Sunday, February 01, 2009

Law and Moral Society:
Ambedkarian point of view

Dr. P. Kesava Kumar

To evaluate the performance of Indian democracy, one may get mixed responses. Democracy got strengthened and penetrating deep into its institutions. The marginalized groups are in a position to claim for the democratic rights. Simultaneously, we are often witnessing that Indian democracy and its structures fail to represent the interests of the poor and other marginalized sections. Indian state is not realizing its democratic potential that promised to its people and still in the hands of dominant classes/castes. To understand this phenomenon Ambedkar will provide insights. Ambedkar is an important figure in post-colonial Indian politics to understand Indian democracy and the struggles of the oppressed India. He is one of the key legal thinkers of India who gave shape to Indian constitution to govern the independent Indian nation. More than this, Ambedkar is known as a leader and thinker stand for the oppressed masses of Indian society those who are humiliated and exploited in the name of caste and religion. By critiquing of caste ridden hierarchical inhumane Indian society, he argued for common good and just society. This could be seen in all his writings including the Indian constitution. In making constitution, he considered flight of oppressed Dalits and work out for protective measures from Brahminical society. The Indian constitution imbibed the spirit of liberal democracy and made laws accordingly. The source for the legal rights is its society. In a society of multiple social groups, religious groups and ethnic groups-it is difficult to work out for any law of common good. One hand dominant hegemonic caste groups, and on the other marginalized unprivileged caste groups. One hand Hindus of majority and on the other minority Muslims, Christians and Sikhs etc. Indian constitution opted for the best under the leadership of Ambedkar towards just society. The just society is based on equality and directing towards modern egalitarianism. The laws are made not only for just society and are developed on moral assumptions. In that sense, Ambedkar is a critique of dominant hegemonic Brahminism and majoritarian Hindu religion. Law to govern society emerged out of moral foundations. He is very much aware that any law does not have impact unless until its people have concern for it. The success of law depends upon its people. There is a nexus between law and moral society put forwarded by Ambedkar. As Ambedkar observed, that moral society is powerful than any kind of law. He expects social relations to function on the ground of morality. No doubt that, it is a pragmatic approach that involves both exploiter and victim. It means moral society needs the consent of both to reach out just society. In case, the exploiter does not care for the victim, it leads to shacking of the very foundations of moral society. In contemporary times, initially Dalit politics got succeed to impress the state and upper caste by exploiting concept of morality. But over the period of time, in many cases it happens that upper caste people no more appealed by the moral claims of Dalits. They become authoritarian and antagonistic towards Dalits. State and its legal structures are not in a position to protect the interests of Dalits as it witnessed in many judgments of the courts on the issues related to Dalits. There is no point Dalits to hold the moral position in a situation the other is not prepared to listen to him. There is a need to explore the strength and limitations of moral society in the contemporary times.

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