“Constitution”, “Right to life” etc. are the words which I’m hearing from my surroundings every day. “What happened, why are people talking about these things?” You must be thinking the same when you hear them. We are living in a utopia where we are told everything around us is good.
Still there is a non-violent resistance and reformist movement. Its only demand to restore the constitution. We have people from the Queer Azadi March to Anti-Dam activists, who want to restore the spirit of constitution and “Right to life”. On the other hand, the whole state machinery, including the pillars of democracy--legislature, executive and independent judiciary--whom we call the guardians--are up for making the country a “Banana Republic”.
On 26th January, 1950, we became a republic lead by the most voluminous document called “The Constitution of India”. The document made scientific temper as the base of democracy. Now when the country is celebrating 62nd Republic day, the state organs are losing the same rational foresight. They are becoming populist in nature. Executive and Legislature can become “populists” at times, as they have vote bank politics in the background. But who gave that right to judiciary? Is our judiciary going to back Khaap Panchayat era? Divide the land on the basis of religions and create another (Hindu-Muslim) Pakistan in Ayodhya with the full support of responsible people whom we call “judges”? Is this how we interpret secularism in this country?
With the support of “elected representatives” of “the people,” schemes like UID are being introduced to put a check on the activities of the citizens which reminds of us of the totalitarian regimes in 1984 and the movie Brazil. Oh Big Brother is watching--No voices of dissent are allowed here! What happened to the fundamental of right, “freedom of speech and expression”?
The people who are struggling for the fundamental right of obtaining information are being slaughtered on the streets. Those who work for human rights and serve the majority of people are charged under sedition. “Waah Bhi Waah!”--This is how we call ourselves the largest democracy of the world?
If Gandhi, for that matter Nehru too, were alive, they would have been jailed for their “inflammatory speeches”. Where are we heading? Is this the “Swaraj” which our founders dreamt of?
Gandhi’s Indian declaration of independence is still very relevant. "The British government in India has not only deprived the Indian people of their freedom but has based itself on the exploitation of the masses, and has ruined India economically, politically, culturally and spiritually....Therefore...
India must sever the British connection and attain Purna Swaraj or complete independence."
If we replace words like “The British Government” with the “Present Indian Government” it will make no difference. We are still being colonized through exclusive nationalism and free market mechanism by our “very own government”.
Let us take a vow on the coming Republic Day that we’ll be the Davids who will struggle against the Goliaths of time to restore the spirit of constitution in India.
Kabir Arora is an environmental activist and Gandhi Fellow. To read more by Kabir, see the the links at the bottom of this post.