India’s first Law Minister Dr. Ambedkar’s resignation letter missing from archives

Dr. BR Ambedkar served as India’s first Law Minister following independence. Official records no longer contain his resignation letter.

Dr. Ambedkar as Minister of Law

  • Dr. B.R. Ambedkar was the first law minister of independent India.
  • He was an Indian jurist, economist, politician, and social reformer who received the Bharat Ratna posthumously in 1990.
  • Sardar Patel and Mahatma Gandhi are said to have proposed Dr. Ambedkar’s name for the position of Law Minister in the Nehru Cabinet.

Why was he selected for the post?

  • Being the father of our Constitution: Dr. Ambedkar’s intellectual abilities and contributions to the drafting of India’s Constitution were highly regarded by Sardar Patel, then deputy Prime Minister.
  • Dr. Ambedkar’s role in the Dalit movement and his fight against caste discrimination also helped to establish him as a significant political figure.
  • Marginalized community representation: His appointment as Law Minister was viewed as a symbol of inclusivity and representation of marginalised communities in government.

Why did Dr. Ambedkar resign?

  • He resigned as Law Minister due to disagreements with then-Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru over the Hindu Code Bill. He was only interested in reforming Hindu personal laws, not all personal laws in India.
  • The bill aimed to reform Hindu personal laws related to marriage, divorce, and inheritance, but Dr. Ambedkar felt it did not go far enough in granting women’s rights and desired more radical changes.
  • Injustice against women: Ambedkar proposed a broader set of reforms that would have given women greater rights in areas such as property ownership and inheritance, but his proposals were met with opposition from Nehru and other government members.

Attempts to find his resignation letter

  • The letter was not discovered in India’s National Archives or the Ministry of Home Affairs.
  • The Maharashtra government was unable to locate the letter in its archives as well.
  • Requests for RTI (Right to Information) were also denied.

Significance of his letter

  • The missing letter is a source of concern because it is a significant historical document.
  • Ambedkar’s resignation was a watershed moment in Indian political history, and the reasons for it remain relevant today.
  • The letter may shed light on the differences between Dr. Ambedkar and later mainstream politicians.
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