Constituent Assembly Of India Debates (proceedings)- volume VII
Dated: December 08, 1948
The Constituent Assembly of India met in the Constitution Hall, New Delhi, at Ten of the Clock Mr. Vice-President (Dr. H. C. Mookherjee) in the Chair.
TAKING THE PLEDGE AND SIGNING THE REGISTER
The following Members took the Pledge and signed the Register:- Shri Manikya Lal Verma (United State of Rajas than).
Shri Gokal Lal Aawa (United State of Rajasthan).
DRAFT CONSTITUTION-(Contd.) Article 23-(Contd.)
Mr. Vice-President (Dr. H. C. Mookherjee): We shall now resume discussion of article 23 to which two amendments have been moved. Amendment No. 677 relates to national language and script and is therefore postponed. Amendments Nos. 678,679,680 and 681 (1st part) are to be considered together as they are of similar import. I can allow No. 678 to be moved.
The Honourable Dr. B. R. Ambedkar (Bombay : General): Sir, I move-
The only change is from 'and' to 'or' and the necessity of the change is so obvious that I do not think it is necessary for me to say anything regarding the same.
Mr. Vice-President : There is an amendment to this amendment-No. 25 of List No. I in the name of Mr. Naziruddin Ahmad.
Mr. Naziruddin Ahmad (West Bengal : Muslim) : Mr. Vice-President, Sir, I beg to move-
Sir, the text says: 'a section of the citizens residing in the territory of India or any part thereof'. The expression 'or any part thereof' implies, if the passage is fully written out 'a section of the citizens residing in the whole of the territory of India or any part thereof.' I submit that no part of the citizens can reside in the 'whole' of the territory of India. It must necessarily reside in a part of India. So the words 'in the territory of India or any part thereof' would be in appropriate implying a false suggestion. I submit that if we say-'residing in any part of the territory of India', that would be quite enough. Perhaps the phraseology used in the context was due to an oversight. It gives an illogical appearance or a false suggestion that a people or a group of citizens can possibly reside in the whole of India. The further conditions of a part of India having a 'distinct language, script or culture' in the article really limit the purpose to any part of India.
Mr. Vice-President : Amendment No. 679.
Shri H. V. Kamath (C. P. & Berar : General) : I have been forestalled by
Dr. Ambedkar. So, I do not move No. 679.
Mr. Vice-President : Do you wish to press No. 680?
Mohamed Ismail Sahib (Madras: Muslim) : Yes.
Mr. Vice-President : Do you wish that 681 first part should be put to vote?
Prof. K. T. Shah (Bihar : General) : First part is covered by Dr. Ambedkar's amendment. But I would like to move the second part.
Mr. Vice-President : The second part of amendment No.681 may now be moved.
Prof. K. T. Shah: Sir, I beg to move part (2) of my amendment which says-
"That in clause (1) of article 23, after the word "conserve" the word "develop" be added."
The amendment portion would then be that-
Sir, I look upon culture of mankind, and the culture of every section of mankind, as not merely a static phenomenon but as a progressive and developing fact. To my mind, therefore, even more important than conserving it at some stage to which it has risen, is the need to develop it. And the culture of a country or a community is much wider and larger and deeper, than its script or language, as I shall show below, and hence this amendment.
Speaking of the languages of the various sections of the country, they have, in recent years, especially during the last two or three generations, been developed and cultivated up to a point at which many of them have become suitable, in my judgment, to become the vehicles for the imparting of any state of instruction, right up to the University standard. Nevertheless, there can be further development; and they ought to be further studied and promoted and developed and expanded, so as to be suitable means of expression, intercourse, and instruction or education to a much wider scale than is the case today. I, therefore, think that if you grant the right to its conservation you must also grant the right for its development, its progressive improvement and expansion.
Speaking of culture, I think that is not a single item, either of area, language or script. It is a vast ocean, including all the entirety of the heritage of the past of any community in the material as well as spiritual domain. Whether we think of the arts, the learning, the sciences, the religion or philosophy, Culture includes them all, and much else besides. As such, it is progressive, and should be regarded as being capable of constant growth as any living organism.
