Sunday, November 14, 2010

Ambedkar and Heehs

The Draft was the result of collective labours of many persons. Several parts of it went through many versions. Several Articles were adopted, only to be overturned at the next stage. The Assembly itself reopened and revised, and sometimes completely overhauled several provisions -- many of them key provisions on which the very nature of the system of governance turned.
Not only did Ambedkar himself not claim authorship of the Draft. He did not even claim any great degree of originality for the Draft which emerged from these iterations and which he formally tabled. …
The overwhelming proportion of provisions were based on the Government of India Act of 1935 … On that count, not half but almost four-fifths of the Constitution was from the 1935 Act … How mere designations father myths! …
But now suddenly the Constitution is presented as something that sprung -- whole and complete, pristine and virginal -- from the mind and genius of Ambedkar.] 

Bulk of data in the book Heehs borrows from the previous biographies (which he magisterially disparages as hagiographies) and the rest from collective labours of his colleagues in the Archives. So there is nothing “whole and complete, pristine and virginal” about The Lives of Sri Aurobindo. [TNM]

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