constitution by a good majority, say a two -third majority?
Shri Rohini Kumar Chaudhuri: It can be changed. Therefore, I most respectfully request the Members of the House who do not belong to Assam and take more interest in this province of Assam. It is important that the honourable Members do so and agree to the formation of a Committee, an intelligent committee, to let them go round those areas and see things for themselves, speak to them and gain personal knowledge. You will find that this hatred on this part of the tribals is a thing invented by interested persons. Formerly, there were inter-marriages between the tribal and non-tribals. This hatred is being continued by interested persons.
Shri Lakshminarayan Sahu ( Orissa:General): Mr. President, I would like to make a few observations with regard to this question. I had gone to Assam in 1938, not for travel but in connection with relief work. In that year, there had been devastating floods in Assam I went there for food relief work and toured every district , but could not go to the Naga Hills. The reason for my not going there would have been clear to you from the speeches so far delivered by other speakers. What was the cause ? I would only like to say that the Nagas are head-hunters; we could not therefore get an opportunity to work among them. Certainly we have to be careful in enacting laws for these people. The regional councils we propose to set up for them, well, in my view neither benefit these people nor us; for these people have got an organisation for each tribe, which is like our panchayat. They hold their Panchayat in every village. Their customs differ from village to village. The regional councils set up there would make uniform laws and these are likely to cause any number difficulties among the various villages. In view of this, I would say that the powers vested in us, the Centre and the States should be kept intact. For a moment let us consider the likely consequences if we delegated these powers to these councils. The result would be that these people would develop on their own lines without in any way being connected with us. It is a period of, say ten years, their ideas would be of an altogether different character, and under the stress of their different ideas they would begin to fight amongst themselves and with us asserting that they are absolutely free. It is therefore, absolutely necessary that we proceed in this matter with the greatest caution and circumspection.
I am working among Kangh people of Orissa, among whom there is a system of human sacrifice. That system has been abolished by law. These people also have considerably changed in this respect. But even these we have often to overlook cases of such sacrifice, because even now there are cases of human sacrifice. Human sacrifice is done in great secrecy. Even if we come to know of such a case, we do not arrest them. This is the right course to follow. But the people like Kangh tribe who still perform human sacrifice have been included by us in the Constitution. Then why should we free the Nagas at once? I understand that we cannot bring them very much under the provisions of law; still we should see that we are trying to unite India into a common bound and as such we should not keep them aloof, out of fear. I therefore, wish that we should think over this and not hurry in the matter, for we can be strong only by doing so.
I would like to make one further observation. Mr. Rohini Kumar Chaudhuri has stated that he can not purchase land in Khasi Hills, even though he lives in Shillong. We have got a similar law in Orissa and we wish that none should be able to take away land from the aboriginals since they do not understand their own economic interest. There should be an independent act for the lands and we have therefore, provided for it. We wish to make the law stricter so that any outsider who is not an aboriginal, should not be able to purchase land. Shri Rohini Babu has complained that he can not purchase land. But this must be the case, because till those people acquire some capacity for judgement, we should protect them by law. I would therefore like that, despite these Acts, we should confer such powers on this Council, that it may have a beneficial effect on their customs and traditions. By doing so we would be able to bring Naga Hills in line with the rest of India, because we regard them as a part of us and we should try strongly to bring them into our fold; we should not leave them aloof, for after ten years some difference may be created between them and us. We should therefore take this into consideration and make some modifications, and the differences of opinion between Premier Bardoloi and Rohini Babu and Shri Kuladhar Chaliha, should be taken into consideration though our respects are due to them. Shri Jaipal Singh: Mr. President, Sir, I must confess that I have been shocked by the amount of venom that has been poured forth this morning by some of the Members against what they imagine the tribal people of Assam are going to do, if this or that is passed by this House. I wish that some of these Members were present when the Tribal Committee met when the Honourable Sardar Patel explained why he also had accepted the recommendations of the Tribal Sub-Committee for Assam. May I simply repeat what he said? It was after considerable difficulty and negotiations that the tribal people of Assam were persuaded to agree to the recommendations. There was a definite understanding on the part of the rest of India that those agreements, those understandings would be honoured. It was definitely on that understanding that the tribal people agreed to do away with the agitation that has been inspired by the departing rulers. I wish people would talk with knowledge. The learned Ambassador in Moscow; the day he left, gave us two solutions for dealing with situations. One was the power solution, the other was the knowledge solution. The vehement language of some of our Members inclines towards power solutions. They want to force the people of Assam to do things against their wishes and expressed will. I suggest that is no solution at all. If you do that you are certainly going to bring about what you fear. You are not going to obviate, but you are going to bring about a further disintegration of India. It is useless now to blackguard the British for what they did and what their motives were in doing things in a certain way. What purpose does that blackguarding serve? Now, the whole matter is in our hands. Let us be statement like in handling these problems. It does no one any good to suspect the intentions of the tribal people of Assam. Do my friends believe that the Naga is not a man of his word? Do they mean that the people of the Lushai Hills are trying to deceive us? What do they mean? There is the definite understanding between the leaders and the Tribal Sub-Committee that went round the place. Then why this doubt? I know there were difficulties in some of their trips. The Sub-Committee were prevented from going to some places, I know that. But all these obstructive tactics were inspired, we have got concrete evidence of that . And now the British are gone and it is for us to handle the situation. The idea of subjugating the tracts by requisitioning the Assam Frontier Rifles and so forth will not work. We must inspire confidence in our fellow citizens, in the hearts of the tribals of those hills. Let us do that and let us do it genuinely and sincerely, and not try to run them down and think of them as though they were hostile to the Indian Union. They are not. My friends complain that they have not been into these tracts. That is exactly the reason why they should be a bit chary of talking about these tribes.