If, therefore, you include in the Fundamental Rights this section, i.e., the right to "conserve" the same, whether or not there is any attack or danger for the mere preservation of it, I see no reason why you should not couple with the right to conserve the right to develop. That is why the suggestion that I am putting forward, namely, the right to develop. Side by side with the right to conserve there must also be the right to develop the culture of any community.
You cannot hit at this amendment, you cannot negative it, without at the same time annulling the remaining portion of the clause, namely, conservation of a static position. But development is more progressive, more dynamic; and as such should commend itself to those who have the drafting and piloting of the Constitution in their hands.
Mr. Vice-President : Then comes No. 682 which stands in the name of Seth Govind Das; but I think it should stand over seeing that it relates to national language and script.
Then we come to amendment No. 683.
(Amendment No. 683 was not moved.)
As amendment No. 683 was not moved, amendment No. 52 of List III is disallowed. Then comes amendment No. 684 in the name of the Maharaja of Parlakimedi. He is absent.
(Amendment No. 684 was not moved.) Amendment No. 685 standing in the name of Shri Algu Rai Shastri.
Shri Algu Rai Shastri (United Provinces : General) : Sir, my amendment relates to the property clause, article 24, and I shall move it when that article is taken up. It does not belong to this article and it is by a misprint that it happens to be here.
Mr. Vice-President : Then shall I take it that you want it to stand over?
Shri Algu Rai Shastri : It can be taken up at the proper place.
Mr. Vice-President : No. 686 also in the name of Shri Algu Rai Shastri.
Shri Algu Rai Shastri : I am not moving it, but I want to make a few observations on it.
Mr. Vice-President : You can do that during the general discussion. Then I come to amendment No. 687, standing in the names of Prof. N. G. Ranga and Shri Ananthasayanam Ayyangar. And then there is the first part of No. 688 of Shri Jaspat Roy Kapoor, and No. 705 also in the name of Shri Jaspat Roy Kapoor. These are to be considered together as they are of similar import. I can allow No. 687 to be moved.
Shri M. Ananthasayanam Ayyangar (Madras : General) : Sir, I beg to move:-
That in clause (2) of article 23 for the words "No minority" the words "No citizen or minority" be substituted.
I want that all citizens should have the right to enter any public educational institution. This ought not to be confined to minorities. That is the object with which I have moved this amendment.
Mr. Vice-President : As regards the first part of amendment No. 680, I want to know whether Mr. Kapoor wants it to be voted.
Pandit Thakur Dass Bhargava (East Punjab : General) : But Sir, there is my amendment No. 26 to amendment No. 687.
Mr. Vice-President : Yes, I stand corrected. There are certain amendments to these amendments which I shall take up one after the other. One is No. 26 in List I in the names of Shri T. T. Krishnamachari and Pandit Thakur Dass Bhargava. Do you move it Mr. Bhargava?
Pandit Thakur Das Bhargava : Sir, I beg to move.
That for amendment No. 687 of the List of amendments, the following be substituted:
Now, Sir, it so happens that the words "no minority" seek to differentiate the minority from the majority, whereas you would be pleased to see that in the Chapter the words of the heading are "cultural and educational rights", so that the minority rights as such should not find any place under this section. Now if we read Clause (2) it would appear as if the minority had been given certain definite rights in this clause, whereas the national interests require that no majority also should be discriminated against in this matter. Unfortunately, there is in some matters a tendency that the minorities as such possess and are given certain special rights which are denied to the majority. It was the habit of our English masters that they wanted to create discriminations of this sort between the minority and the majority. Sometimes the minority said they were discriminated against and on other occasions the majority felt the same thing. This amendment brings the majority and the minority on an equal status.
In educational matters, I cannot understand, from the national point of view, how any discrimination can be justified in favour of a minority or a majority. Therefore, what this amendment seeks to do is that the majority and the minority are brought on the same level. There will be no discrimination between any member of the minority or majority in so far as admission to educational institutions are concerned. So I should say that this is a charter of the liberties for the student-world of the minority and the majority communities equally.
