In this essay…
Dr. Ambedkar in his last speech at the constituent assembly on 26th November 1950 warned that India lost her independence not because of a foreign power but due to some of the people from our society. It allowed water around the ship to get into the ship i.e. India. He gave five examples from history – First, ‘King Dahar in Sindh lost the battle because his military commander took a bribe from an agent of Mohammed Bin Kasim.’ Second, ‘It was Jaichand who invited Mohammed Ghori to come and fight against Prithvi Raj Chauhan by offering support to him.
Third, ‘It was the Maratha Nobles and the Rajput kings who were fighting from the Mughal side against Shiva Ji.’ Fourth, ‘When Britishers were destroying the Sikh King, Gulab Singh, his military commander didn’t help him in saving the Sikh kingdom. Fifth, ‘When a large part of India was fighting against the Britishers, it was Sikhs and some other kings, who sat aside like spectators. All these historical events told by Dr. Ambedkar in his last speech suggest that defects in the ship i.e. inside the territory, allowed water i.e. outside forces, to get into it.
Cracks in the ship
Apart from historical events as suggested by Dr. Ambedkar in his last speech, water is getting into the ship across the spectrum. A person at an individual level became evildoer, not because of evil around him but he/she accepts evil inside himself/herself at his/her own will from outside. For example, In Kashmir, a person becomes militant not because people in society are joining militancy but because one accepts militancy in his/her heart. There are a large number of youth in Kashmir who didn’t join militancy. They adopted constitutional means because they contain evil forces to get into their hearts.
Even in a family, it is said that what a child sees at home, will inherit the same. It may be right till he became mature enough to think on his own. When a person becomes mature, he should anticipate the events. He should reason inside their heart and decide what to allow into the heart and what to be left out. For example, it is not necessary that a child of a drunkard will always be a drunkard. He/She may be a good and wise man based on his/her reasoning. Milkha Singh, a successful sportsman of India, saw violence at his home during his childhood but with the help of hardworking and well reasoning, he became a man of inspiration for others i.e. he didn’t allow evil forces to enter his soul.
Apart from family, when we peep into society, the scenario is not much different. We create defects in the ships. In a peaceful society, we allow unsocial elements to exploit their vested interests. It often leads to communal violence. For e.g. A study was done by Ashutosh Varshney in his book “Ethnic conflict and civic life” asks why do we observe communal violence in Aligarh and not in Calicut? He gives the reason that due to defining “us” in a narrow sense on communal line. People in Aligarh define ‘us’ based on identity which leads to evil forces getting in the mind of people. But people in Calicut protect from evil forces by defining ‘us’ based on needs.
At the national level, a leader became a dictator not because there is a dictatorship around the world. He became a dictator because the leader invites this evil inside himself/herself. For example, During COVID-19, various leaders around the world like Viktor Orban of Hungary exploited the opportunity and ended democracy. It’s all because they invited it inside their heart. However, many countries like India, Japan, and Australia fought against the COVID-19 pandemic to protect their people. They also maintained the status quo of the pre-COVID-19 order. Some other countries like China exploit their minority, Uighur for example. While democratic countries like India have extended constitutional protection to their minorities.
Reasons behind the cracks
There are many reasons behind water getting into the ship. First, Due to ignorance of the people, evil forces get inside their hearts. They forget to keep a check on evil forces. Before adopting anything, people don’t reason well. Second, Due to personal benefits, evil forces get inside the mind of the people. For e.g. corruption at public offices. It led to the inefficiency of public offices. Thus, India’s developmental ship sinks due to corruption and misappropriation of funds.
Third, Apart from these above two, lack of awareness is also one of the important reasons. For example, people are not much aware of environmental degradation and climate change. Fourth, the Lack of introspection in human beings is also one of the major reasons. It brings many evil things like communalism, corruption, violence, racism, untouchability, and extortion to human beings. If a person is good at introspection can refrain himself/herself from evil forces to get into their heart.
Another side of the coin
It is true that it depends on an individual who allows water to get into their ship of character. But it is also psychologically true that cognitive learning helps people to learn from nearby. To some extent, an environment in society also matters. That’s why we call the family ‘the first school’ and parents ‘the first teacher’. The society helps in socializing a child around it. If his/her friend circle uses a drug, then one can refrain but for this one needs very strong willpower from inside. It’s very difficult to expect the same from all people because human nature varies from person to person.
It’s a natural phenomenon that if a species is exposed prolonged to an environment, then some part of a gene is inherited in that particular species according to the environment. For example, due to water scarcity in desert areas, plant species adapt xerophytic behavior. Thus, there can be a probability that a ship gets sunk into the sea due, not due to internal defects but due to the outside atmosphere also. For example, Cross-border terrorism. In the process of defense from these kinds of evils, India can stop 99 stones but 1 may hit which leads to attack like the Mumbai attack 2008.
Blocking the cracks: Way forward
The best way to save his/her ship is following dialectics as suggested by Plato and Socrates. According to Plato, people are men of reason. He can perform dialectics to decide ‘what is’ and ‘what ought to be.’ Similarly, Dr. Ambedkar suggested people not read the interpretations of religious texts given by others. He suggested people learn Sanskrit and read those texts on their own. That was probably one of the reasons why he was in favor to make Sanskrit as the National language.
Another way can be Rawls’s methodology. He suggested a person shift himself/herself to ‘original position‘ behind the ‘veil of ignorance.’ In the original position, a man forgets their identity and thinks on a rational basis. If we apply his methodology in the context of communal riots in India, it may stop people from joining hands for communal violence. Society, as well as State, can also play an important role to save ships from sinking. For example, Government legislates ‘Prevention of sexual harassment at workforce act 2013’ to force people not to allow evil things to get entry inside them.
We have discussed how does water gets into the ship? We started from Dr. Ambedkar’s excerpt from his last speech at the constituent assembly in 1950 till the present. Apart from this, we talked about the reason behind the water getting into the ship. We also talked about the other side of the coin i.e. outside forces are also responsible for water getting into the ship. We also discussed the ways to save the ship from sinking from Socrates to John Rawls followed by Dr. Ambedkar.
Thus, it also depends on an individual whether one allowed water to get into his ship or not. It is so because man has a reason and thus he is wise. It is what differentiates us from the animal. We are the man of reason. Mahatma Gandhi rightly told that ‘Open your window and allow air coming into your room, but don’t blow yourself out along with wind from the window.’
- Scroll.in | Why BR Ambedkar’s three warnings in his last speech to the Constituent Assembly resonate even today
- The Print | J&K sees 45% jump in militants killed in 2020
- Amazon | Ethnic Conflict & Civic Life by Ashutosh Varshney
- The Economists | How Viktor Orban hollowed out Hungary’s democracy
- BBC | ‘Their goal is to destroy everyone’: Uighur camp detainees allege systematic rape
- Stanford Encyclopedia | Original Position by John Rawls
- Britannica | Dialectic Of Plato
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