I wish the country, as a whole, would appreciate the difficulty of my friend, the Honourable Shri Gopinath Bardoloi, the difficulties that he and his colleagues have ahead of them in coming into the picture for the first time, as far as the fully excluded areas of Assam are concerned. I do not think it is quite correct to say that it was altogether impossible for non-tribals to get into those tracts. Certainly, the so-called agitators were precluded, and were prevented from entering those areas. That is perfectly true. But I do not think it can ever be said that social workers were also equally prevented. I do not think that can be said. Assam is a very difficult province. The inter-group hostilities are not confined to the hill tracts only. What about the hostilities that exist, shall we say, between the hills and plains people? What about the hostilities that exist, say between the plains tribals and the hill tribals, I could go on. But it will be out of place now to harp on this sort of thing. But the hill people have agreed....
Shri Kuladhar Chaliha: May I know from the honourable Member if he can mention any instance of hostility between the plain tribals and the hill tribals ? Can he give one instance? There is no use making generalisations, unless he can give us instances.
Shri Jaipal Singh: I do not think, Sir, it is necessary for me to go into details. I do not think it is necessary . If the House wants to accept my statement, it is there for it to accept. But I do maintain that there are various kinds of hostilities. Fortunately, in the new set-up we have an opportunity to forget the past and to make a happy beginning, in the beginning of which the hill people have given us their assurance, and I am very glad that the Tribals Sub-Committee have gone as far as they can, to accommodate the wishes of those hill tribes. And the tribal people themselves the hill tribal people themselves also have climbed down, if I may say so, to meet the wishes of the leaders of the Province. There is no question of keeping the hill tracts permanently in water-tight compartments. It is not good for them. It is not good for Assam, nor for the rest of India. That will not happen. The world is getting smaller and smaller every day whether you like it or not. India cannot isolate itself from the rest of the world, not can the hill tribes. And more so after all these hill tracts have been occupied by the various warring forces in the last global war. They are no longer inaccessible. Now ideas have penetrated the tracts, these mountainous tracts that were previously inaccessible. The position has completely changed. There is a new outlook. It is no good trying to think of the Naga as the eternal head-hunter. I wish people would read Haimendorf's The Naked Nagas and try to understand these people even if they have not been to the Naga Hills. let them understand what are the ideas that work behind the mind of the Naga. There are several books on these people. I know some of my friends think that just because these books happen to be written by non-Indians, they are worthless. That is a kind of attitude for which I have absolutely no use. There have been scientists, there have been anthropologists and various others who have written books, on the Assam hill tribes, and I would only wish that some of my friends had read some of them; and then they would have realised that the problems that my friend Shri Bardoloi and his colleagues have to tackle in the future are really immense, and I am indeed very glad that he has taken courage in his hands and he is confident the pattern of government, the pattern of administration that the sub-committee has recommended, while it may not be exactly all that he would like it to be, certainly gives him an opportunity to unite Assam, which in the past has been kept more or less in water-tight compartments. I would appeal to Members to be generous in what they say about the tribal people, to be generous to them and not think as if they were enemies of India. That seems to be the idea lurking in the minds of some here. They seem to think that they are going to get out of India and join Burma or join the communists or something like that. I am not pessimistic. Indeed I am very optimistic about the future of Assam particularly if the Sixth Schedule even with all its shortcomings, is operated in the spirit in which it should be operated, in a spirit of accommodation and in the real desire to serve the hill people of Assam, as our compatriots, and as people whom we want to come into our fold, as people whom we will not let go out of our fold and for whom we will make any amount of sacrifice so that they may remain with us.
Shri A.V. Thakkar: Mr. President, Sir, I consider it my duty to speak on this subject, as I happen to be one of the members of the committee appointed to enquire into the tribal matters of Assam. Unfortunately, I was laid up for some of the time when the Committee was on tour, and therefore I could not visit all the parts that the Committee visited. But I can say that I have good knowledge, and I have visited the Lushai Hills, though not the Naga Hills. But the Naga Hills were visited by me as early as the year 1926. I visited Kohima with the kind permission of our Friend Mr. Muhammad Sa'adulla who was one of the ministers then, and I was able to see Kohima, the headquarters, the capital of the Naga Hills. At that time I could see that the Nagas were really naked Nagas, though perhaps now we may not be able to see them naked. But I am very much ashamed at the ignorance we are all showing about the knowledge of the tribals in Assam especially. ( Hear, hear). Even of my Friend Shri Rohini Kumar Chaudhuri, I would say that.
