Ambedkar’s words sound rather hollow to a vast majority of Hindus today because they believe the Constitution of India failed to protect their interests from the very start. One would think that after the Muslims divided the country and carved out two Islamic countries, the Hindus would finally have a state where they could freely practice their religion without fear or interference. But on the contrary, the Constitution was not only out of sync with India’s civilizational ethos, it was amended numerous times such that it became an instrument of oppression against Hindus. In fact, it has been amended and misused so often that in 1974, legendary jurist Nani Palkhivala wrote a book, the title of which sums up its essence: “Our Constitution: Defaced and Defiled.” 
So blatant is the constitutional bias against Hindus that in 1980, the Ramakrishna Mission – a quintessentially Hindu religious organization – petitioned the courts to have itself declared a non-Hindu minority religion, Ramkrishnaism. The Mission’s sole aim in doing so was to benefit from the protection of Article 30 of the Indian Constitution, which allows ‘the minorities’ – a shorthand for Muslims and Christians, to safeguard their autonomy. However, the plea was rejected by the Supreme Court in 1995. “The fact that a Hindu institution had to claim to be a minority institution to safeguard its independence speaks volumes,” comments Arvind Sharma, retired IAS officer and professor.
Reasons for the anti-Hindu bias
A mighty oak tree cannot grow from a sunflower seed. Likewise, a constitution that has its roots in the narrow Abrahamic worldview imposed by the European proxies cannot meet the requirements – or satisfy the aspirations – of the vast and diverse canvas of Hindu communities. This is why India’s constitution is at loggerheads with its indigenous ethos.
The system was rigged against Hindus on the drawing board. Here’s a quick quiz – who insisted on the word “India” in the constitution’s preamble? Several leading politicians, including H.V. Kamath, Brajeshwar Prasad, B.M. Gupta, Ram Sahai, Kamalapathi Tripathi, Lokanath Misra, Shibban Lal Saksena, and Hargovind Pant, were in favor of “Bharat” or “Bharat Varsha.” Pant said, “Even at the time of taking our bath, we say in Sanskrit: Jamboo Dwipay, Bharata Varshe, Bharat Khande, Aryavartay. It means that I so and so, of Aryavart in Bharat Khand…”
But in the end, B.R. Ambedkar ramrodded “India” into the preamble, and Bharat – the country’s name for thousands of years – was relegated to the background. And that’s how the first blow against Bharat was made in the constitution in favor of India, the name coined by the ancient Greeks and Romans.
Ambedkar’s appointment as the chairman of the Constitution Drafting Committee played a big part in the constitution adopting a hostile stance towards the interests of Hindus. Ambedkar was unequivocally opposed to the Hindu ethos. In his book, ‘Pakistan or The Partition of India,’ he wrote, “If Hindu Raj does become a fact, it will, no doubt, be the greatest calamity for this country. No matter what the Hindus say. Hinduism is a menace to liberty, equality, and fraternity. On that account, it is incompatible with democracy. Hindu Raj must be prevented at any cost.” 
In 1935, Ambedkar publicly proclaimed, “I was born a Hindu because I had no control over this, but I shall not die a Hindu.” And true to his words, on October 14, 1956, he converted to Buddhism, taking the following oath: “I thereby reject my old religion, Hinduism, which is detrimental to the prosperity of humankind, and which discriminates between man and man and which treats me as inferior.”
Of the 22 vows of Dr Ambedkar, the top three were:
- “I shall have no faith in Brahma, Vishnu, and Mahesh, nor shall I worship them.”
- “I shall have no faith in Rama and Krishna, who are believed to be incarnations of God, nor shall I worship them.”
- “I shall have no faith in ‘Gauri’, Ganapati, and other gods and goddesses of Hindus, nor shall I worship them.”
Clearly, entrusting the task of compiling the laws to govern India (in which Hindus comprised over 85 percent of the population back then) to a Hindu baiter turned out to be nothing less than civilizational hara-kiri.
If you trace the roots of the Indian constitution, you can trace its Eurocentric and Christian evangelical origins. While the Government of India Act of 1919 provided the framework for independent India’s Constitution of 1950, the Government of India Act of 1935 provided its architecture. Both documents were written with the sole aim of perpetuating British colonial rule and have their origins in an even earlier document – the 1683 CE charter of the East India Company, which specifically authorized the English to make war on “heathen nations.”
