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Indian Constitution

Indian Constitution

Indians boast of an excellently written constitution with a broad, inclusive and lasting vision for the nation. The constitutional values which are included in the preamble of the constitution reflect the deep spiritual ethos found in the holy scriptures of all religions. Practice of these constitutional values ensures a genuine spiritual society. The paradox is that the vast majority of the citizens are not aware of the vision and values envisaged by the constitution. The political leaders and those in authority are so hypocritical that they speak about the constitution eloquently only to disregard it. Lawyers and those who are in judiciary play with the words in the constitution without giving any importance to its spiritual values. It is important to reflect on the constitutional values:

“We, the people of India .....” The preamble starts with the powerful affirmation, “We, the people of India ....” The founding fathers who carefully drafted the constitution had visualized the unity and integrity of the whole people of India transcending the religious, cultural, regional diversity. They had realized the power of a united India with all kinds of diversity. They visualized a ‘we’ feeling among all people of India. The tragedy of our country is that it is fragmented in the name of religion, language, caste and culture. People are more loyal and united to safeguard their fragmented identities of religion, caste and language and fight to realize petty agenda. Politicians exploit the sentiments of people for their vested interest. They create divisions and communal violence to win elections. People today elect persons who speak divisive and exclusive ideology and indulge in communal violence as their MPs and MLAs. Hence the ‘we’ feeling is never experienced. Indians are yet to be united in mind and heart because no effort is being made to educate people to imbibe the spiritual values on which the Constitution is founded.

The constitution solemnly declares India as a sovereign secular democratic republic ensuring all its citizens justice with freedom, equality and fraternity. The preamble of the constitution is based on these core spiritual values. Despite India having eighty percent people belonging to Hindu religion the makers of the constitution gave equal importance to all religions. They wanted to protect people belonging to diverse caste, tribe, religion, language and economic background. Unfortunately the new generation leaders who are ignorant of the national heritage of pluralism and ancient spiritual ethos of universal family spirit of Vedic tradition, “Vasudeva Kudumbakam’, propagate an exclusive and divisive ideology. They reject the ancient spiritual tradition of sacred scripture, “ekam sat vipra bahudha vadanti” (truth is one, sages call it differently). All kinds of exclusive and discriminatory words and acts are against the spirit of our constitution as affirmed in the preamble.

The preamble of the constitution ensures justice, equality, freedom and fraternity to all its citizens without any discrimination. Even after 67 years of its enactment these noble values remain in paper. India boasts of being the largest democracy in the world. We have a history of 70 years of democracy of holding elections giving right to vote to all without any discrimination. However how much our politicians and governments ever ensured equality, freedom, justice and fraternity to all citizens in reality? The country which was known for its freedom of expression is seeing intolerance and murder against writers and thinkers who speak and write freely and fearlessly. Through the murder of Gauri Lankesh, Narendra Dabholkar, Govind Pansare and MM Kalburgi the fundamentalists and fascist forces are threatening those who write and speak fearlessly against evils in the society. A large section of electronic and print media have sold their freedom and refuse to publish free and frank opinions.

Despite declaring ourselves a secular democracy why the governments at the centre and states patronize religions and spend millions of rupees for organizing religious festivals and construction of worship places? What is worse is the patronising god-men and their religious empires. Politicians of all parties patronize these god-men until they are caught for their crimes by some upright judges. Democracy and secularism in this country are sold to god-men and the leaders of all political parties are responsible for establishing their empires. Will the politicians and governments have the courage to distance themselves from the business of religion and make the country truly secular? The special favours given to a particular religion as part of vote bank politics are against the spirit of the constitution. In the past kings and emperors of all countries had patronized religion of their choice. It cannot be done in a secular democracy.

Constitution ensures Justice to all without any discrimination. The equality is found only in casting of votes during the elections. If the governments were serious about ensuring equality, why should millions of children be deprived of quality education? Why should millions of children have to work without going to school for earning their livelihood? Why should more than two million children have to die before they reach the age of five for lack of food and medicine? Why do the rich and powerful loot millions from the banks and enjoy life without paying back while the poor people’s land and houses are confiscated for not paying a small sum of loan? Even after 67 years of enacting the constitution the poor people in the country do not experience equality. They experience inequality and discrimination in everything and everywhere.

Though the judiciary shows courage to correct the mistakes in many cases and blames government for its failure to ensure justice to people, hundreds of people are suffering due to delay in settling the cases in the court. Justice delayed is justice denied. The rich and the powerful are seldom punished. With their money power they get top legal experts to plead their cases and protect them. What kind of democracy is it when a large number of MLAs and MPs who are accused of several crimes are engaged in law-making? What kind of democracy is it when criminals get elected to legislative bodies and exercise executive powers as ministers? Smaller identities of religion, caste and region defeat the bigger identity of India and humanity.

While driving through a city in north India I was fascinated by a caption written on a hoarding: Dil jode, desh banaye (unite hearts to make the nation). Today the aggressive nationalism expresses itself in slogan shouting like ‘Bharat Mata Ki Jai’. Slogan shouting in the name of Mother India and forced singing of National anthem will not make India. It is fellowship and friendship among the people of all faith, caste and region which will make the nation. Only when fraternity among people of diverse culture, faith and caste is nurtured Mother India will be glorified. Though the preamble declares ensuring of fraternity among people of diverse background they look at one another with suspicion and mistrust. When the minorities, dalits and backward communities feel insecure where do we experience fraternity as ensured by the constitution?

In the vision and goals presented in the preamble of Indian constitution one can see the core spiritual values of all sacred scriptures. Indian Constitution is excellently written by our great visionary leaders but badly practiced by the people.

Practical Tips to Uphold Constitutional Values:

1.   A vast majority of the population including the educated are ignorant about the constitutional values. Display the preamble of the constitution prominently in all institutions for people to read.

2.   Schools shall educate the students about the spiritual values declared in the preamble as part of value education with their practical application to daily life.

3.   Schools and colleges shall organize speech competition, debates and skits based on the constitutional values.

4.                 Students shall be educated about rights and duties of the citizens

5.                 Study circles shall be organized among the youth and students to analyse the socio-political issues on the basis of constitutional values.

6.   Introduce celebration of festivals of all faith and cultures and educate the students and teachers about the constitutional values of pluralism, fraternity and equality.

7.   Train students to write articles and letter to editor in newspapers and magazines against violation of constitutional values.

8.   Promote spirituality of practicing values presented in the preamble instead of practicing many routine unproductive religious rituals. A religion less spirituality of values as presented in the preamble is the need of the hour.

9.                 Make efforts to create a ‘we’ feeling among all people. Learn to accept all citizens as members of one family.

(Published on 09th April 2018, Volume XXX, Issue 14 & 15)