Reclaiming Democracy

Violating the civil/human rights of the citizens/people has become an organic part of the paradigm of governance being pursued by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government ruling at the Centre and in some of the Indian States. Unmaking of citizenship rights of a large section of the people is very much a part of the strategy of State Power. The implementation of the National Register of Citizens (NRC) in Assam, the proposal that the NRC be implemented across India and passing of the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) amply bear testimony to it. The urgent ethical collective responsibility in this time of national crisis is to reclaim people's constitutional rights.

In the present context, a diverse group of civil society organisations, social movements and mass organisations from across India organised a Special Kisan Session of the Janata Parliament, in solidarity with the ongoing farmers' protests against the Farm Laws enacted by the Central Government in September 2020. The People's causes being pursued by the Janata Parliament testify that the rights of the people of India enshrined in the Constitution are getting a new life in troubled times. This reminds concerned people of the classic statement of Ranajit Guha, the eminent historian of present time, made in the bloody decade of the 1970s : " will be fair to conclude that democracy in India has long been dead, if it was ever alive at all...The corpse, however, might revive, rise from its grave and walk our parched plains and dusty streets yet again".

The on-going farmers' agitation is a turning point in India's democratic movement. The way the Modi dispensation is systematically destroying constitutional principles and traditional democratic institutions speaks volumes about the semi-fascist nature of BJP government. Covid-19 came as a blessing in disguise for the Modi-Shah joint stock company to suppress any voice of dissent. Tragically enough the opposition, not excluding Congress -the main opposition in parliament- is in a shambles. They are too disunited to offer any effective resistance to Modi's authoritarianism. The need of the hour is to organise massive mass mobilisation in support of farmers' upsurge.             


Vol. 53, No. 31, Jan 31 - Feb 6, 2021