Passage of CAB is fulfilment of Ambedkar’s thought: Nandakumar

Ambedkar popularly known as the flag bearer of uplifting Dalit and minority communities in India, would be happy to see the passage of CAB {Citizenship (Amendment) Bill}, according to J Nandakumar.
A BJP supporter holds up an image of Dr. BR Ambedkar during Prime Minister Narendra Modi's rally at Ramlila Maidan in New Delhi on December 22.(HT PHOTO)
A BJP supporter holds up an image of Dr. BR Ambedkar during Prime Minister Narendra Modi's rally at Ramlila Maidan in New Delhi on December 22.(HT PHOTO)
Updated on Dec 27, 2019 11:33 AM IST
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Hindustan Times, New Delhi | By

In the backdrop of unrest over the Citizenship (Amendment) Act (CAA), a senior functionary of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) says it is wrong to invoke the name of Dalit icon BR Ambedkar in opposing the law that seeks to fast-track Indian citizenship for members of persecuted minorities in India’s neighbourhood.

Ambedkar, who played a seminal role in framing the Constitution of India, had expressed concern about the fate of Hindus, particularly Dalits, in Pakistan at the time of Partition, said J Nandakumar.

“Had Ambedkar been alive, he would have been happy to see the passage of the CAB {Citizenship (Amendment) Bill} in both houses of Parliament, as it is a fulfilment of his thought,” Nandakumar, national convener of the Prajna Pravah, a Sangh-affiliated think tank, said in an interview.

CAA has been criticised as unconstitutional by many opposition parties because it seeks to grant Indian citizenship to members of the minorities -- Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, Jains ,Parsis and Christians -- from Muslim-majority Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Pakistan on the basis of their religion. Widespread protests have taken place against the law and the proposed National Register of Citizens (NCR), an exercise aimed at identifying illegal immigrants living in India.

Nandakumar, who has written a book titled Hindutva for the Changing Times, claims that the opposition to the CAA is misplaced because it does not target Indian citizens of any faith.

In his book, which aims to “assess and analyse contemporary issues in the light of Hindutva”, in a section on Ambedkar, the author has quoted his views on Islam, Christianity and the Dalit-Muslim equation. The book will be launched in the capital on January 2.

“Some of those who are referring to Ambedkar and are claiming a Dalit-Muslim bonhomie should read what he had to say. During Partition he requested Nehru for ensuring the transfer of Hindus in general and Dalits in particular, from Pakistan. He cited the example of the migration of Christians and Muslims that took place between Greece and Turkey,” Nandakumar said.

Referencing to the population exchange that took place under a convention signed in 1923 by Greece and Turkey

In the book, the author says a close reading of Ambedkar’s views on Pakistan and Partition “shows Dr Ambedkar was ready with a clear-cut plans for the migration of Hindu and Muslim populations from India and Pakistan on the lines of such migration of Christians and Muslims {that} took place between Greece and Turkey.”

On the issue of Muslims not being included in the CAA, Nandakumar said, “There is no law preventing them from seeking citizenship through naturalization, but those Hindus and Sikhs who left everything behind (in Pakistan and Afghanistan) and were persecuted, they need something. And the issue of helping these people was also raised by Manmohan Singh before he became PM.”

The RSS functionary blamed opposition parties for fuelling the protests against CAA and said an attempt was being made to create a “false narrative.” He also rebutted allegations that the Sangh , the ideological mentor of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), was anti-Muslims.

“Fear and no faith in democratic and constitutional bodies is being created… a dangerous situation is emerging where political leaders are giving protestors cover fire,” he said.

Opposition parties say the Hindutva promoted by the BJP fosters exclusion. Nandakumar said that in his book he had attempted to explain how Hindutva was the “most appropriate” way to define “Indian culture and traditions.”

“Isms are rigid and limiting… Hindutva is a lifestyle and a pattern of society. It deals with every aspect from nature to technology,” Nandakumar said.


    Smriti covers an intersection of politics and governance. Having spent over a decade in journalism, she combines old fashioned leg work with modern story telling tools.

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