First I will try to answer my Friend Mr. Lakshminarayan Sahu. He was talking about Orissa, but not of the current century, but of the last century, of the year 1846 when one Mr. MacDonald suppressed maria or human sacrifice ceremony. But why does he talk of things which existed one hundred years ago now in the year 1949? He was right in saying that at the present moment we do hear of complaints about human sacrifices being made even at the present day. But do not murders take place nowadays? Do not dacoities take place nowadays? Do not firings take place nowadays? Similarly, maria sacrifice that existed in the year 1850 does exist in the year 1949 or even 1950. Why compare that old state of things with the present state of things?
Talking of Mr. Rohini Kumar Chaudhuri's remarks, I am afraid he has brought Assam politics into this Constituent Assembly. Let me ask him, Sir, with your permission as to why he did not offer evidence before the Tribal Committee that was touring in Assam. It was open to him to do it, it was open to him to give all his views about autonomous districts or about regional councils or anything else that was contemplated. Not that he was not in the know of it- he could have easily known it from all the Members of the Committee who were friends of his and who were colleagues of his. He could have done that, but he did not care to do so.
Talking of Nagas, I was the other day talking with my honourable Friend the Rev. Nichols Roy. He reminded me of the fact that there were seven sub-divisions amongst the Nagas each having a different dialect of its own. I had read this many years ago but had forgotten it, he reminded me of the same. And who does not know even at the present time of the system of head-hunting that prevails among the Nagas? They are so ill-developed, they are so much behind in civilisation that they go and fight with their neighbouring villagers, not to speak about the fight with the plains tribes about whom our friend Mr. Jaipal Singh was speaking-but of one tribe of Nagas killing another tribe of Nagas, Ao Nagas and Sema Nagas, and cutting off their heads and putting them on the door tops as a memento of their victory. Even last year when a friend of mine visited the Naga hills, he said there were 150 cases being conducted in the court of law wherein 150 people were charged with head-hunting or taking part in it at the present day. Now, what do you say of such a thing as that? Why take no notice of such a state of things existing at the present day? The Committee, with its own difficulties, tried to inquire into the state of affairs not only the Nagas but of all the tribal area people and came to this particular conclusions on which is based Schedule No. VI. The Nagas are a very difficult race to deal with, I know. We had a Naga member on the Committee, Mr. Imti was his name. He was a graduate of the Calcutta University. Somehow or other he worked with the Committee for some time but afterwards withdrew because he was persuaded by his other Naga friends not to work with the Committee, not to give his helping hand and not to be one of us. That was an unfortunate thing.
Shri Kuladhar Chaliha: Mr. Imti is a man of Golaghat is a Christian and was brought up at Golaghat itself. Shri A.V. Thakkar: Is he not a Naga? Shri Kuladhar Chaliha: He is not. He was born and bred in Golaghat.
Shri A.V. Thakkar: But he is a tribal man, there is no doubt about that. I am sorry, my information is that he is a Naga-that is what he himself told me.
Shri Jaipal Singh: He is a Naga.
Shri A.V. Thakkar: He is a Christian, but what does it matter? He is an Ao Naga, that is what my other friends told me. If you like I will ask him by a special letter whether he is a Naga or a Mihir. But that does not change the question.
The Committee tried its best and put forward the proposal which was acceptable not only to the Committee but also to the various tribes themselves, I mean this system of autonomous districts. When I heard first of the proposal of these autonomous districts, I myself too was surprised, let me tell you, because I had never heard of autonomous districts in any part of India elsewhere. But I came to know afterwards by the persuasion of friends that this is the only possible way there and that therefore the system of autonomous districts should be kept there for future modifications when the proper time comes for the same. There is no reason why we should fear this autonomous districts business and should not make the most of it, as if it were giving away or making States within States for or permanent period. It is not for a permanent period. All constitutions are changeable, all laws are changeable and we can change the law, change the constitution, when you think the time is ripe for it. In the meantime let us all study the question of the tribals as best as we can.
The Honourable Rev. J. J. M. Nichols Roy ( Assam General): Mr. President, Sir, some of the aspersions that have been made here are really very unfortunate and they are based on a lack of knowledge of the conditions of the hills people in Assam. I wish that those honourable gentlemen, my friends who come from Assam, had visited these places, had mixed with the people and had known the feelings of these people, had known the desire of these people as expressed in meetings, in Committees and before the Sub-Committee also of which I was a member. Sir, the first principle for bringing about a feeling of reconciliation between people who are estranged from one another is that one must place himself in the place of another. I wish some of my friends who had spoken would place themselves in the place of these tribal people, place themselves in their conditions, study their views, realise what their ambitions and their aspirations are, and whether it they were in that place they would like those feelings and aspirations to be crushed to pieces and themselves just cowed down by the sword, or whether they would like to be won by love and by association and by the gradual understanding of one another. The attitude manifested in the way that speeches have been delivered by some friends of mine here perhaps due to lack of knowledge, if kept up, would actually upset the good association between the hills people and the gentlemen who have spoken; but I thank God for a leader like the Honourable Mr. Gopinath Bardoloi who is known to be very kind and sympathetic to all these hills people and who has been respected by these hill tribes wherever he had been, and who has studied, very closely the position of these hill tribes.