The second change which this amendment seeks to make is in regard to the institutions which will be governed by this provision of law. Previously only the educational institutions maintained by the State were included. This amendment seeks to include such other institutions as are aided by State funds. There are a very large number of such institutions, and in future, by this amendment the rights of the minority have been broadened and the rights of the majority have been secured. So this is a very healthy amendment and it is a kind of nation-building amendment.
Now, Sir, the word "community" is sought to be removed from this provision because "community" has no meaning. If it is a fact that the existence of a community is determined by some common characteristic and all communities are covered by the words religion or language, then "community" as such has no basis. So the word "community" is meaningless and the words substituted are "race or caste". So this provision is so broadened that on the score of caste, race, language, or religion no discrimination can be allowed.
My submission is that considering the matter from all these standpoints, this amendment is one which should be accepted unanimously by this House.
Mr. Vice-President : There are two other amendments standing in the name of the honourable Member, namely, Nos.27 and 28.
Pandit Thakur Dass Bhargava : I do not propose to move either of them. I want to move No. 31.
Mr. Vice-President : That comes in another category. So the honourable Member is not moving Nos. 27 and 28.
[Amendments Nos. 705, 691 and 688 (second part) were not moved.]
Maulana Hasrat Mohani (United Provinces : Muslim) : I had an amendment to this amendment of the Honourable Dr. B. R. Ambedkar because I thought he was sure to move it. Now that he has withdrawn it, where am I to go?
Mr. Vice-President : You can only take your seat. Such things happen in political life.
So all the amendments to amendment 691 fall through. We now come to No. 692.
Pandit Thakur Dass Bhargava : What happens to amendment No. 690?
Mr. Vice-President : That will come later on. These are being taken together as being of similar import. I am trying to ascertain whether these are to be put to vote or not.
I am afraid I cannot allow amendment 692 to be moved because it is covered by the amendment to amendment No. 687.
Mr. Vice-President : Amendment No. 689: this is a verbal amendment and therefore it is disallowed.
(Amendments Nos. 693, 694, 696, 697 (first part) and 698 were not moved.)
We now come to Amendment No. 690 which is in the name of Pandit Thakur
Pandit Thakur Dass Bhargava : I propose to move an amendment to this. Sir, I move:
This is an amendment to amendment No. 690. There is not much to be said.
The word "community" as I said before has no meaning. No common characteristic can differentiate one community from another which is not covered by the words "religion or language". These words sufficiently cover the field that is sought to be covered by the word "community". Therefore the word "community" has no meaning in that provision and therefore it should be deleted.
Mr. Vice-President : Amendment No. 695: this is a verbal amendment and therefore it is disallowed.
[Amendments Nos. 697 (second part) and 699 were not moved.] Amendment No. 700 is disallowed as it is covered by another amendment regarding the Directive Principles.
Amendments Nos. 701 and 702 are to be considered together as they are of similar import.
(Amendments Nos. 701, 702 and 703 were not moved.) Amendment No. 704 is more comprehensive and may be moved.
Shri Damodar Swarup Seth (United Provinces : General) : Sir, I beg to move:
That for sub-clause (a) of clause (3) of article 23 the following the substituted:-
While in sub-clause (a) of clause (3) of article 23,obviously minorities based on religion and community have been recognised, my amendment recognises only minorities based on language. I feel, Sir, that in a secular state minorities based on religion or community should not be recognised. If they are given recognition then I submit that we cannot claim that ours is a secular state. Recognition of minorities based on religion or community is the very negation of secularism. Besides Sir, if these minorities are recognised and granted the right to establish and administer educational institutions of their own, it will not only block the way of national unity, so essential for a country of different faiths, as India is, but will also promote communalism, and narrow anti national outlook as was the case hitherto, with disastrous results. I therefore submit that only minorities based on language should be recognised and be granted the right to establish and administer educational institutions and that too for the purpose of promotion of their language and literature and for imparting primary and pre-primary education in their own language. Higher studies are to be conducted in the national language of the state. I therefore submit, Sir, that this amendment is most harmless and innocent and hope that it will be accepted by the House quite unreservedly.
