Sundarrajk's Weblog

Archive for the ‘R. K. Sidhva’ Category

After the post about talk by Mr. Tajamul Hussain read what Mr. R. K. Sidhva, a Parsee, has to say about reservation for minorities. Also in this post is defense of Congress by Sardar Patel.

Shri R. K. Sidhva : Sir, I am very glad that the Honourable Dr. Ambedkar has moved amendment No. 15 and the other amendments relating to backward classes have been dropped. My amendment, as just now stated, related to the deletion of the clause relating to backward classes.
Sir, I have been trying to understand what is the definition of backward classes. In article 301, we have stated that those who are socially and educationally backward would be known As backward classes. Today, in this country, 88 per cent. of the people are illiterate. They do not know even the A B C or the alphabet of their own mother tongue. Only 12 per cent. of the people are literate in this country. Socially also they are backward. Am I to understand that 88 percent of the people are backward ? Article 301, definitely states that those who are socially and educationally backward will come under that article. How can we then say that the whole country, 88 per cent. of the people are to be known as backward classes? My honourable Friend, Mr. Guptanath Singh, went to the length of saying that the peasant belongs to the backward class. He mentioned the illustration of the Brahmin as backward class. I know of an illustration and I shall give it, This was all created for the purpose of getting position and power and nothing else. Some ten years ago, a person wanted to get into the services as a Subordinate judge. The belonged to Pushkar Brahmin community. He set up a theory that the Pushkar Brahmins belonged to the backward classes. He had merely to take the signatures of 500 persons and present it to the chief Judge. The Judge was guided by the signatures and as there was no Pushkar Brahmin in the service as Judge, he appointed him.I may also tell the House that thirty years ago, the Parsees were considered as a backward class by the Bombay Government. You know Sir, that we are a far advanced community. Thirty years ago, 80 per cent. of us were educated; today 99 per cent. are educated. Still, thirty years ago, the Bombay Government declared that the Parsees were a backward class. It is only those people. who want to get into the services that use their influence and class themselves as a backward class. This is what was happening in the British regime. Some people who wanted to get into the services used their influence and classified themselves as backward classes, whereas really the masses of the people who are really the backbone of the country, they are not given any representation in the services. (Interruption).
Shri Guptanath Singh : You talk much but do not know the masses; I know the minds of the masses.
Shri R. K. Sidhva : I do not want to argue with you. What I was saying was that there has been injustice done to a small section of our own people. I know there has been favouritism going on and let me tell you favouritism will go on for ever unless a real Ram Rajya comes into being. Some sort of favouritism will prevail even in the best of Government. So far as the Scheduled Classes are concerned, I have never conceded that the Scheduled Castes are a community. I have considered them as a class of people whom really great injustice has been done in the past by the Hindu community. Therefore, we want to do something to see that they come up to standard of their own brethren. If they were to classify themselves into a separate community, I would oppose it. I do not consider them as separate. So far as the Scheduled Tribes are concerned, they are not untouchables. For instance. there are the Bhils; they are not untouchable. They are only backward. They have also been brought under Scheduled Tribes. These people require attention at the hands of the special officer that is to be appointed.
I do feel that our article 301 is a real stigma on our Constitution. I wish article 301 should go: I do not want backward classes at all to be mentioned in our Constitution. It is a slur upon our intelligence. For those who are educationally backward, we have provided in the Directive policy that within ten years every man, woman or child should be made literate. When educationally every person is advanced, who will call them backward? There will be no backward classes. Socially, they become advanced. If a man is educated, I have seen he improves his position in society and social affairs. Therefore, the fundamental thing is education and we have provided for that in the Directive Policy. I would have wished it to have. come in the Fundamental Rights. Within ten years, there shall not be a single person who shall be illiterate. Of course, there are certain difficulties in the way. I am sure our present Government are’ going to see that every man is made literate within a period of ten years, and we shall be proud that every person can read in his own mother tongue.
I therefore, oppose the amendment proposed by Mr. Guptanath Singh. It has no meaning. It has meaning only when we want to favour somebody and therefore we want to classify them as backward classes. The article as moved by Dr. Ambedkar is sufficient for our purposes. When a time limit is not mentioned, I am quite sure that within a short period these Scheduled Classes will go and they will come up to the level of the other people and we shall see that there is’ no mention of these Scheduled Classes in our Constitution hereafter. With these words, I strongly support the proposition and I oppose any kind of reservation or even the mention to reserve posts in services in the Constitution. We have done away with reservation in the legislatures. With what face shall we say that there should be reservation in the services?
It looks so awkward. Our leader, Sardar Patel, made it very clear the other day when he brought the question of representation in the Legislatures, and today my Friend Sardar Hukam Singh has put in Parsees also that they want special rights. Sir, my community has never asked for special rights in any Legislature or in the services. They have come by merits and I can assure you whatever number they are in the Government of India-there are some Parsees in services of the Government of India-they have come by merit and not by favour. The.; majority community realise it and we leave it to them. We know they can appreciate it. Merit alone should count in our future Constitution and nothing else. I place great stress upon this. This method has been started by the British Government of favouring one community or the other. Sir, we have given our President the power to classify who are the backward classes. Mushroom association in the name of backward class will be formed and the President will he put in an awkward position, many communities will try to influence them. I am sorry that this clause is there but I only expect that article 301 Will remain a dead article in this Constitution and shall never be operated upon. With these words I strongly support the original proposition and oppose all amendments.