I myself being a hillman, know what I feel. Being a Christian, I want universal brotherhood everywhere. I want this in the whole of India and in the fold of the tribal people also. Therefore, when I speak in this House, I speak with the knowledge of the feelings of the hill tribes. I speak also with a sense of universality and brotherhood of mankind. I speak keeping in view the high ideal of raising all people to the same level.
It is said by one honourable gentleman that the hill tribes, have to be brought to the culture which he said "Our culture" meaning the culture of the plains men. But what is culture? Does it mean dress or eating and drinking. If it means eating and drinking or ways of living, the hill tribes can claim that they have a better system than some of the people of the plains. I think the latter must rise upto their standard. Among the tribesmen there is no difference between class and class. Even the Rajas and Chiefs work in the fields together with their labourers. They eat together. Is that practised in the plains? The whole of India has not reached that level of equality. Do you want to abolish that system? Do you want to crush them and this their culture must be swallowed by the culture which says one man is lower and another higher. You say " I am educated and you are uneducated and because of that you must sit at my feet". That is not the principle among the hill tribes. When they come together they all sit together whether educated, or uneducated, high or low. There is that feeling of equality among the hill tribes in Assam which you do not find among the plains people.
Let me read some of the statements made by the Assam Government regarding the hill areas:
These people have come there from outside. They have never been under a Hindu or Muslim rule. They had their own rule, their own language, court and culture. To say that the culture of these people must be swallowed by another culture, unless it is a better culture and unless it be by a process of gradual evolution, is rather very surprising to anyone who wants to build up India as a nation and bring all people together.
Then it is said here:
"The manifold languages belong to the Tibeto-Burman linguistic family with the exception of Khasi, which belongs to the Mon-Khmer family. None of these languages is spoken elsewhere in India."
The Hindus do not eat beef but the tribesmen do. The Muslims do not eat pork but the Tribal people do. Therefore these people cannot be either Hindus or Muslims. The Government report is that the people of the hills have their own culture which is sharply differentiated from that of the plains. The social organisation is that of the village, the clan and the tribe and the outlook and structure are generally strongly democratic. There is no system of caste or purdah and child marriage is not practised.
So that is the culture of the hill tribes. India should rise to that feeling or idea of equality and real democracy which the tribal people have. They should not for a second think that these people should give up their democracy and equality and be swallowed up by another culture which is quite different from what they have been used to, and which is considered by them not at all suitable to their Society.
To say that these tribesmen will be inimical or they would raid Assam or go over to Tibet if this Sixth Schedule is introduced in these areas is rather surprising. This idea is based on wrong understanding of facts and a wrong psychological approach to the problem of bringing the hill folks and the plains people together. This schedule has given a certain measure of self-government to these hill areas but the laws and regulations to be made by the District Councils are subject to the control and assent of the Governor of Assam. What is more unifying than that? The sub-committee for the tribal areas in Assam recommended that these districts mentioned in this Sixth Schedule should have a sort of self-government, to rule themselves according to their culture and genius. The Congress principle has been to allow each group to grow according to their own genius and culture. If that be so, the sub-committee did the right thing by recommending this kind of local self-government for these hill areas but they will be subject to the control of the Governor of Assam. Even the laws and regulations which will be made by these districts councils will be subject to the assent of the Governor. The Governor may withhold his assent. Where there is the Pakistanising influence there mentioned by certain speaker. The provisions of the Sixth Schedule satisfy these people to a certain extent and at the same time joins them to the rest of the province.
There is another point which must be considered in this connection. To keep the frontier areas safe these people must be kept in a satisfied condition. You cannot use force upon them. Human nature is such that when you use force to make a people do something they run to somebody else. If you want to win them over for the good of India you will have to create a feeling of friendliness and unity among them so that they may feel that their culture and ways of living have not been abolished and another kind of culture thrust upon them by force. That is why the sub-committee though that the best way to satisfy these people is to give them a certain measure of self-government so that they may develop themselves according to their own genius and culture. That will satisfy them and they will feel that India is their home and they will not think of joining Tibet or Burma. But if you were to follow some of the ideas advanced by one or two honourable Members of this House, it will not be a unifying influence but an influence which will divide these hill tribes from India and that will be very unfortunate indeed. I was somewhat surprised at the statement made by one of my honourable friends from Assam that even the Premier of Assam did not know the conditions of these people. I think that the honourable friend did not visit these areas and does not know their conditions. The Premier of Assam visited these areas and knows their conditions. I know their conditions. I know their feelings. We have met them in big meetings. We have met them in Committees and on several occasions. We have visited them, heard them, and many of them were associates of our sub-committee which went round to find out the conditions of these hill tribes. And many people came to give evidence there and they expressed their feelings. The provisions of the Sixth Schedule are based on the recommendations of the sub-committee after considering the evidence given by these hill people, a few of whom were members of our subcommittee.
