The other day we Indians celebrated our seventy-first Independence Day. I love India most. Her independence is always closest to my heart. Here lies my own independence , my happiness and what not. I, however, wonder how independent we the people of India are even today.
To those who fought for India’s freedom from British rule, independence meant a state of happiness for the largest sections of humanity across our Nation . In order to accomplish this all-inclusive humanitarian objective our freedom fighters enacted a constitution based on the values of sovereignty (self rule), socialism, secularism, democracy and republicanism . They were all convinced the happiness of our greatest number is simply inconceivable without the realization of these values .
Regrettably, the successive post-colonial leaderships in the country have cared little for our constitutional values. We may be far better than our counterparts in most of the states that call themselves democracies today. But we are still far from a state of mutual love and development .
The post-colonial India has been witness to many acts of barbaric violence . Our successive governments at the Centre and in the States have at times failed even to protect our citizens’ right to life, the most fundamental of all human rights. They failed to prevent the communal carnage that took place in India immediately after the Partition and, later, in Delhi, Punjab, Kashmir and Gujarat. They have failed to protect the minorities from the Islamabad-backed secessionist and local communal forces in Kashmir. They have failed to protect innocent citizens from the trigger-happy self-styled Maoists as well.
India’s is still a tale of massive poverty, illiteracy and squalor. Economic development whatever has been appropriated mostly by a few post-colonial political elites and their allies in different sectors, including academics and media. There have penetrated into our politics elements who have little sense of our citizenship values . There are such elements in almost all political parties as have allegedly been linked with the business and land mafias and communalist , sectarian and casteist gangs .
Our Constitution strictly prohibits any concentration of wealth in a few hands. Our political representatives are supposed to prevent this constitutional crime . But this has not happened . The sole aim of some of our representatives has been to join politics, resort to any means, capture power and amass wealth . They do not care if the majority of our people are still languishing in inhuman conditions.
It is heartening to note Prime Minister Narendra Modi is talking of building a new India . He has also warned against economic corruption. He must first sideline all such political punks to realize a new India.
Here I am tempted to pass on to Prime Minister Modi two ideas that I picked up and agreed with in course of my interactions with former Chief Justice of Himachal Pradesh Leila Seth and former Speaker of our Parliament Rabi Ray way back in the nineties . The first relates to my academic/research interaction with Justice Seth . She observed once, “Ours is a parliamentary form of government. Herein unless our legislators make laws and elements from among them only govern . As such unless our legislators are endowed with citizenship values, we could expect little on the front of our nation’s much-needed socio-economic transformation.”
The second relates to a media interaction I had with parliamentarian Ray . Asked how we could keep power and money-hungry elements off our politico-administrative system, Ray said , “ There is no dearth of personnel of highest competence and integrity in our security and intelligence apparatus. We must encourage such elements. Our security and intelligence machinery must be genuinely autonomous to keep a constant watch on the behaviour of our representatives in politics and report it to some non-partisan authority .”
Will Prime Minister Modi consider these suggestions ? Well, he can. He is arguably the most popular leader of the ruling party today. His party has an absolute majority on its own in our Parliament . He is highly unlikely to be challenged by anyone within the party if he decides to initiate measures aimed at sidelining the punks in our politics . Will he do so ? Let’s see.