Balasaheb Hanumantrao Khardekar was born on 1 August 1903 in Bombay Presidency. He completed his schooling in Kolhapur and his undergraduate degree at the University of Bombay. He also graduated from Cambridge University with a degree in Law.
Khardekar was passionate about education and served as a teacher for a few years after completing his law degree. He went on to become the principal of two colleges – Rajaram College, Kolhapur (1940 -1944) and G.K. Gokhale College, Kagal. He was a member of the Shikshan Prasarak Mandal, Kolhapur – a private educational society and was later appointed as its Chairman.
Khardekar was interested in sports and was a life member of the Cricket Club of India and Kolhapur Sports Association.
Role in India’s Independence Movement
Khardekar did not directly participate in the Indian independence movement and focused instead on social development and education.
Contribution to Constitution Making
Khardekar represented the Bombay Presidency in the Constituent Assembly. He did not participate in many debates. However, his scathing challenge to Draft Article 38 (Article 47 of the Constitution of India 1950) which prohibited the sale and consumption of intoxicating drinks is remembered and cited in contemporary debates on alcohol prohibition.
Khadekar was a member of the first Lok Sabha in 1952. He represented the Kohlapur constituency as an independent candidate.
He passed away on 6 December 1963.
Khardekar defended an individual’s right to drink and thereby attacked the popular and long-standing Congress party policy on prohibition. He argued that ‘prohibition goes against the very grain of personal liberty‘. He believed that a prohibition regime would lead to a religious fascist government and further highlighted the positive social values of drinking.