Someone spoke as if he is very much interested in the advancement of the hill tribes. I thank that gentleman whoever he may be, for his good motive in desiring the advancement of the hill tribes! But advancement can not come by force. Advancement comes by a process of assimilation of a higher culture, higher mode of thinking and not by force. Advancement will be accepted by the people when you allow them to see something better than what they have. The hillmen realise that their own village councils, or what may be called village panchayats, are much better and more suitable to them than the regular courts and the High Court of Assam. To some of them, it is too expensive to go to the High Court. They have no money for that. Therefore among some of the hill tribes village courts are more suitable to them. The Assam Government is trying to introduce village panchayats even in the plains of Assam. Of course that will take away a very large number of law suits from some of the regular courts, but it will be better for the people themselves. The village councils in the autonomous districts and the District Councils will enable the hills people to rule themselves in their own way and to develop themselves according to their own methods. Why should you deprive the people of the thing which they consider to be good and which does not hurt anybody or earth? It does not hurt India. Why do you not want them to develop themselves in their own way? The Gandhian principle is to encourage village panchayats in the whole of India. Why then should any one object to the establishment of the district councils demanded by the hills people? This measure of self-government will make them feel that the whole of India is sympathetic with them and India is not going to force upon them anything which will destroy their feeling and their culture. I therefore think that unnecessary storm has been raised in this House, and it is not at all palatable, but I hope that a better study will be made of these problems.
I would like very much if Parliament will appoint a committee to see these tribal areas. Perhaps they will see that in some places they are so far advanced that the whole of India must follow their example. In those areas there is no difference between man and woman; the woman does work, goes to the bazars and does all kinds of trade. And she is free. In the plains the woman is just beginning to be free now, and is not free yet. But in some of the hills districts the woman is the head of the family; she holds the purse in her hand, and she goes to the fields along with the man. Women and men are not ashamed of any kind of labour there. In the plains of Assam there are some people who feel ashamed to dig earth. But the hillman is not so. Will you want that kind of culture to be imposed upon the hillman and ruin the feeling of equality and the dignity of labour which is existing among them? Why talk of culture. There is some kind of culture in the hills areas which is far better than what is obtaining in the plains. Therefore the Sub-Committee on the tribes of Assam has decided that this would be the best method of allowing people to grow according to their culture and according to their genius and at the same time to become unified with the whole of India.
Shri Rohini Kumar Chaudhuri: Why do you make propaganda against our people? Do not we dig earth in our villages and raise houses ? Why do you vilify our people?
The Honourable Rev. J. J. M. Nichols Roy : Many of them do not. I am not vilifying anybody. I am telling facts. The whole of Assam knows that some people in Assam would not dig earth.
Shri Kuladhar Chaliha: Please withdraw your remarks.
Mr. President:The honourable Member has not said anything which requires withdrawal. He is perfectly justified in saying what he has said.
The Honourable Rev. J. J. M. Nichols Roy: I am not vilifying anybody. Some people would not dig earth because of their feeling of superiority. But in the hills areas you do not find anything of that kind. That is a fact which is known throughout Assam. In my own Department - the Public Works Department - we have road earth works and we have to teach some of the local people to do it, and labourers have to be brought from Bihar and Noakhali in order to carry earth and make roads in Assam. That is a fact I am telling.
Shri Rohini Kumar Chaudhuri: Yes, the Honourable Minister has discharged the Hindu workers there and employed Muslims from Noakhali. He is under the impression that we are not able to dig earth.
The Honourable Rev. J. J. M. Nichols Roy: That is a wrong statement altogether.
When I am talking about culture what I mean is this. Labour is an honour to these hills people. No one of them consider that it is beneath their dignity to work. And men and women work together. Even the people who are in big positions in life like Rajahs and Mantris work in the same way as other people, whereas that principle is not found everywhere in India. And India must rise to that place where they feel that there is dignity in labour. When there is such a culture among the hills people why not allow them to develop that and be a little model for all the others- to the good of all India?
Finally, Sir, I support the amendment moved by Dr. Ambedkar. At the same time I must say before I sit down that these hills people feel that even this Sixth Schedule has controlled them too much and that they have not got enough what they would like to have. I think many of us realise that. Even Mr. Bardoloi the honourable Premier of Assam realises that. But under the circumstances we have agreed in order to have a compromise and in order to bring peace between all parties. Therefore do not think that the hill areas have been given too much. They have not been given enough according to their ideas. But at the same time they have been brought under the control of the Governor of Assam. And that is the process by which they will be unified.
Shri H. V. Kamath ( C. P. & Berar:General) May I Sir, suggest that, in view of the widely divergent views expressed regarding this Schedule, the finalisation of it may be postponed to a more propitious day?
Mr. President: I will call upon Dr. Ambedkar to reply. I think we had better finish this now. We have had enough discussion.
The Honourable Dr. B.R. Ambedkar: We have debated this question for two hours and I think the debate was mostly on points that are really not concerned with the Schedule. It is time that we attended to the Schedule itself, unless any particular Member has something very new to say, we need not continue the debate.
Mr. President: I have already called upon you to reply...
