The Indian Tragedy

Earlier this year, the Republic of India turned seventy. On January 26, 1950, the country adopted a new Constitution, which severed all ties with the British Empire, mandated multi-party democracy based on universal adult franchise, abolished caste and gender distinctions, awarded equal rights of citizen-ship to religious minorities, and in myriad other ways broke with the feudal, hierarchical, and sectarian past. The chairman of the Drafting Committee was the great scholar B. R. Ambedkar, himself a “Dalit,” born into the lowest and most oppressed strata of Indian society, and representative in his person and his beliefs of the sweeping social and political transformations that the document promised to bring about. The drafting of the Constitution took three whole years. Between December 1946 and December 1949, its provisions were discussed threadbare in an Assembly whose members included the country’s most influential politicians (spanning the ideological spectrum, from atheistic Communists to orthodox

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