So why did independent India’s leaders take such biased documents as the base of the national constitution? Lawyer and author Sai Deepak explains in his book ‘India, That is Bharat,’ “To overcome the ﬁssiparous tendencies created by the imposition of nation-statehood, colonies upon achieving independence were forced to adopt legal mechanisms to preserve their integrity, the foremost of which was a constitution that was populated by Enlightened Europeanism.”
But like an artificial graft that is rejected by the body because the body recognizes it as an alien object, the outcome of imposing foreign ideas is never in doubt. Sai Deepak says: “Naturally, over time, the constitution, which was initially intended to be a means to forge a nation-state and was a product of necessity, was elevated to the status of a religious document. In short, the means became an end in itself, and, to make matters worse, thanks to the colonial values subscribed to by the constitutions of decolonized societies, the space for indigenous ways of life started shrinking once again. The only diﬀerence was that this time, the political structure was helmed not by the European colonizer but by the colonized native who was a new convert to constitutionalism, constitutional morality, and ultimately Europeanism/Western-normativism.”
Dividing Hindus via caste
Article 15 (1) of the constitution clearly says, “The State shall not discriminate against any citizen on grounds only of religion, race, caste, sex, place of birth or any of them.” This initially posed a hurdle in creating specific provisions for socially and educationally backward individuals. Article 15(4) was incorporated into the constitution to address this obstacle. This clause explicitly states that the State is not prohibited from implementing special measures to advance the well-being of socially and educationally backward classes of citizens, as well as those belonging to the scheduled castes or scheduled tribes.
Implementing affirmative action has, paradoxically, steadily strengthened the significance of the caste system and thereby increased its social salience. The allocation of quotas based on caste has sparked significant animosity, particularly among members of the higher castes. Moreover, the recent calls to extend such reservations for lower castes to the private sector have fueled resentment and anger.
This is a clear case of the constitution saying one thing in one article and taking the opposite view in another. Such contradictions, hypocrisies, and flip-flops are expected in the Bible and the Koran, which reflect the views of illiterate people of the Dark Ages, but a constitution written in the scientific era by erudite scholars is expected to do better.
Denial of religious freedom: Theft of temples
While there has been a continuous all-angles attack on Hinduism, arguably the most insidious onslaught is the capture of Hindu temples by the State. Hindus are the only community whose holiest religious sites – such as Tirupati, Guruvayur, Sabarimala, and Brihadeswara Temple – are under government control. Worse, the Places of Worship Act 1991 makes it virtually impossible to reclaim temples that have been encroached upon by foreign invaders.
The practice of government interference in the administration of temples has historical roots, dating back to the colonial era. During British rule, the government assumed control of many Hindu temples under the pretext of maintaining law and order. Post-independence, some states continued this tradition, justifying state intervention in the name of preventing maladministration and corruption and ensuring equitable distribution of temple resources.
While the intention behind government control may have been to ensure transparency and prevent exploitation, the issue has been mired in controversies and criticisms. Critics argue that such intervention infringes upon the autonomy of religious institutions and compromises the separation of State and religion. There have been instances where funds generated through temple donations have been diverted for non-religious purposes, raising concerns among devotees and religious leaders.
The capture of Hindu temples by the state has hindered the growth of Hinduism. Former Indian Police Service officer M. Nageswara Rao says: “Temples are the life and soul of Hinduism. Temples provided institutional capacity for religious education, self-correction and self-defense, and sustenance of the priestly class, artists, and various related service occupations. They also helped raise resource capacity to serve needy and destitute Hindus. Government takeover of temples has completely crippled Hinduism.” It is estimated that more than 100,000 Hindu temples, along with hundreds of thousands of acres of their land, their movable properties worth billions, and annual incomes running into billions of dollars, have been nationalized by the state governments. “Deprived of resources and institutions, Hinduism has been decaying. The religious rights of Hindus count for nothing, and states can trample them at will. So much for religious freedom for the majority Hindus!” Rao noted.
Eighth class citizens
Scientist and author Anand Ranganathan says the discrimination against Hindus is so entrenched in our constitution, policy, laws, and judgments that it makes them not just second-class citizens but “eighth-class citizens.” He points to the minority appeasement on an industrial scale: “Right from the Khilafat movement to the cushioning of the Mopla massacre to the Rangila Rasool incident to discriminatory state and central articles and amendments to school curriculums to Hajj subsidy to ignoring prohibition of Child Marriage Act to Shah Bano to the declaration by a sitting Prime Minister that minorities have the first right to resources, every single time the minority has been appeased it has only emboldened their leaders and political fronts for further extortion and blackmail.”
