Today, India is celebrating its 63rd Republic Day. It was today that the Constitution had been adopted. The constitution makers had proclaimed India, a republic, that is, a mechanism had been brought into being to govern the country and its masses. The preamble of the constitution mentions, “We the citizens of India…” the constitution makers did not want the Indians to be known by any other name. In their thought, India could become powerful, only when the people of the country looked upon themselves only as Indians. Caste, creed, language, province, colour would be secondary in front of the nation. But, unfortunately, in that same constitution, were made provisions to keep the idea of caste and creed alive. Though these provisions had a temporary status, because of political expediency, these provisions have now solidified, so much so that even if the constitution were to be discarded tomorrow, these provisions that can only bring about separatism would still stay. It is now a no-holds-barred race among all the political parties to outdo each other in offering more and more sops on the basis of caste and religion which can only lead to separatism. Earlier, it was said that no law can be against the basic structure of the constitution. Because of this, many laws were even changed. Now, it seems that if there is a law which does not conform to the basic structure of the constitution, the law will not be changed, however, the people at the helm of affairs will have no qualms in changing the constitution itself. (The Shah Bano case, Muslim Reservations or the recommendations of the Ranganath Mishra Commission) The people of India have been sliced in so many ways, that now they find calling themselves an India, a loss-making proposition. He seems to be profiting out of identifying himself with some state, linguistic group, caste or creed, this has now become his identity. It is quite possible that some people have benefited out of this arrangement, but at the end of the day, India seems to have lost out, because the people for whom the constitution was enacted now do not seem to be ‘only Indians’ as the constitution makers had envisaged and for which they had worked hard for so many years. Also seem to be losers, the freedom fighters, who sacrificed their lives for the sake of the nation or even Mahatma Gandhi, in whose name January 30 was declared as ‘Independence Day’ and under whose leadership, the masses of the country took a vow to liberate the country. Today the republic has become so meaningless that even the ones who give a thought for its betterment, are regularly punished for doing so. It was because of this crisis of identity that India was partitioned in 1947. Now some selfish interests are creating conditions for another partition of the country.
The meaning of republic, which is called ‘gan-tantra’ in Hindi, is that the ‘tantra’, ‘mechanism’ takes the right decisions according to the wish of the ‘gan’, that is the ‘people’. However, after independence, no one ever wished to know what the people’s wish was, leave alone, working according to their wishes. Therefore the ‘gan’ has now made itself irrelevant and even stopped expressing its wish. It has now come to be accepted that once the government has been chosen by the people, which gives the government every right to act in all sorts of arbitrary manner and that too in the name of the very people who elected it in the first place. One has to accept the wrongs of the government for five years. There were some instances, when the ‘gan’ did try to offer its suggestions to the government. Unfortunately, not only were these suggestions criminally neglected, but decisions that were completely opposite were taken in its place. Even if we forget the history of this and concentrate on the last year alone, the ‘gan’ tried to make its voice heard many times. It is very important to know what decisions the government took on the 63rd Republic Day. After the verdict of the Hon Judiciary on the Raam Janmabhoomi issue, many news channels and newspapers tried to find the views of the people on the verdict. If one was to find an average of the survey, it can be seen that 75%of the ‘gan’ wants that a Raam temple only should be built at the disputed site. But, the government seems to be standing with the people who want to make a mosque at the disputed site, instead of what the ‘gan’ wants. Every mouthpiece of the ‘gan’ is solidly behind a powerful ‘lokpal’, they think that this will curb corruption and corrupt politicians should be sent behind bars, however, today, the government seems to be standing firmly behind the corrupt and seems to be encouraging corruption. Similarly, in the case of Muslim reservation, Ranganath Mishra Commission, Afzal Guru Case, the government seems to be working against the wishes of the ‘gan’. It seems that this government does not work according to the wishes of the people, rather it is hell bent upon working against their wishes.
There were some mechanisms in the constitution to safeguard the interests of the ‘gan’. The Lok Sabha, the Rajya Sabha, Judiciary, Central Vigilance Commission, Central Election Commission and apart from these, there were dozens of other provisions, by which the ‘gan’ and its importance could be safeguarded. Unfortunately, to sub serve their selfish interests, the politicians of the country either destroyed these institutions or devalued their importance to the extent that they became useless and ineffectual. Both the houses of the Parliament are no longer in a state where they could perform their functions with any credibility. Since Nehru’s times, the opposition has been threatened with complete subjugation by the majority. Now any decision that is taken is done with a view of the powers-that-be and the ‘gan’ has been relegated to the back burner. The role of the opposition is now limited either to making a walk-out or creating a ruckus in the houses. When the parliamentarians are bought and sold openly in the market, the ‘gan’ is shamed. The ‘gan’ of the country is made to see the loot of his own wealth at the hands of the politicians and yet there is nothing he can do about it. It does see a ray of hope emanating from the judiciary sometimes, but even here the ulterior motives of the politicians take precedence over the good. Long gestation periods of the judicial process has instilled a sense of defeatism in the masses. The judiciary has become so handicapped that more than 3 lakh cases are pending in the judiciary at the moment. To add to the woes, even the judiciary is now under scrutiny for corruption. The Election Commission has to work under the limits that are imposed on it by the legislature. Even the election commission’s powers have been devalued by making it a multi-member body. Everyone knows that kind of interference that the Central Vigilance Commission had to endure. The kind of corrupt act the government indulged in, in trying to instal a corrupt bureaucrat on the seat is too recent to be forgotten. All such constitutional posts are now standing on the verge of extinction. Disappointed with this, the ‘gan’ looked up to the media as it is called the fourth pillar of democracy. But, even the media seems to lack the mettle to take on the system. It does not show what is in the interests of the ‘gan’, rather it is busy showing what is in its own interests. After the Radia Tapes and the relations of the journalists with Dr Ghulam Nabi Fai, the ISI agent, the belief of the credibility of the media has also taken a beating. This is a big blow on the credibility of the ‘gan’.
It is important that today on the Republic day, every intellectual of the country sits down to chart a path as to how the country can establish a true ‘gantantra’. This is not only important for the country and society but also for the leaders and the bureaucrats. When society becomes restless, it can have far reaching repercussions on the country and the world is witnessing the consequences of the same. If the Indian ‘gan’ also takes recourse to those means, then it won’t be in their (leaders and bureaucrats) interests either.