Sardar Patel defending the Congress

The Honourable Sardar Vallabhbhai J. Patel (Bombay : General) :- Sir I had no intention to speak on this article, but when I heard that a definite insinuation was made in this House that because the Congress Party has a majority in this House, therefore it does not care for the promises given to the Sikhs and they are breaking the promises given them- have to speak. I am very sorry to hear this charge from the Sikhs or a representative of the Sikhs. Sardar Hukam Singh made this point. At another place on another occasion I had made it clear to him and yet he seems to have raised the same question. Now I wish only to answer that charge for the other things I do not think I need go into discussion or say anything about it. But when it is alleged that Congress is breaking its promises given to the Sikhs, one after another, I wish to understand the position.
We are-he alleges-breaking the promises-broke the promise given in 1929, one in 1946 and another in 1947. I do not know what promises he refers to. If he refers to 1929 and then again to the Partition of
India and Pakistan, I wish to point out to him that there was not a single Sikh voice against the Partition; on the other hand they are probably in the forefront in demanding partition of the Punjab. After the butchery and the bloodshed that took place in Rawalpindi and Multan, the Sikhs were terribly upset and naturally distressed and they had considerable sympathy from the Congress. At that time there were other tragedies happening in other parts of the country and then came the conflagration in Lahore, Amritsar and other parts of the Punjab. It was at that time with the concurrence of the Sikhs,-unanimously, with one voice they agreed,-we agreed to the Partition of India. Now to turn round and charge us with a breach of faith is a charge which I cannot understand and it is not right for the Sikh community-a brave community like the Sikhs-to fling these charges at us. Who were we to agree to the Partition of India and partition of the Punjab if the Sikhs were opposed ? We could never have done that. Because they also said that it was best in, the interest of India that we should agree to partition on condition that the Punjab was partitioned-that we agreed to it. Now that is about 1929 promise.
Then again he says about 1946. If he refers to the Minorities Committee recommendations, I can understand it. I propose to explain it in detail as to what has taken place. But I do not know what he means by 1946 promise. If I can have any concrete expression of a promise given by Congress Leaders, I might, and if so I do not think there is any one Congressman who will go against that promise. I have not however understood the psychology of the Sikh leaders-some of them-who often charge everybody with breach of faith, and always complain of minorities being ill- treated.
Look at the army. Are they not very heavily over-weighted ? What have we done ? We are under their protection and we trust them and not a single army officer is disloyal to us. Why do you create this feeling for nothing I What is it that you want ?
When the Minorities Committee in the Advisory Committee passed its first decisions, I was appointed Chairman and I took all the minorities with me and the decisions of the Minorities Committee and the Advisory Committee were almost unaimous. This House appreciated the work of these Committees and congratulated me on that. Time went on and the minorities themselves began to feel that we should reconsider our decision and, headed by the great patriotic Christian leader, they brought in a Resolution that they want to give up the reservations. And what reservations?- Not this Petty reservation of minorities in the services-but the big reservations in the Assemblies, both in the Centre and in the provinces.
They agreed to have joint electorates and to have nothing. to do with this communal separatism. When they desired that, I called a meeting of the minorities Committee and the Advisory Committee. At their instance decisions were taken. The Sikh stand has always been that “if all minorities agreed, we are also agreeable. Wo do not want any special arrangement. We do not want any advantage. We are able to stand on our own legs”‘. ‘Mat was their stand throughout, in the Congress and outside the Congress.
When this resolution was brought, and this question was about to be considered, the Sikh representatives of the Punjab came to me and they said that so far as the Scheduled Caste Sikhs are concerned, they should be treated separately and given the same advantage that was being given to the Hindu Scheduled Castes. The Scheduled Castes objected to a man that these art not Scheduled Castes, and if they are Scheduled Castes, then they are not Sikhs. Therefore, they said, “you cannot give them separate treatment. There are forcible conversions being made from the Scheduled Castes to the Sikhs for this purpose”. That was their grievance. On the other side, the Sikhs said that they had converted so many and it was not by force. “They have come to our fold”, they said, “and if you do not recognise these concessions, then they will all go back to the Scheduled Caste Hindus and we will lose.