(Amendment No. 706 was not moved.)
Prof. K. T. Shah : Sir, I beg to move:
That the following proviso be added to sub-clause (a) of clause (3) of article
Substantially speaking, it seems to be the same amendment or similar to the one I moved yesterday or the day before, viz., amendment No. 664. Only, there it was in a more positive form and here it is in a negative form, making it more clear that whatever be the foundation or endowment, in the first instance, of any such national institutions, no part of the expenditure should fall upon the public purse-neither partly nor wholly.-This I consider is necessary to provide specifically in view of the possibility of any party taking advantage of the positive provision made above. I should not like to waste the time of the House beyond just pointing out that this in reality is not identical, but that in substance it is the same. I am afraid I have not much hope of making the House change its viewpoint within 48 hours, and therefore I do not wish to take any more time of the House by speaking on it.
(Amendment No. 713 was not moved.)
Mr. Z. H. Lari (United Provinces: Muslim): Sir, I beg to move:
That after clause (3) of article 23, the following new clause be inserted:-
A notice of an amendment to this amendment has been given by Mr. Karimuddin. I would gladly accept it when it is moved. That amendment is for the addition of the words `incase of substantial number of such students being available.'
The first question that arises in this connection is whether it is necessary, either in the interests of a minority or of society, that primary education should be imparted through the medium of one's mother tongue. It is a very legitimate question to ask and I propose to give an answer to it. Only recently, the Government of India accepted a Resolution and published it in the Gazette of August 14, 1948. In the course of that Resolution they say:
That resolution further goes on to say, 'Conditions like these make it impossible for any State or Province to adopt any single language as the medium of instruction. An attempt to adopt one language in a province where groups of people speaking different languages reside and to impose it on all is bound to lead to discontentment and bitterness. It will affect inter-provincial relations and set up vicious circles of retaliation.'
And, towards the end they say:
Therefore, according to this very Resolution it is accepted that it is essential in the interests of society as well as of the minority that its children should be imparted primary education through the medium of the mother tongue.
I would refer this House, at this stage, to a reply given by the Honourable Maulana Abul Kalam Azad, the Education Minister in the Dominion Parliament at its session held in September last.
The Honourable Shri K. Santhanam (Madras: General): May I point out to the honourable Member that his amendment implies that every child has got the right to primary education immediately? Without that right this right cannot be sought. Therefore we have given a Directive....
Mr. Z. H. Lari : That is a different question. I will deal with it afterwards. I am here drawing the attention of the House to a reply given by the Education Minister to a question put in the Dominion Parliament.
Mr. Vice-President : I suggest that Mr. Lari keeps in mind the point of view put forward by Mr. Santhanam.
Mr. Z. H. Lari : I would. But here is the report of the interpellation. Replying to Shri S. V. Krishnamurti Rao, Maulana Abul Kalam Azad, the Education Minister said that the mother tongue of the child would be the medium of instruction in primary schools, i.e., up to junior basic stage from the age of six to eleven as stated in the Resolution of the Government on the subject and added:
Therefore, so far as the necessity of such a provision is concerned, it cannot be denied.
The next question is, does this right partake of a fundamental character so as to find a place in this Chapter. The first Constitution of a Free India that was framed was the Nehru Report under the able guidance of that prince among patriots, Pandit Motilal Nehru. One of the Fundamental rights suggested therein ran as follows:
"Adequate provision shall be made by the State for imparting public instruction in primary schools to the children of members of minorities through the medium of their own language and in such script as is in vogue among them". The nature and the fundamental character of this right has been accepted by that very Resolution of the Government of India to which I referred earlier. Therein they say:
Therefore even the nature and character of this right has been fully accepted by the present Government of India as well as by those seven leaders who framed the Nehru Report.
