Babasaheb’s warning: In politics, bhakti or hero-worship is a sure road to dictatorship

Source– The post is based on the article “Babasaheb’s warning: In politics, bhakti or hero-worship is a sure road to dictatorship” published in the “The Indian Express” on 14th April 2023.

Syllabus: GS1- Modern Indian history and personalities

Relevance– Ideas and life of Ambedkar

News– India is celebrating the 132th birth anniversary of Ambedkar.

What are the contributions of Ambedkar for the country?

As per Rajendra Prasad, Ambedkar worked with zeal and devotion as the members of the Drafting Committee and its Chairman in spite of his indifferent health. He has justified his selection as chairman of the drafting committee.

In the Constituent Assembly debates, Ambedkar’s intellectual capabilities were visible. He constantly articulated in favour of the rights of the citizens and emphasised remedies to enforce them.

The debates also reflect prophetic wisdom. He continuously spoke about the problems that existed and may confront the nation in the future.

He was concerned about the unity of the nation. If Hindu-Muslim problem is solved by force, this country would be involved in perpetually conquering Muslims.

What are Ambedkar ideas about democracy in India?

We have prepared a democratic Constitution. But the successful working of democratic institutions requires the people working there to have willingness to respect the viewpoints of others, capacity for compromise and accommodation.

A good constitution may turn out bad because those working upon it are bad.

He feared that India may lose democracy. As per him, it is quite possible for this new-born democracy to retain its form but give way to dictatorship.

How can democracy be maintained in India as per Ambedkar?

There is a need to adopt constitutional methods of achieving our social and economic objectives. It means we must abandon the bloody methods of revolution. There is a need to abandon the method of civil disobedience, non-cooperation, and satyagraha.

The people should not lay their liberties at the feet of even a great man. They should not be given powers that can enable them to subvert their institutions. There is nothing wrong in being grateful to great men. But there are limits to gratefulness.

He warned against Bhakti or hero-worship in India. Bhakti in religion may be a road to the salvation of the soul. But in politics, Bhakti or hero-worship is a sure road to degradation and to eventual dictatorship.

We must not be content with mere political democracy. We must make our political democracy a social democracy as well. Political democracy cannot last unless it is without the base of social democracy.

What are Ambedkar’s views on social democracy?

Social democracy meant a way of life which recognises liberty, equality, and fraternity as the principles of life. They formed a trinity and could not be separated from each other.

In economic and social life, we continue to deny “the principle of one man one value”. We continue to deny equality in our social and economic life for a very long time. If we continue to deny it for long, we will do so only by putting our political democracy in peril.

What are Ambedkar views on fraternity?

For him, fraternity was of great importance. It means a sense of common brotherhood of all Indians. This is the principle that gives unity and solidarity to social life.

He felt it was difficult to achieve fraternity in India, because there are castes. The castes are anti-national. They are anti-national also because they generate jealousy and antipathy between caste and caste.

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