Now, it was against our conviction to recognise a separate Sikh caste as untouchables or Scheduled Castes, because untouchability is not recognised in the Sikh religion. A Scheduled Caste Sikh community has never been in the past recognised. But as the Sikhs began to make a grievance continuously against the Congress- and against us, I persuaded the Scheduled Caste people with great difficulty to agree to this for the sake of peace. I persuaded the other members of the Advisory Committee on the condition, which is in writing by the representatives of the Sikhs, that they will raise no other question hereafter.
Then in the Advisory Committee, when this question came, Sardar Ujjal Singh raised the question, “What about the Services” ? I said, “Your representatives have given in writing that no other question hereafter is to be raised” Giani Kartar Singh was also in the Advisory Committee, and he got up and said, “No, we will settle it in the Provinces. It is not to be raised here.”
What is the use of charging the Congress with having broken promises ? Do not break the promises that you have given, and do not charge others with breach of promises. If you now say, as Sardar Hukam Singh says, that these people were anxious to serve an advantage for the Scheduled Caste Sikhs and they may have agreed to this, but it is a mistake, then if it is a mistake, reconsider your position, and I shall reconsider mine. Take away that concession and remove it, and you get your pound of flesh, if you want it.
What is it that you get in the Services? Even at present, what do the Sikhs do ? What do other communities do ? So far as the Services are concerned, for all major posts or all posts which go by competitive examinations there is no reservation on communal grounds. They go to the Public Service Commission. You are quarrelling or asking for the minor posts-Chaprasis and clerks. Is it the Sikh position now that we have not got enough Sikh Chaprasis and clerks ? Are you going to raise the community in that manner ? If that is so, tell me, and If you leave what you have got for the Scheduled Castes, I shall persuade the Constituent Assembly to give you what you want, but you will repent afterwards.
You say, in PEPSU it is not the arrangement. But this is not the House to bear that complaint. If there is any such complaint, send it to us. We shall consider about it. But do not go behind, your pledged words and charge people with breach of promises or pledges. We are not the people to pledges. Every sympathy and every consideration will be shown to the Sikh community because it is located in a particular area ; it is a small community, and yet it is brave, virile and it can stand on its own against anybody. Do not break that spirit by continuously saying, “We are injured, we are helpless, we are-in a minority, we are hopeless, we cannot do anything.”
That kind of psychology will injure the community itself and not others, and injuring the community means injuring the nation. It is not as a representative of the majority community that I give this advice, but as a well wisher of the Sikh community, I advise you not to create this atmosphere by saying continually, “we are badly treated, badly treated”. If you do, then it is the Sikh community that will be hurt.
When the Advisory Committee took this decision to give up reservation, we clearly understood the position and all communities clearly understood it. When the decision of the Advisory Committee came before this House for its acceptance, I made it clear that this Constitution of India, of free India, of a secular State will not hereafter be disfigured by any provision on a communal basis. It was accepted with acclamation.
It is said that if you make any arrangements in the Provinces, then the provisions of the Constituent Assembly with regard to fundamental rights will come in the way. Let me tell you, nothing comes in the way where arrangements are made by mutual agreement, and without mental reservations. That provision in the fundamental rights is provided for an individual who is injured But if you make domestic arrangements in the Punjab between community and community for the small posts, then who is going to question that ? But first create an atmosphere for adjustment of such ‘things in your Province. It is tile continued atmosphere of quarrel between two communities that has created distrust among them, and that creates difficulties. You will have our support and sympathy continuously in that Province because that Province has suffered most. It is injured and the wounds have not yet healed. It is for us all, and for you particularly, to help us in healing the wounds. Therefore, let us make a united effort to raise the morale of that Province, the strength of that Province, which really is at the top of India, where the border is. Then you will have no complaint at all.
After all, what is the Sikh community backward in ? Is it backward in trade ? Is it backward in industry, or commerce or in anything ? Why do you consider yourselves to be backward ? Therefore, forget that psychology. If there is any injustice done, then come to us, we will see that no injustice is done.