The Honourable Dr. B. R. Ambedkar: I am very much obliged to you. Sir, we have two amendments before us and I propose to deal with them before I reply to the general debate.
The first amendment is No.100 moved by Mr. Chaliha. With regard to this, I do not see how it is appropriate in sub-paragraph (5) of paragraph 2. Sub-para (5) merely deals with the jurisdiction of the Regional and District Councils. It has nothing to do with any directions that may be given by the Governor or the legislature of the State. We are simply creating a District Council and a Regional Council. If the honourable Member wanted to move any such amendment he ought to do to the appropriate provision. This Schedule deals with the subject matter with which the District Council and the Regional Council will be concerned. So, I fail to understand altogether the appropriateness of the amendment at this particular place.
With regard to amendment No. 257 whereby the honourable Member seeks to limit the number on the Council to fifteen, it seems to me, again, quite unnecessary, because my own amendment says, not more than twenty-four. Twenty-four is the maximum. Consequently, if it was necessary to have a Council of less than fifteen, even then my amendment should suffice. I, therefore say the amendment No. 257 is quite unnecessary.
Now having disposed of these amendments, I will turn to the general debate on the question whether there should be Regional and District Councils for the purpose of the tribals living in Assam. Sir, in dealing with this matter, I am sorry to say, many Members who took part in the debate did not properly study the provisions contained in this Sixth Schedule. I am sure about it that if they had properly studied the provisions of this Schedule, they would not have raised the point which they raised that by creating these Regional and District Councils we were creating a kind of segregated population. It does nothing of the kind.
Now, the position of the tribals in Assam stand on a somewhat different footing from the position of the tribals in other parts of India.
Shri A. V. Thakkar: Hill tribals please.
The Honourable Dr. B. R. Ambedkar: I am not concerned with the terminology. I am speaking of Assam and other areas for the moment. The difference seems to be this. The tribal people in areas other than Assam are more or less Hinduised, more or less assimilated with the civilisation and culture of the majority of the people in whose midst they live. With regard to the tribals in Assam that is not the case. Their roots are still in their own civilisation and their own culture. They have not adopted, mainly or in a large part, either the modes or the manners of the Hindus who surround them. Their laws of inheritance, their laws of marriage, customs and so on are quite different from that of the Hindus. I think that is the main distinction which influenced us to have a different sort of scheme for Assam from the one we have provided for other territories. In other words, the position of the tribals of Assam, whatever may be the reason for it, is somewhat analogous to the position of the Red Indians in the United States, as against the white emigrants there. Now, what did the Untied States do with regard to the Red Indians? So far as I am aware, what they did was to create what are called Reservations of Boundaries within which the Red Indians lived. They are a republic by themselves. No doubt, by the law of the Untied Stated they are citizens of the United States. But that is only a nominal allegiance to the Constitution of the United States. Factually they are a separate, independent people. It was felt by the United States that their laws and modes of living, their habits and manners of life were so distinct that it would be dangerous to bring them at one shot, so to say, within the range of the laws made by the white people for white persons and for the purpose of the white civilisation.
I agree that we have been creating Regional and District Councils to some extent on the lines which were adopted by the United States for the purpose of the Red Indians. But my point is that those who have based their criticism of the Schedule on this fact, namely that we are creating Regional and District Councils have altogether failed to understand the binding factors which we have introduced in this Constitution. I should therefore like to refer to some of the provisions which nullify this segregation, so to say.
The first thing that we have done is this: That we have provided that the executive authority of the Government of Assam shall extend not merely to non-tribal areas in Assam but also to the tribal areas, that is to say, the executive authority of the Assam Government will be exercised even in those areas which are covered by the autonomous districts. This, as will be seen, is a great improvement over the provisions contained in the Government of India Act, 1935. In the provisions contained in that Act, the executive was divided into two categories, one was called the Government of the province and the other executive was called the Governor in his discretion, so far as the tribal areas were concerned. This applied not only to the tribal areas in Assam, but also to completely excluded areas in other areas. The executive authority which operated upon those areas was not the executive of the province, but the Governor in his discretion. We have abolished that distinction so that the whole of the tribal areas including those in the autonomous districts is now under the authority of the provincial Government. The thing which is a binding thing, to which honourable Members have paid no attention is this. That, barring such functions as law-making in certain specified fields such as money-lending, land and so on, and barring certain judicial functions which are to be exercised in the village panchayats or the Regional Councils or the District Councils, the authority of Parliament as well as the authority of the Assam Legislature extend over the Regional Councils and the District Councils. They are not immune from the authority of Parliament in the matter of law-making, nor are they immune - and that is the aim of the new amendment - from the jurisdiction of the High Court or the Supreme Court. This, I submit is one binding influence.
