‘Hero-worship not healthy for democracy’

Source: The Hitavada      Date: 27 Nov 2017 10:19:22


Staff Reporter,

Former Vice-President Hamid Ansari invokes Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar’s warning against ‘Bhakti’ and excessive trust in one individual as it may jeopardise the democratic institutions

Citing perils of the hero worship and ‘Bhakti’ in a democratic set-up, former Vice-President of India M Hamid Ansari cited the warning issued by Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar who had professed that it eventually leads to dictatorship. Quoting from the historic speech of Dr Ambedkar to Constituent Assembly in 1949 which warned the citizens not to forsake their liberties “at the feet of even a great man or trust him with power,” Ansari also highlighted the danger it may pose to democratic institutions.

The former Vice-President was a guest at the launching of a new advocacy group, Association for Social and Economic Equality (ASEE), promoted by noted economist and former Chairman of UGC, Dr Sukhadeo Thorat. Ansari chose the setting of Deekshabhoomi to invoke Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar's speech to Constituent Assembly on the Constitution Day to the fullest, although he did not offer any comments to connect the dots in his speech leaving citizens to interpret its meaning. He was addressing the gathering at Dr Ambedkar Auditorium of NIT at Deekshabhoomi, wherein Ansari further said that mere political democracy is not going to be useful if there is no transformation on social front, especially given the scale of inequalities prevailing in society.

The former Vice-President chose to stuck to written word wherein he quoted Dr Ambedkar's extensively, saying in Constituent Assembly the latter unambiguously spelt out the target, the benefit and pitfall which in fact was also meant for future generations.

Taking cue from theme of conference organised by the advocacy group, Ansari said that benefits spelt out in Articles of Constitution 14, 15 and 16 can be achieved only if the State is secular in letter and spirit. Till then socio-economic equality between citizens cannot be possible as our's is a diverse and composite society.

Further he quoted liberally from Human Development Index of Maharashtra, to underline the pathos, as the State though number one in economic terms has still a long way to go while ensuring equal distribution of resources among all sections of the society.

Ansari expressed deep concern over wide disparity of development and stated that Muslims and Dalits are far behind their caste Hindu counterparts while advocating “equality not only in law but in actual practice.” The former Vice-President also quoted a book stating that Muslims an Dalits are being seen as “others” to drive home the point.

Earlier, Dr Sukhadeo Thorat in his speech outlined the theme of first conference of the new social group and also shed light for forming it. He said unless we have realistic data, it is not possible to fathom as to where we are lacking and reasons for it. And the group’s intention is not only to study the figures and situation but also to assist State in formulating right strategy to ensure fruits of development is accessible to each group in the society.

He said the ASEE has brought out a report on poverty and atrocity in Maharashtra wherein the contrasts are very much visible. While Maharashtra can rightly claim the top position in economy, it has highest per capital income in India, but at the same time it is also capital of malnutrition having highest number in the country. This irony is not lost on social activists like us and we want to alter the situation through concrete measures.

Dr Harshadeep Kamble, IAS, Commissioner of Industries, Government of Maharashtra, said the data about Government schemes provides an insight that helps to determine whether it has achieved the desired goals. The feedback from social groups help Government to make necessary changes, alter the formulations so that development remains on track.

Earlier, Vijay Khare made introductory remarks. Dr P G Jogdand, VP, ASEE, also spoke on the occasion.
Puran Meshram, Registrar, Rashtrasant Tukadoji Maharaj Nagpur University, presented the volume brought out on Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar to Hamid Ansari. Dr Gautam Gawli proposed a vote of thanks.