R. K. Sidhva again

Shri R. K. Sidhva : Then I move my amendment, Sir. As the President may on receipt of the report of a Commission appointed under clause (1) of article 301 of this Constitution by order specify and” be deleted.
Sir, I do not want to speak at length because I have touched upon this point in my previous amendment. I know there is the article 301 which specifies backward classes. I am not quite sure that it will be easy for the President to find out who are the backward classes. I do feel that this backward classes article will remain a dead article, because I know that people who will come in the name of the backward classes will come only for their own personal position and personal aggrandisement to insert themselves as backward classes to win their own personal ends I know people would come in the name of the backward classes only to get a few posts, leaving the poor masses of that community in the lurch. I am therefore strongly opposed to the inclusion of the term ‘backward classes’. Article 301 says investigate the conditions of socially and educationally backward classes”. Now, What does that mean ? 80 per cent. of our people are illiterate. Are they all backward ? Sometimes people who are illiterate have a far better sense of argument than the literate people.
Therefore, Sir, I contend that there is no such class as a backward class. The Britishers wanted to dub many as backward classes and then play them up to the whole world and say that India consists of so many backward classes and so they do not deserve freedom. I do not want this term “backward ,classes” perpetuated in our Constitution. The sooner we do away with this, the better for our country, the ‘better for our position in the world. Beyond the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes, I do not want any kind of reservation for anybody. If there is any class which feels that their interests have not been justly represented in the services, they should go to the proper authorities and find the remedy. After hearing Sardar Patel, I do not think there will be any injustice to any class people who really deserve some kind of sympathy and justice. If there is any injustice,, then our leaders are there who will look after their interests. With these few words, I commend my amendment for the acceptance of the House.

Unfortunately all the predictions of Mr. R. K. Sidhva “other than the fact that Article 301 will be a dead article” have come true. Today everybody is vying to be classified as a Backward Class for their own personal gain any by including the words “minorities” and “backward class” our constitution has ensured that we continue to be disunited.