Whose Republic is it?
Dr Pravin Togadia
Mine! Yes, mine; Bharat is my Republic and sure, it is of all those like me: Common people of Bharat. Six decades from now
after the 1st election Bharat got its own Constitution and became Republic. With such great pride we all speak of this
Republic! Almost all of us vote here, are born here, live here and work here. Almost, I said.
Yet, when it comes to our Fundamental Rights given to us by our Constitution, almost all of us are treated ‘differently’. We
are compared with those who claim to be socially/economically backward on one hand and the same clan on the other hand
claims to be the second largest majority in Bharat. Snatching jobs, academic seats, loan facilities, etc cannot be anybody’s
pastime; but it is their pastime – at our cost. They rule Bharat for over 400 years after umpteen invasions. Yet, they claim to
be socially backward. Our great Dr Ambedkar gave a lot of stress on uplifting the real socially backward who were for years
together oppressed. It was a valid and much needed step then. But the so-called ‘religious minority’ (and now the second
largest majority!) on the basis of religion claims to be oppressed and snatches everything from even the economically
oppressed Hindus. Well, this is a known fact; so known that almost all of us have even started to ignore it and some have
even started to accept whatever this religious minority says. Electoral democracy has such absurd paradoxes! Even though
our great Constitution does not accept discrimination based on religion, there are politicians who over-rule the great
Constitution and dole out goodies to this special minority at the cost of almost all of us.
What is the issue here? Many will say: Oh! Togadia started with the same old rut that takes ‘India’ – NOT Bharat – in 4th
century! Some may say: We know it; but what is the solution? Issue is that it is six decades now and we are still reeling
under the same mentality of someone rules and we obey without questioning. Islamic kings ruled over 400 years, many
obeyed and some fought back. British ruled, for 150 years. We did not much obey, Bharat fought back but it took a long time
to get the so-called freedom. It was freedom from the British. Has it really given us freedom in the real sense of it? It has to
certain extent. But with the years passing by, electoral compulsions gained priority over ideologies and the concept of real
welfare state. Result? Majority got further divided into castes for votes and Bharat got divided into majority – minority. Who
benefited from this? Leaders. Political leaders in particular.
When some of us speak of Ram Temple, Common Civil Code, Article 370 or banning cow slaughter, we are asked the typical
question: How does it help India? There are campaigns in all modern and traditional media to demean all those who demand
Common Civil Code, Ram Temple and related things. Who benefits? Political leaders and parties. How does common man
benefit by being denied Common Civil Code? My Hindu neighbour has to face reduced ration from Public Distribution System
(PDS) whereas the one with four wives and umpteen kids gets special subsidies. If some people claim that it benefits ‘India’
then they are living in a fool’s paradise.
Life of a majority in any country like Bharat is not just sparking malls, 12 lane roads, metro rails and solar power. Life of a
majority common man in Bharat also has traditional values. They maybe wrapped in a modern packaging, but under the
modern nice T-shirt, even the young heart that beats has a special place for our cultural ethos. Go to Kerala, Tamil Nadu,
Odisha, etc and see how many youth like to learn traditional dances like Bharat Natyam, Kathakali, Arangethram, Manipuri
etc. It is not just an art for some TV reality shows; they learn it devoting their youth for it! If an absurd question is thrown at
them: How does it benefit India? They sure give the wittiest reply. They are voters too and they value Bharat’s traditional
ethos too. Ignoring them for a manipulating minority is a blunder.
January 26, Bharat celebrates the joy of being a Republic. In last article ‘Stark Reality’ of Organiser, issue dated 12.1.2014 we
discussed the stark reality of severe poverty in Bharat. Six decades of as many numbers of Governments and Bharat has this
situation where figures of development or industrial growth are thrown on the face by political leaders when accosted about
poverty. Our Constitution had aimed at thinning the line between the poor and the rich by giving Fundamental Rights to every
citizen. But where some are treated as more equal than the others, these Fundamental Rights remain on the old pages of the
Then whose Republic is it? Mine. Yes. Because I and almost many like me are born here. But are we as a majority respected
here as what we are? NO. Electoral success is not the parameter of happy country. A large country like Bharat that has the
oldest and yet the liveliest culture, values and ethos wants much more than what it has got for the last six decades. Majority
of Bharat now is craving for Dignity, Respect, Safety and Prosperity. Flashy speeches and hollow promises will no more work.
Public wants real welfare state Republic for themselves. Then and only then, almost all of us will be able to say: Yes! It is my
great Republic! (The writer can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org)