While appeasement in itself is discriminatory, active discrimination of the Hindu majority is worse than appeasement of one community. According to Ranganathan, Hindus have accepted appeasement as a political compulsion. It is this political compulsion that makes governments hand out a substantial chunk of free public housing, funds, subsidies for farmers, and free loans to Muslims, who are 14.2 percent (according to the official census) of the country’s population.
In an excerpt from Chapter 4, The RTE ACT, the author says, “If there is only one thing more cruel than not allowing Hindu temples to run their educational institutions without fear of State intervention and control, it is not allowing Hindus to run their educational institutions without fear of State intervention and control. And if there is only one thing more cruel than the fact that both these cruelties are being subjected to the Hindus, it is that the Hindus are subjecting them. Belonging to a Hindu government. In a Hindu Rashtra.“
This discrimination entrenched in the constitution, policies, legal framework, society, and psyche, therefore, amounts to an apartheid system that makes Hindus eighth-class citizens.
It is established beyond doubt that the imported European model of secularism adopted by India post-independence has sent the majority of Hindus into a state of deracination, hindering the country’s progress as a modern nation. It is also well-known that India’s constitution is a mish-mash of laws cobbled together from the constitutions of several countries, including the U.K., US, Ireland, Japan, France, Germany, the erstwhile USSR, South Africa, Canada, and Australia. Incredibly, this fact is drilled into Indian school children – as if this copy-paste job by the members of India’s Constitution Drafting Committee is something to be proud of. Such a constitution requires an overhaul, with the alien aspects removed, to establish a level playing field for Hindus.
There is nothing sacrosanct about a country’s constitution. If it is broken, it needs to be fixed. Thomas Jefferson, one of the founding fathers of America, wrote: “Some men look at constitutions with sanctimonious reverence and deem them like the Ark of the Covenant too sacred to be touched. They ascribe to the men of the preceding age a wisdom more than human and suppose what they did to be beyond amendment… Laws and institutions must go hand in hand with the progress of the human mind. As that becomes more developed and enlightened, as new discoveries are made, new truths disclosed, and manners and opinions change with the change of circumstances, institutions must also advance and keep pace with the times.”
Before the liberals get their underpants in a twist and call Jefferson a raving demagogue or Islamophobe, here’s a piece of news – your supreme guru Jawaharlal Nehru expressed the same thought in his typically outlandish English: “A constitution which is unchanging and static, it does not matter how good it is, how perfect it is, is a constitution that has past its use. It is in its old age already and gradually approaching its death. A constitution to be living must be growing; must be adaptable; must be flexible; must be changeable … as society changes, as conditions change, we amend it in the proper way.” 
But can Hindus get a constitution that offers them a level playing field? Well, considerable legwork has been done, and strong political will is needed to achieve this. Plus, the leading Hindu organizations are of the view that the present constitution needs to be discarded completely.
On January 1, 1993, the RSS published a white paper denouncing the constitution as “anti-Hindu” and outlining the polity it wished to establish in the country. In the foreword to the paper, Swami Hiranand wrote: “The constitution is contrary to the country’s culture, character, circumstances, situation, etc. It is foreign-oriented.”
Swami Hiranand argues that the damage done by 200 years of British rule is negligible compared with the harm done by the constitution. “We will have to think afresh about our economic policy, judicial and administrative structure, and other national institutions only after nullifying the present constitution.”
Sai Deepak explains the importance of drafting a new constitution that respects India’s civilizational legacy: “Given that in contemporary nation-states constitutions as documents create multiplier eﬀects by serving as launchpads for mass enforcement of ideas not just on the politico-economic front but also on the larger civilizational canvas, the priority of former colonies must be to ﬁrst decolonize this document so that indigeneity ﬁnds its rightful place ﬁrst within its territory of origin before it can hope to take its rightful place as an equal at the global high table.”
The consensus for a revision exists. And contrary to what the naysayers believe, the Indian constitution needs to be right-sized because, at the very least, it needs to walk the talk. After all, the current law book explicitly defines India as a secular state, which means that it cannot favor or discriminate against any particular religion, including Hinduism.
The bases are loaded. What is required now is electoral backing from the Hindu masses. Without a large mandate, the vision of a truly non-discriminatory constitution will remain a dream.
© Rakesh Krishnan Simha
( Disclaimer: The above article was first published in Hindudvesha and it is reproduced here.)