The other binding influence is this: that the laws made by Parliament and the laws made by the Legislature of Assam will automatically apply to these Regional Councils and to the District Councils unless the Governor thinks that they ought not to apply. In other words, the burden is thrown upon the Governor to show why the law which is made by the Legislature of Assam or by the Parliament should not apply. Generally the laws made by the local Legislature and the laws made by Parliament will also be applicable to these areas. I say that this is another unifying influence,. Yet another unifying influence to which I must make reference is this. We are not saying that the political authority or, power we have given to the tribal people through the constitution of the Regional Councils or the District Councils is all the sphere of influence to which they will be entitled. On the other hand, we have provided that the tribal people who will have Regional Councils and District Councils will have enough representation in the Legislature of Assam itself, as well as in Parliament, so that they will play their part in making laws for Assam and also in making laws for the whole of India. Now, if these cycles of participation, if I may say so, to which I have referred, viz., representation in the legislature of Assam and representation in Parliament, the application of the laws, made by Parliament and the application of the laws made by the Assam Legislature, are not binding forces. I would like to know what greater binding forces we can provide for the purpose of unifying the Regional Councils and the District Councils with the political life of the province as a whole.
I do no therefore agree that in creating the Regional Councils and the District Councils, we have cut up the population of Assam into two water-tight compartments viz. tribals and non-tribals. On the other hand, we have provided, as I have stated, many cycles of participation in which both can politically come together, influence each other, associate themselves with each others, and learn something from one another. I am sure about it that the argument which has been urged against the provision of Regional Councils and District Councils is entirely based upon a misunderstanding and inadequate reading of the other provisions contained in this Schedule.
Sir, I was rather surprised at the attitude taken by my Friend, Mr. Chaliha, in moving his amendment, also at the attitude of my Friend, Mr. Rohini Kumar Chaudhuri. I feel that they are not now a happy and united family. What is the cause of it I do not understand, but I can say that, when these amendments were made, they were made with the consent of Mr. Chaliha, they were made with the consent of the Premier of Assam, and also with the consent of my Friend Mr. Nichols Roy, who is a principal party concerned in this. I see they are now indulging in criticising each other because of factors which lie outside this Schedule. I can not find any other reason for this dissention, for this open dissension and hostility which has been exhibited by one against the other, and I do not wish therefore to enter into what I regard is a purely domestic quarrel.
Shri Rohini Kumar Chaudhuri: Is the Honourable Dr. Ambedkar entitled to make insinuations against us?
The Honourable Dr. B. R. Ambedkar: I am not making any insinuations; I was only saying, Sir, that it was a domestic quarrel into which I would not enter. My own view is that we have made the best provision.
Shri Kuladhar Chaliha: I object to Dr. Ambedkar imputing motive for honest opinion expressed.
The Honourable Dr. B. R. Ambedkar: I am not imputing any motives. Mr. Chaliha was a party to every change that has been made in this Schedule. I would like him to deny that fact. Can he deny it?
Shri Kuladhar Chaliha: Yes, I deny. I told Mr. Bardoloi that I did not agree with some things.
The Honourable Dr. B. R. Ambedkar: He might have whispered in the ears of Mr. Bardoloi. He did not say a single word against these changes in the Drafting Committee. I did not get his signature as I did in certain other cases, because I do not want any Member to go back upon his word. However, what I was saying was that the Regional Councils and the District Councils have been given certain autonomy for certain purposes and at the same time they have been bound together in the life of the province and in the life of the country as a whole. If these circumstances which are of a unifying character, do not bind, do not bring the tribal people with the rest of the plains people in Assam and in the country, then the cause for such an unfortunate event must be found in something else. My friend, Mr. Rohini Kumar Chaudhury, stated that if you create the Regional Councils, the tribal areas will go the way of Tibet and go the way of some other area. I do not know that the prophecy could be confined only to the tribal areas. I fear that Assam itself might go. For that we cannot make any provision in the Constitution. I am sure about it.
Shri B. Das ( Orissa:General): May I ask Dr. Ambedkar if he is aware that British agents, are still working on the Assam-Burma border and that they have been responsible for the troubles between the Karens and the Burmans, and whether those same British agents are not still working in the tribal areas of Assam? After hearing the speech of my friend, Rev. Nichols Roy, I think that he wants the tribal areas to be separate entity so that British influence could permeate these tribal areas. As a Member of the Government Dr. Ambedkar knows well-and I have known something- about these tribal areas.
The Honourable Dr. B. R. Ambedkar: All I can say is that it is perfectly possible to devise some means by which we can eliminate this foreign influence altogether.
Shri B. Das: The Drafting Committee.............
The Honourable Dr. B. R. Ambedkar: The Drafting Committee has nothing to do with eliminating this foreign influence. It is the function of some other body but I can assure my friend that it would not be difficult to get rid of this foreign influence.
Mr. President: I shall now put the various amendments to vote.
The question is :
The amendment was adopted.
Mr. President: The question is:
The amendment was negatived.
Mr. President: The question is :
The amendment was adopted.
Mr. President: The question is:
The amendment was adopted.
Mr. President: The question is:
The amendment was negatived.
Mr. President: The question is:
The amendment was negatived.
Mr. President: I think these are all the amendments . The question is:
The motion was adopted.
Paragraph 2, as amended, was added to the Schedule.
