Furore over BR Ambedkar’s misrepresentation in Karnataka government circular

Various Dalit organisations staged protests in Bengaluru and Mysuru, following which the Department of Public Instruction hurriedly pulled down the circular from the website on November 9.

Published: 13th November 2019 05:20 AM  |   Last Updated: 13th November 2019 07:23 PM   |  A+A-

Ambedkar statue

For representational purposes (File Photo | EPS)

Express News Service

BENGALURU: The Constitution Day, on November 26, is being planned with much fanfare, but bitterness is writ large over an erroneous circular, put up by an NGO on the Department of Public Instruction website, casting the Father of the Indian Constitution, Dr BR Ambedkar, in poor light.

The erroneous circular dated October 28 was put up on the website on November 6, mandating schools across the state to send reports of activities planned to the Ministry of Human Resources Development (MHRD) in Delhi. It misrepresented the actual role played by Dr Ambedkar in framing the Indian Constitution, much to the chagrin of various sections who instantly noticed the errors.

Dalit organisations made the issue public, both in Bengaluru and Mysuru, following which the department hurriedly pulled down the circular from the website on November 9. A new and approved circular was finally circulated on November 12, as per the MHRD guidelines.

Constitution Day (National Law Day), also known as ‘Samvidhan Divas’, is celebrated in India on November 26 every year to commemorate the adoption of the Constitution of India.

The Constitutional Forum plans to register a complaint with the Commissioner of Police on November 13 against the Principal Secretary to the Primary and Secondary Education Department, the Commissioner and Director of the Department of Public Instruction, as top officials are said to have given their approval to the circular put up by the NGO CMCA on the schooleducation.kar.nic website.

The trigger for the bitterness was the module set by the NGO, which included a poster reading: “Dr Ambedkar is known as the Father of the Constitution. His job was to look at and put together all the work of the other committees and finally draft our Constitution. He was the chairman of the drafting committee.”

Ambedkarites objected to the misrepresentation of Dr Ambedkar portraying him as just a “compiler”, whereas he drafted the Indian Constitution.“To the chagrin of Ambedkarites, the framer of the Constitution was delineated to ‘clerical work’ -- compiling constitutions. Whereas, he was the one who wrote it and was praised by various leaders, including India’s first President Rajendra Prasad and the first Prime Minister Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru. Students are being misled by the department and action should be taken against the officials,” said Dwaraknath, an advocate at the Karnataka High Court.

On its part, the NGO, in a clarification, said they “sought to explain that many people came together as a Constituent Assembly to prepare the Constitution,” adding that Dr Ambedkar had himself acknowledged the role of others. “Nowhere is it stated that he is not the father of the Indian Constitution,” they said and regretted the misunderstanding.

However, coming to the rescue of the department’s top officials, Primary and Secondary Education Minister Suresh Kumar, said, “Some officials did not inform their seniors or take their opinion or signatures, but merely uploaded the circular.”

He added that the department immediately withdrew the circular when it was brought to their notice. “An inquiry has been ordered to find out who uploaded the document without official authorisation. We will inquire why the official had signed the document,” he said.

Suresh Kumar admitted that the circular uploaded on November 6 chalked out modules set by CMCA and assured that the NGO will not be involved in further activities of the department. Commissioner for Public Instruction K G Jagadeesh maintained silence on the issue. Asked about the action initiated, he refused to comment and suggested following the new circular.

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