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The Vision of Dr. B.R. Ambedkar for a Uniform Civil Code(UCC) – IMPRI Impact and Policy Research Institute

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The Vision of Dr. B.R. Ambedkar for a Uniform Civil Code(UCC) - IMPRI Impact and Policy Research Institute

Pooja Paswan

“The Hindu code bills, the Indian Christian Marriage Act, the Indian Divorce Act and the Indian Succession Act have already introduced the principle of a Uniform Civil Code(UCC) in India in respect of matters covered by them. What is needed now is to make a bold effort to introduce the principle in areas where it has not yet been introduced.” – Dr. Bhimrao Ramji Ambedkar (India’s First Minister of Law and Justice)

The above quote reflects Ambedkar’s belief that a Uniform Civil Code is necessary in India to ensure equality and justice for all citizens, regardless of their religion or gender. He argued that while some progress had been made in introducing uniformity in certain areas, such as marriage and divorce laws, there was still much work to be done in other areas, such as inheritance and property rights. Ambedkar saw the UCC as a means to achieve a truly secular and democratic India, free from the inequalities and injustices of the past.

B.R. Ambedkar was a strong advocate for the Uniform Civil Code (UCC) in India. The UCC aims to replace personal laws based on religion or ethnicity with a single, uniform set of laws applicable to all citizens. Ambedkar saw the UCC as a necessary step towards ensuring gender equality and social justice in India and his views on the UCC shaped his ideas and contributions.

Gender Equality

“I measure the progress of a community by the degree of progress which women have achieved.”

Ambedkar believed that personal laws based on religion and ethnicity perpetuated gender inequality by treating women as inferior to men. He saw the Uniform Civil Code as a way of ensuring gender equality by providing women with equal rights in matters of marriage, divorce, inheritance and adoption. Ambedkar believed that the UCC would help to break the patriarchal structures that had been ingrained in Indian society for centuries.

Secularism

“I do not want that our loyalty as Indians should be in the slightest way affected by any competitive loyalty whether that loyalty arises out of our religion, out of our culture or out of our language. I want all people to be Indians first, Indian last and nothing else but Indians.”

Ambedkar saw the Uniform Civil Code as an essential part of India’s secular fabric. He believed that personal laws based on religion or ethnicity violated the principle of secularism enshrined in India’s Constitution. He argued that the UCC would help to create a level playing field for all citizens irrespective of their religion or ethnicity.

Social Justice

“Social justice means the removal of all inequalities that militate against the granting of an equal opportunity to every individual to make the best of himself.”

Ambedkar believed that the Uniform Civil Code was crucial for ensuring social justice in India. He argued that personal laws based on religion or ethnicity perpetuated discrimination against the marginalized sections of society such as Dalits, Adivasis and women. Ambedkar believed that the UCC would help to create a more just and equitable society by providing equal rights and opportunities for all citizens.

Constitutionalism

“Constitutional morality is not a natural sentiment. It has to be cultivated. We must realize that our people have yet to learn it. Democracy in India is only a top-dressing on an Indian soil, which is essentially undemocratic.”

Ambedkar was a strong advocate of constitutionalism and believed that the UCC was essential for upholding the Constitution. He argued that personal laws based on religion or ethnicity violated the fundamental rights enshrined in the Constitution. Ambedkar believed that the UCC would help to ensure that the Constitution was the supreme law of the land and that all citizens were subject to the same laws.

Political Philosophy

“Political tyranny is nothing compared to the social tyranny and a reformer who defies society is a more courageous man than a politician who defies Government.”

Ambedkar’s views on the UCC were shaped by his political philosophy, which emphasized the importance of individual freedom, rationality and equality. He believed that personal laws based on religion or ethnicity were irrational and violated individual freedom. Ambedkar saw the UCC as a way of promoting rationality and equality by creating a uniform set of laws applicable to all citizens.

 Ambedkar’s views on the UCC continue to be relevant today. The UCC remains a contentious issue in India, with some arguing that it would violate religious and cultural diversity, while others see it as a necessary step towards gender equality and social justice. Ambedkar’s legacy as a champion of social justice, equality and individual freedom continues to inspire people today, and his views on the UCC are an essential part of his contribution to Indian politics and society.

His views on the UCC were shaped by his commitment to social justice, gender equality, secularism, constitutionalism and individual freedom. His advocacy for the UCC reflected his vision of a just and equitable society, free from discrimination based on religion, ethnicity or gender. Ambedkar’s legacy as a social reformer, policymaker and jurist continues to inspire people today, and his views on the UCC remain relevant as India grapples with issues of diversity, identity and social justice.

First Published in PA Times on April 14, 2023 as Dr. B.R. Ambedkar’s Legacy: How the Uniform Civil Code will Contribute to Social Justice and Equality in India

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