Shri Kuladhar Chaliha: Mr. President, Sir,. I beg to move:
Sir, you would find in paragraph 3 that regional and district councils have been given such powers as can hardly be imagined. It says that they shall have power to make laws with respect to the management of any forest not being a reserved forest, the use of any canal or water-course for the purpose of agriculture. If it is so desired they can prevent you from using the water. Then it says with respect " to the regulation of the practice of jhum or other forms of shifting cultivation". Supposing some people live in the hills and have property; they have their marriage and social customs as well. The Regional Councils will be entitled to change Hindu Laws of marriage and inheritance. So instead of the existing clause, I have substituted the following:
These are very consistent and very wholesome and it gives the power to the Governor. Of course, it has been mellowed down by amendment No. 114 which at the end says:
At the same time it gives the power to the Regional Councils to make regulations, of course, at the end. This is nothing but mellowing down only. If they thought it wise to add this, why make this camouflage? The Drafting Committee could have gracefully accepted my amendment. Why do not they say plainly that the Governor shall have the right to do so. Instead of doing it plainly and saying that the Governor shall have the right, you allow the power and then you say "All laws made under this paragraph shall be submitted forthwith to the Governor, and until assented to by him shall have no effect." In fact this amendment is the same as mine and therefore Dr. Ambedkar should have accepted mine than by adding like this and watering down and making a fuss of making laws. It is better to accept by amendment No. 113 than the amendment of the Drafting Committee.
The Honourable Dr. B.R. Ambedkar: The honourable Member has already moved it for me. If you will take it as it moved by me, it will save time.
Mr. President: I take it that he has moved.
The Honourable Dr. B.R. Ambedkar: Shall I move it formally?
Mr. President: Yes.
The Honourable Dr. B.R. Ambedkar: Sir, I move:
(Amendment No. 258 was not moved.)
Shri Rohini Kumar Chaudhuri: Mr. President Sir, I beg to move-
Sir, the object of my amendment is that it should not merely be sufficient if the laws have the assent of the Governor, but the Governor should place all those laws before the Legislature as early as possible and unless the Legislature has agreed or until the Governor has assented to such law, this law shall not come into force. I submit, Sir, that there should not be any nervousness over this change. In the Legislature there are the members who represent the tribal areas and on the support of a large number of the tribal members and the House the Government will function, and therefore unless this and the assent of the leading majority party of the Government is obtained, it should not be enforced as law. Although the law may have a particular bearing on the people of the areas, the District Council of which has passed the law, although it may have a greater bearing on the people of that area, certainly it may have some bearing on the people of the other areas in the neighbourhood, it should be placed before the whole Provincial Legislature and not the District Council. Therefore, whatever law is passed by the District Council or Regional Council ought to go to the main legislature of the province and if it is agreed to by the legislature of the province, then only the question of sending it to the Governor should arise and if the Governor gives his assent, the law comes into force. I hope this amendment would be acceptable to Dr. Ambedkar.
Mr. President: Amendment No.260 given notice of by Mr. Kuladhar Chaliha is the same as amendment No. 259, that need not be moved.
Mr. Naziruddin Ahmad (West Bengal): Muslim) Amendment No. 195. This is a drafting amendment. I have explained the purport of this amendment in connection with the Fifth Schedule. I would only like that it should be considered by the Drafting Committee.
Shri Brajeshwar Prasad: Mr. President, Sir, I beg to move:
Sir, I am of opinion that if the Governor is vested with the power of scrutiny, the power of vetoing laws passed by the District Councils, then there will be conflict. This will create bitterness and ill-will between the provincial Government and the District and Regional Councils. It will impinge upon provincial autonomy. Therefore, in order to protect the provincial governments in order to strengthen the hands of the provincial authorities, ti is necessary that this power should be vested in the hands of the President. I really want that in the Center there should be separate portfolio in charge of the tribal areas in Assam, both parts I and II of the Table appended to paragraph 19 of the Schedule. I am of opinion that it is such a vital matter that it should not be placed in the hands of the Governor. It is risky to do so. If the Governor fails to discharge his functions under this paragraph due to any reason, the interests of the whole country will be jeopardised. The intention is to veto legislation which is of a fissiparous character. I also apprehend that the Governor may not be able to perform his functions properly because parliamentary democracy and narrow considerations of provincialism may stand in the way.
There is another argument I am opposed to this power being vested in the hands of the Governor. I am one of those who is in a minority in the House. I am in the minority of one. I believe in the doctrine of political centralisation. I am of opinion, I am convinced in my mind that decentralisation is a symptom of the classless society. It is capable of being achieved only in a classless society, where political violence has been liquidated and where the State itself has withered away. I strongly repudiate the suggestion made yesterday on the floor of this House that due to the pre-occupation of the Government of India in the sphere of our Foreign relations with other powers, due to pre-occupation of the Government of India with the problem of the Native States, the Centre is not in a position to shoulder a wider responsibility. We accepted this plan of political decentralisation in order to accommodate the Muslim Leaguers, in order to accommodate the Princes. It was an act of absentmindedness, it was an act of gross negligence on our part not to switch over to that type of Government to which we were wedded to, to that type of Government which had been the common basis of all Governments in India since time immemorial. I mean the unitary type of Government. I strongly commend my amendment for the consideration of the House.