Now the third question arises. It is also very relevant. Is it necessary to put in this Chapter, after the clear acceptance of such a policy by the Government of India for the time being? I have personal experience of my province, which shows that it is absolutely necessary. I would give an instance in this regard. The House will note that the United Provinces is a bilingual province. Therein two languages, namely, Hindi and Urdu have been used and widely read by members belonging to different communities. If I only give you the figures of students appearing at the two examinations, viz., high school and middle school, you will find that at least one third of the students offered Urdu as their language. In 1944 the students who took Hindi numbered 11,617 while those who offered Urdu numbered 7,167;
Therefore you will see that two-thirds of the students who appeared at the high school examinations offered Hindi and one-third offered Urdu.
But, now what happens? All of a sudden in May last, a curriculum was published the result of which, according to my reading, was absolute elimination of Urdu. I was assured that was a misapprehension. But when the classes opened in July 1948, I find that my reading was correct. My child of six, came and said: "Today my master asked me that I should do all the sums in Hindi and Hindi only." He was further told not to bring Urdu Book. I was surprised. On enquiry I found the same condition in all schools. I wrote letters to all concerned and I was assured again that a G. O. was being issued to the effect that wherever there was a demand by students for being taught in Urdu, this should be done. Subsequently I wrote a letter to the Principal of the College to make arrangements for teaching Urdu. I received a reply in the negative. He said no such arrangement can be made. Ultimately, when I forwarded that letter to the Minister for Education, the reply came in October to the effect that arrangements can be made only when the majority of the guardians want that education in Urdu should also be imparted. The Resolution of the Government of India and all the answers given were intended for the facility of a minority which is less than 50 percent, but that facility was denied and made dependent on will of the majority. The result is that in a Province wherein to use the words of that noble soul, our own Prime Minister, began the process which was to continue for several centuries for the development of a mixed culture in North India; Delhi and what are known now as the United Provinces became the Centre of this just as they had been and still continue to be the Centre of Old Aryan culture. They are the seat of the old Hindu culture as well as of the "Persian culture", teaching of Urdu, the moinspring of Muslim culture has been banned. In Lucknow and in Allaha bad, where Urdu owing public is of sufficient strength in fact in most places, so far as primary education is concerned, no arrangement has been made for teaching through the medium of one's own mother tongue. I know of Allahabad positively and of Lucknow too which is considered to be the centre of Urdu, so far as primary education is concerned, in those two places no arrangement exists whatsoever for teaching the children of the minorities through their mother tongue. Therefore this experience of mine in my own province shows that there is necessity for such a provision, and that such a provision should find a place in the Constitution. But I am conscious of one difficulty, rather two difficulties. One difficulty is, supposing the numbers of students who want to have a particular language as the medium of instruction were few in number. That difficulty has been obviated by the amendment which has been given notice of by Kazi Syed Karimuddin.
There is another difficulty which has been pointed out. I have said here, "any section of the citizens". It may be that people of one province, very few in number, residing in another province may claim that their children should be given instruction through the medium of their own language. But that objection can be met by substituting the word 'minority' for the words "section of the citizens". I think Begum Aizaz Rasul has given notice of that amendment.
After these two amendments, the clause will read-
Now to take up the objection of Mr. Santhanam. In the Directive Principles we say that the State shall endeavour to provide education up to the age of fourteen and so on and so forth. You remember, Sir, that that clause as it originally stood was-
The words "Every citizen is entitled to free primary education" were deleted and the speaker, when moving that deletion, said that this was of a fundamental character and therefore such a clause could hardly find a place in that chapter. That is why I have given notice of another amendment which says that there should be an article in the fundamental rights that every citizen is entitled to receive primary education. So far as the clause in the Directive Principles is concerned, it does not relate to primary education only but relates to secondary education as well. Any how, we are dealing with the cultural and educational rights of the minorities here, (and the educational right that I want to have inserted here is that primary education should be imparted through the medium of the mother tongue. It does not say that they must be given primary education but if there is any arrangement for primary education, then that primary education should be imparted through the medium of one's mother tongue. There is thus no legal obstacle.) With these words, Sir, I move my amendment.
Mr. Vice-President : Amendment No. 58 of List III standing in the name of Kazi Syed Karimuddin.
