By Vidya Bhushan Rawat*
November 26 the constitution day. Many people have been claiming that India did not progress in sixty years and everything happened after May 2014 when some extraordinary human being took over the reins of the country. It is important to understand why today is the most sacred day for us and what are the challenges before our republic. It is good that government is reaffirming its commitment to the constitution and it would be better if the party in power bluntly tell those extra constitutional forces to stop or face action.
Today, the challenge is to implement this constitution in letter and spirit. We need to heed the warning that Baba Saheb Ambedkar gave us when he handed the copy of the constitution to the nation that we must resolve our contradiction between social and political life. In politics we have attained the equality by one man one vote principle but in social life this equality does not exist and therefore if that is not resolved it is bound to fail our political system. There are forces who want to fail this constitution and then blame it on the constitution.
The constitution is the symbol of Manavavad or humanism and those who believe or repent because this republican secular constitution is supreme over Manuwad, actually they are posing it the biggest threat. It is the Manuwadis who are threat to this manavavadi constitution. Let us be clear. Yes, on this historic occassion we cannot ignore the role that Baba Saheb Ambedkar played as well as Jawaharlal Nehru, the first prime minister of India. The previous governments might have over worked on Nehru but to undermine his work and thoughts just because your predecessors over hyped him will not serve any purpose. Two giants Ambedkar and Nehru are the builders of modern India and cannot be erased from the minds of the people, whatever the critique may say the reality must be said.
There will be many who would not like me to club the two leaders together but they worked together and had similarities of ideas. They might have personality clashes but definitely both were forward looking modern men who did not much harped on traditions and culture. It is time to acknowledge this. This is Ambedkar era and in that era if some one come close to Ambedkar’s thoughts of modernism in the dispensation, it was Nehru.
There is no denial of facts that today this inclusive vision of our constitution is under the attack. Our directive principles are being curtailed. We have deviated from the path of socialism. Right to education and free health are just in the papers but fact is they are more symbolic than in reality. State is handing over the national resources to private corporations and people are being displaced from their places and denied livelihood in the name of’ nation building’.
The middle classes and NRIs have become the ‘nation’ and those who should have mattered are nowhere in the agenda of the power elite. It is time we rededicate ourselves to the high ideals of our constitution.
Attempt to convert India into a theocracy must be desisted. Religion must be confined to your personal domain and just because some one is religious does not make him the most authentic voices as being presented these days.
Illegally begotten funds are channeled through religious gurus. Those who talked about everything material as bad are now living in the artificial materialistic world giving people ‘knowledge’ of ‘sacrifice’ . India should not be allowed to be like the theocracies elsewhere. We should resist any attempt to convert India into a theocracy or crony capitalist democracy.
It is constitution that binds us together and provide us a unique opportunity where we can respect each others customs, learn from it and defend the supremacy of the individual. It is the individual who should matter most said Baba Saheb. Today, it is the individual who is being lynched for being different. It is our liberty and dissent that is being seen as a challenge to those in power. It is disappointing to see how Rajnath Singh was rebuking the secularism aspect of the constitution and how is attempting to say secularism means ‘panth-nirpeksh’ and not ‘dharm-nirpeksh’.
We are not bothered about the meanings but assurance that state shall remain outside our bedrooms and prayer places unless its intervention is warranted to protect some one or defend the rights of other. Whether this clause of secularism was brought later by Indira Gandhi does not matter as it has become more important today as the challenges before our nation are enormous and if the government want to discredit the two words of Secularism and Socialism then it violate the spirit of our constitution.
It is interesting how the right wing is now determined to give a negative meaning to the very words that change democratic world for ever whether it was Russian revolution or French Revolution the principles are equality which is impossible to be brought by inflicting capitalist agenda and snatching people’s resources. How do the government plan to bring equality. Is it ready to take on the religious fringe who do not want Dalits to enter the temples ?
If it want economic uplift of the people then it must tell us the road map. Through industralisation and we agree but will we respect the democratic practice of ‘Free Prior Informed Consent’ if we are planning a project at certain place where we feel people will have to be uprooted ? How do we plan to create new employment for our youngsters ? How will our student learn spirit of inquiry and respecting environment when we are ourself destroying our forests.
The nation must be reassured of its republicanism. If the leaders at the top ask the lower rung to stop making threatening noises and using abusive language against those who differ with their Manuwadi vision of India. We must understand that Manu’s vision of India is absolutely contradictory to what Baba Saheb visualised in this modern constitution. It is the fight between those who believe in liberty, equality , fraternity and those who do not believe in it. You have to decide which direction you want to go.