Dakshayani Vellayudan

Early Life:

Dakshayani Vellayudan was born in 1912 in Mulavukad, Kerala to a lower caste Pulaya community. She was inspired by her family’s involvement in the anti-caste movement. Dakshayani was one of the first women from Pulaya community to wear an upper cloth and she also earn a university degree (B.Sc Chemistry) from Maharaja’s College, Ernakulam.

 

Contribution to Constitution Making:

Dakshayani was elected to the Constituent Assembly from the Madras constituency. At the age of 34, she was one of the youngest Constituent Assembly Members. She made key interventions on issues of untouchability, forced labour, reservations, and separate electorate for Dalits.

 

Later contributions:

Post independence, Dakshayani was not politically active except for an unsuccessful attempt in the 1971 Lok Sabha elections.

However her civil society work continued, which included rights of Dalit community and setting up a women’s rights organization Mahila Jagriti Parishad in Delhi in 1977.

Dakshayani was not a part of any Assembly Committees.

  • During the Objectives Resolution debate (precursor to Preamble of the Constitution), she noted that communalism was antithetical to nationalism. Further, she believed that emancipation of Harijans depended on adopting a set of ‘moral safeguards’.
  • When the Assembly discussed untouchability (Article 17of the Constitution of India), she argued that the best way to address untouchability was through state propaganda and not through punishment.
  • Contrary to members from the minority communities, she opposed separate electorates for Harijans.