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18 August 2011

The Incredible India!

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By Abdul Rashid Agwan


India observed its 65th Independence Day on 15th August. Whenever such a red-letter day is celebrated, it generally imparts pride and self-confidence among the citizens of a nation. However, the increasing stories of corruption, extra-constitutional goals of those at the helm of affairs, communal terrorism, insurmountable count of people below poverty lines, fake encounters, suicides of credit-ridden farmers, atrocities against Dalits, minorities and women, rise of crime graph and celebrated disparities in Indian society bring nothing but gloom and dejection among Indian citizens on this day. The downcast rituals of freedom parades, ceremonious promises from the pulpit of the Red Fort and the indifferent mood of the masses have almost become symbolic to the Independence Day for quite some time.


It is really shocking to learn that the Karnataka government, presently reined in by the self-styled ‘patriotic’ party, the BJP, has denied some Muslim groups the right to observe Independence Day with private celebrations. The local police of Gulbarga and Puttur have withdrawn its permission for such celebrations under pressure from the ‘above’. It is the same party, which hardly misses a chance to teach Indian Muslims a lesson or two in patriotism but when the community takes initiative to celebrate the national day, it would deny the right to do so; perhaps, while fearing that it might explode the fabricated theory that Hindu Indians are more patriotic than the Muslim Indians.


When rehearsals to observe the secular rituals of the national day were undergoing, paradoxically, around the same time there has been a country-wide agitation of bank employees against economic colonization of the country through disinvestment of the public sector banks, a measure which will give our economic wealth in the clutches of capitalist hawks of the world. Hundreds of India-bound multinational companies and international agencies are making inroads into our sovereignty, economic strength and the social fabric, and even into the security system of the country; however, we are made to pleasantly remember that India got freedom from the East India Company and its imperialist masters a few decades back. The punch line of tourism promoters in the country, ‘The incredible India!’, is perhaps catching the imagination of the MNCs which are making an east-ward beeline and would love to prospect the goldmine that is India, which is being offered to them on platters by the ruling class. Both the UPA and the NDA partakes the same policy in this regard. One can remember on this occasion a warning put in bold letters as back as in 2001 by no less a person than the erstwhile superemo of the RSS, KS Sudershan; on seeing the reckless liberalization of Indian economy who said, even while annoying the government led by his own political wing, “India should remain prepared to fight the second war of independence”.


We are indeed celebrating a national day of the country which is really incredible on many counts. It is the country where 77% people survive on less than Rs 20 a day whereas it boasts of 150,000 billionaires on the wealth barometer. We feel gratified that an Indian has built a four-billion house ‘Antila’ for his family but the same feeling dissipates on learning that it was erected on an encroached Waqf land. Perhaps, Indian citizens feel happy on the story of 9% GDP growth but at the same time their heads bow down while noting almost the same rate of boost in rapes a year. It is India where a mega star twits about fascist tendency of people against his film ‘Arakshan’ but at the same time he remains the brand ambassador of a state government which is allegedly ruled by a ‘fascist’ party. This can happen only in India that its space technology could outshine from Harikota but at the same a small village just 5 km from the space launching center lacks any road link to the world and people has to reached out there by bullock carts only even by the advent of the twenty-first century. It is India which claims to be the sixth most developed economy of the world but its proud voices forget that it has more than 20 million people sleeping hungry every night. It is India where the elite could stash Rs 28,000,000,000,000 in tax heavens whereas 40% of its population lives below the poverty line. It is the incredible India where the temples, churches and dargahs could collectively have more wealth, although unproductive, than the government itself. The uneven development and growing disparities in many sectors illustrates that there is no meaning of justice and equality in the country; that is of the two of the four enshrined values of the Indian constitution.


Similarly, another constitutional value ‘Freedom’ has no credit in India where a public demonstration of a few hundred people has to depend on the ‘permission’ of the government whereas a Million March is possible in a country which has been ruled under a three-decade long emergency. Freedom has no value in a country the rulers of which has rejected the injunction of the father of the nation for de-centralizing public affairs and is making more and more laws which could bring real power into a few hands. Freedom becomes nonsensical in a country where minorities and other weaker sections are denied there due rights of cultural autonomy every now and then. Freedom has no meaning in a country where over three thousand under trials have to live a detained life for years together. Freedom has no meaning for a nation where farmers are forced to handover their lands on insignificant returns for the use of the opulent class.


The fourth value of the Indian Constitution, Fraternity, could never enjoy its due place in Indian society. The communal and caste prejudices rampant in public life have never allowed creation of the sense of one nation in the country. Here Hindus, Muslims, Sikhs and other sections are claimants of their own brand of nationalism. Chauvinist forces are ever active to shatter the social fabric of the country. We have members of the parliament and assemblies whose venomous speeches against one or the other sections of society are on record. They take oath of allegiance to the Constitution but forget to inculcate fraternity in public life. We have various brands of political brigades working against this or that community. We have high profile people supporting communal terrorism in the country which has been perpetuated to terrify minorities and Dalits. We have leaders and organizations that willingly support Zionist agenda in the country against their own countrymen. After geographical division of the country into two (now three) nations, we are on the march of dividing it into many more mutually fighting nations. Minorities are hated by the caste Hindus, Dalits are hated by the Sawarnas, Drawidas by the Aryans, Biharis by the Marathas, the Hindi speaking by the Assamese speaking, the poor by the rich, the backward by the forward, and so on. We are not transforming into a ‘united nation’, rather we are turning into a ‘united nations’.


There is no doubt that the present day India is not the nation for which the vast majority of freedom fighters have made their precious sacrifices six decades back. It is the time to revisit the spirit of the freedom struggle. It is the time to reassert constitutional values in public life. It is the time to dedicate ourselves for building a strong and united India. If we fail to change ourselves, we are bound to fail as nation and our Independence Day celebrations will ever remain hollow and worthless. Let us make a new resolve and move towards building a new India, an India which pursues the constitutional ideals of “liberty, justice, equality and fraternity” in the true sense of the terms.

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