Kazi Syed Karimuddin (C. P. & Berar: Muslim): Mr. Vice-President, Sir, it is unnecessary for me to explain the scope of the amendment moved by Mr. Lari. I have an amendment to move to the amendment of Mr. Lari which runs like this:
Sir, according to the fundamental rights, freedom of movement and freedom of trade and commerce have been granted and it is just possible that people may be moving freely from one part of the country to another and settling in other provinces. Moreover, there would always be Government servants who would be transferred from one province to another. Take for example the case of the city of Delhi. There are Madras is; there are Bengalees; there are Muslims; there are Telugu people also in Delhi. If no provision is made for their education in the primary schools, it would be very difficult for their children to be educated in their own mother tongue at least in the primary stage of schooling. Therefore my submission is that Mr. Lari's amendment is not only important from the Muslim point of view, from the minorities' point of view, but also from the point of view of those who come from Bengal and Madras or other provinces. Therefore the amendment of Mr. Lari with my amendment should be accepted.
Mr. Vice-President : There is a short notice amendment standing in the name of Begum Aizaz Rasul.
Begum Aizaz Rasul: (United Provinces : Muslim): Sir, I beg to move-
The clause will then read-
Sir, my amendment speaks for itself, and after hearing Mr. Lari, I do not think it is very necessary for me to go into details about this. The word "minority" has been defined in the Draft Constitution. I think that it is necessary that minorities who have a distinct language and script should have this right guaranteed to them by the State, that the children of these minorities will have all facilities provided to them to have primary education imparted to them in their mother tongue. Sir, It is an accepted principle all over the world that a child in the primary stages of education should have that education imparted to it in its mother tongue. I do not think that there can be any difference of opinion regarding this matter. It is impossible for a child who belongs to a section of the people whose language and script is different to that of the State to receive education in another language, because that militates against the very principle of learning. You cannot burden the mind of the child by forcing him to receive his primary education in an alien tongue and script. Sir, the object of this amendment is in no way meant to debar the children of minorities from learning the language of the State. It is in the interests of the children of the minorities themselves that they should learn the language of the State, whatever that language may be, as their economic future as well as entry in services, etc., depends that they should be well conversant with the language of the State. Therefore it should not be taken that I am in any way opposing the idea of the children of minorities learning the language of the State-but mine is a fundamental point because on good foundations of learning can education be effective. Sir, I do not think that it would have been necessary to have moved this amendment at this stage, but there are practical difficulties which we have experienced and therefore it is necessary that in the fundamental rights some provision should be made which would make the position clear and which would guarantee to the children of the minorities living in the territory of India the right to be given instruction in their own mother tongue in the primary stages. With these words, Sir, I move this amendment and hope that it will be accepted.
(Amendment No. 715 was not moved)
Mr. Vice-President : The article is open for general discussion.
Shri Mihir Lal Chattopadhyay (West Bengal : General) : Mr. Vice- President, Sir, this particular article 23 of the Draft Constitution is a definite guarantee to the minorities that their language, culture and script will be protected in every way. There are different kinds of minorities in this country and all these minorities based on language, script and culture will really find a great protection in this article. It is true that in different provinces of this country there are minorities living who have languages different from the language of the majority and it is a fact that in many provinces in India the minorities based on language are subjected to various types of disabilities and as a result, for some time past, there is a subdued voice in the country about the tyranny and imperialism of language. The other day, Mr. T. T. Krishnamachari made a reference about the Imperialism of language. I have no quarrel with him on this matter but I do not know how long it will take for a citizen of this country to accept joyfully a national language that is the language of this country, but it must be acknowledged that a minority having a definite and distinct language of its own, but residing in a province, where the provincial language is different, ardently seeks to maintain its language and its culture without being interfered in any way. It is true that this country is divided into different provinces and each and every province has got a provincial language of its own, but unfortunately, in the matter of demarcating the provinces, the British Government did not take much care about demarcating on the basis of language and for that matter in almost every province there are minorities and there has really arisen some danger of the language and culture of the minorities in the different provinces being put under numerous disabilities.
