Ambedkar: The architect of the Indian constitution

Despite his increasing unpopularity, controversial views, and intense criticism of Gandhi and the Congress, Ambedkar was by reputation an exemplary jurist and scholar. Upon India's independence on August 15, 1947, the new Congress-led government invited Ambedkar to serve as the nation's first law minister, which he accepted.

Dr.Ambedkar being administeared the Oath by the first President of Indian Republic Dr.Rajendra Prasad. Jawahar Lal Nehru the then Prime Minister of India, looking on. (1947 ).

Members of First Central Cabinet of Indian Republic Pandit Nehru, Prime Minister and Dr.Rajendra Prasad, President of India are sitting in the center. Dr.Ambedkar is sitting at the extreme of the first row. (Jan.1950).

On August 29, Ambedkar was appointed chairman of the Constitution Drafting Committee, charged by the Assembly to write free India's new Constitution. Ambedkar won great praise from his colleagues and contemporary observers for his drafting work. In this task Ambedkar's study of sangha practice among early Buddhists and his extensive reading in Buddhist scriptures was to come to his aid. Sangha practice incorporated voting by ballot, rules of debate and precedence and the use of agendas, committees and proposals to conduct business. Sangha practice itself was modelled on the oligarchic system of governance followed by tribal republics of ancient India such as the Shakyas and the Lichchavis. Thus, although Ambedkar used Western models to give his Constitution shape, its spirit was Indian and, indeed, tribal

Dr.Ambedkar in Constituents Assembly. On his left are Shri.Antony, Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel and B.G.Kher. (1947).

The text prepared by Ambedkar provided constitutional guarantees and protections for a wide range of civil liberties for individual citizens, including freedom of religion, the abolition of untouchability and the outlawing of all forms of discrimination. Ambedkar argued for extensive economic and social rights for women, and also won the Assembly's support for introducing a system of reservations of jobs in the civil services, schools and colleges for members of scheduled castes and scheduled tribes, a system akin to affirmative action. India's lawmakers hoped to eradicate the socio-economic inequalities and lack of opportunities for India's depressed classes through this measure, which had been originally envisioned as temporary on a need basis.

Dr.Ambedkar Chairman, Drafting Committee of Indian Constitution with other members. (Sitting fromleft) Shri.N.Madhavrao, Sayyad Sadulla, Dr.Ambedkar (Chairman), Alladi Krishnaswamy Iyer, Sir Benegal, Narsingh Rao. Standing from left – Shri.S.N.Mukharjee, Jugal Kishor Khanna and Kewal Krishnan. (Aug29, 1947)

Dr.Ambedkar, Chairman Drafting Committee Presenting the draft of the Constitution to Dr.Rajendra Prasad, President Constituents Assembly. (Feb.1948).

The Constitution was adopted on November 26, 1949 by the Constituent Assembly. Speaking after the completion of his work, Ambedkar said:I feel that the Constitution is workable; it is flexible and it is strong enough to hold the country together both in peace time and in war time. Indeed, if I may say so, if things go wrong under the new Constitution the reason will not be that we had a bad Constitution. What we will have to say is that Man was vile.Ambedkar resigned from the cabinet in 1951 following the stalling in parliament of his draft of the Hindu Code Bill, which sought to expound gender equality in the laws of inheritance, marriage and the economy. Although supported by Prime Minister Nehru, the cabinet and many other Congress leaders, it received criticism from a large number of members of parliament. Ambedkar independently contested an election in 1952 to the lower house of parliament, the Lok Sabha but was defeated. He was appointed to the upper house of parliament, the Rajya Sabha in March 1952 and would remain a member until his death.