This article 23 gives an assurance to the minorities that their languages will be guarded, the minorities will be able to conserve their own languages and not only conserve, but a definite development also can be made by them. The minorities also will find no discrimination made in the matter of Government aid for the protection and development of their languages. This article 23, is, therefore in every way a great charter of right for the different linguistic minorities in the different provinces of India. It is necessary that the minorities living in a province should not all the time feel themselves isolated and consider themselves as something definite and distinct from the nationals of that province in civic life. The minorities have also to adopt themselves to the language and the culture of the provinces they live in to a large extent. No minority should live in a province as a foreigner as the British people or their half-brothers in India have lived all these years; but the majority also should have maximum consideration for the minorities in the provinces so far as their language and culture are concerned. In fact a new example has been set by the Congress the other day when the Congress directed some of the Provincial Congress Committees that the minority having a language different from the language of the province, will be allowed to carry on correspondence with the provincial Congress Committees in the language of that minority.
The demand which is being heard from various quarters about realignment of provinces or rather redistribution of provinces on linguistic basis, will be satisfied to a large extent by the provisions of this article in the Draft Constitution. The minorities are mightily afraid of their languages being put out of existence by the aggression of the majorities, who might be very unsympathetic towards the minorities in these matters. The minorities are zealous about guarding their own language and culture, and quite naturally they should be so. The majority must have some sympathetic understanding about the feeling and outlook of the minorities. By that alone, in the different provinces, the cry that has arisen about the redistribution of territories on a linguistic basis will stop to a large extent. We all know that soon after the partition of India into two parts, the question of redistribution of provinces on linguistic basis is be set with many difficulties. It is a problem that will take a long time to settle. But, it is to be remembered that if minorities are subjected to tyranny and oppression and aggression by the majority in the matter of language and culture, there will be trouble in this country and the Governments in the provinces will be faced with difficulties. Therefore, this article 23 is a clear direction to the majority in the different provinces to look after the interests of the minorities so far as language and culture are concerned. If the majority in dealing with the minorities tries to understand their view point and tries to safeguard their interests so far as language and culture is concerned. I think the voice that has risen in India about the immediate re-distribution of provinces on linguistic basis will be consoled to a large extent.
I wholeheartedly support this article.
Shri R. K. Sidhwa : (C. P. & Berar : General) : Sir, regarding this article on education based on religion or otherwise, I would have certainly preferred a very clear and unambiguous provision. Sir, some of the provisions of this article are contradictory. While the Constitution has recognised that all communities have a right to give education on religion, article 22 states that where State aid is given, there shall be no religious education provided. Again, there is a proviso that communities which do not expect any State aid shall have a right to give education on religion according to their choice and custom. Personally, Sir, I feel that as far as religious education is concerned, it should have been mentioned in unambiguous terms that wherever an educational institution receives State aid, there shall be no religious education taught in those institutions. My objection is not because I am averse to religion. I believe in religion, Sir, I believe in the existence of God. But, I do feel today that the religious books of the various communities are translated by various authors in a manner which has really brought disgrace to several religions. The authors have translated some of the very beautiful original phrases in their own language to suit their own political ends, with the result that today on religious grounds we know the country has broken into various pieces. I therefore desire, Sir, that in the matter of education, which is the fundamental basis of our future, it should have been clearly stated that under the existing circumstances, there shall be no religious education provided in any institution which receives State aid.
As I have stated, Sir, while the State has not recognised any religion, they have allowed those institutions which do not receive State aid to impart religious education in their institutions. I do not want to go into the various phases of the religious scriptures which are being taught in the various schools. I know of instances where in the name of religion communal hatred has been taught. I do not know whether in this new era when we will be functioning under this Constitution, the same type of religious education would be taught. There is no restriction regarding that kind of religious instructions that are being given in various schools. I can quote them; but I do not want to create any kind of ill-feeling between community and community. I only wish that in this matter the Constitution should have made it clear as to what education means as far as religious education is concerned. On that matter, this chapter is silent; not only silent, but I apprehend that in the name of religion, there will be the same type of religious education taught in the institutions. I have been reading and re-reading these two chapters and I feel that there is no kind of control over such kind of schools and colleges. On the contrary, it will be stated that the Constitution has given them freedom to teach religion in any manner they like. Knowing fully well, as we do, what religion in this country means to various communities, this chapter, I feel, Sir, should have been more clear.
As far as the suggestions and amendments that where various communities and minorities reside, education should be in their language. I find clause (b) is clear, although I would certainly have preferred the amendment of Damodar Swarup Seth, which is very clear. I do not think the State denies this even in this Constitution. Here, the minorities must not be misunderstood to mean religious minorities; minorities mean various classes of people. For instance, in Bombay, there are eighteen classes of people. Just now four lakhs of Sindhis are in Bombay. The Corporation have recognised the Sindhi language. Although they have not recognised the Sindhi language, they have opened schools for them. I do feel there is provision in this Constitution wherever there are such classes or linguistic communities or sub-communities, the State shall provide all facilities to them. If the State were to deny that, that State will not be discharging their duty. I am quite clear that the Constitution has made provision to that effect. In the Directive principles also we have stated that every child, no matter to whatever class he belongs, shall be imparted education compulsorily by the State. There is no fear as far as this is concerned, that all children, whether they belong to any small minority or linguistic minority, would be provided education in their own mother tongue.
Mr. Lari's amendment therefore is out of place. I am clear that the Constitution has provided for this and if such education is not provided, I would state that the State and the provinces and the provincial Governments would be failing in their duty and not discharging their duty by providing that kind of education which it is their duty to provide.
Shri Jaipal Singh (Bihar : General): Mr. Vice-President, Sir, I have great pleasure in welcoming this article, more so as it has been suitably amended by Dr. Ambedkar, and I hope his amendment will be accepted by the House. Sir, to me this article seems to open a new era for India. Recently there has been such a lot heard about linguistic provinces, and, my friend from West Bengal has already hinted that this particular article opened a way for a realignment of provincial boundaries, for the creation of fresh provinces. Sir, I do not look upon this article in that light. I do not believe that provinces should be carved out purely on a linguistic basis. There are other factors also that must be considered. There is the administrative convenience; there may be the geographical argument; there may be the economic demand and various other factors which must be taken into account before the linguistic argument can be given the emphasis that is demanded of people who feel aggrieved that they are a linguistic minority in any particular province. I do hope that once this article is passed by this Assembly, all the Governments of the provinces will see to it that its spirit is implemented immediately. They need not wait till the Constitution as a whole is brought into existence. Already in my part of the world there is a tremendous-a very unhealthy-linguistic warfare going on. It is assuming dangerous proportions, in my own case, in Chota-Nagpur hitherto-on the ground of language, attempts are being made to snatch a bit to the east, snatch a bit to the south, snatch a bit to the west. No consideration whatever is given to the fact that there are other grounds also which have to be taken into consideration, e.g., the question whether administratively this or that portion should be taken out of a particular area. I urge, and I have urged this before elsewhere also, that language by itself is no argument for the creation of new provinces or for realignment of boundaries. I do hope in my part of the world- particularly the Provinces of Bihar, Orissa and West Bengal will now see a new way of approaching this linguistic problem. In Bihar, for example, the Bengali- speaking people have always made the grievance that they were being victimised by the Hindi-speaking majority of the province. Sir, much has happened in the past-it is an ugly chapter-but I do hope now that this particular article will be in the Constitution that even the linguistic minorities may look forward to a confident future where they will have opportunities of conserving and developing their own particular languages. Sir, when we talk of languages, we generally think of languages that have a highly developed literature, that have a script and so forth. I would like to urge that languages that have not a script also deserve to be conserved and, to use Prof. Shah's amendment,-'developed'. I have been trying to look through the figures in the language census that has been provided us and I find that the languages of this country have been divided into five main divisions and in this division I find that the aboriginal languages have been classified separately. Now take the language which is known as the Mundari group of languages. According to the census I find there are very nearly 5 million people who speak the Mundari language.