Republic Day Parade

Observing Republic Day each year with a lot of fanfare to highlight the uniqueness of Indian Constitution--the largest ever written constitution in the world-- makes little sense to the oppressed and downtrodden who see daily how their basic rights as guaranteed by the Constitution are curtailed. More than seven decades later since its promulgation it is the same old story of how to save the Constitution. Freedom of expression is gone and yet they celebrate Constitution. Concerned people speak of the ‘idea of India’ and link it to the Preamble to the Constitution, or part111, the fundamental rights. Discussions and debates seldom go beyond the usual tropes: liberty, freedom, fairness, justice, equality, secularism and so on. No doubt each is crucial. But the Modis are not listening. They are out to destroy the spirit of Constitution. Even minor dissent is not tolerated. Hundreds of human rights activists are behind bars without any trial for years and thus the Modis are celebrating the constitution.

For Modi and his saffron brigade January 26 is an occasion to appropriate Ambedkar, the main architect of Indian Constitution. Congress did it and now Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is doing the same to create their own vote banks among Dalits. But the Dalit community is increasingly refusing to get hoodwinked by their nefarious tricks. Dalits are resisting inhuman crimes against them throughout the country. They are demanding rights they are entitled to as per the constitution.

The Modi government has been systematically destroying the democratic institutions created by the Constitution. They have no faith in the principles of Constitution. What all they want is to replace it with their own version of Constitution, specifically designed after the model of Manusmriti, to establish a Hindu Rashtra

This is a unique Republic without Republicans. With every passing year inequity in society is increasing dangerously to the point of volcanic outburst. The ruling elites are lucky in the sense that the have-nots are disorganised, not taking to streets to oppose the tyranny. That Modi or for that matter his saffron storm-troopers are not invincible has been shown by the farmers. Their year-long movement finally forced the arrogant Modi to retreat and repeal the notorious farm laws.

One reason the farmers succeeded in challenging Modi’s autocracy was their staying power. Unlike small and middle peasants they were able to withstand economic coercion. The most notable aspect of the agitation was its non-partisan character right from the beginning and they were caught in a dilemma as to how to tarnish the image of the protesters. Opposition parties supported their cause without really mobilising masses in their millions. In other words they showed how people’s power won the day.

India that is Bharat shall be a Union of States. Everything in the Constitution flows from this concept. No, that is not happening in practice. Betraying the spirit of Constitution India has become more unitary than ever before. And centralisation of power at the centre during the Modi regime has reached obnoxious proportions. States are at worst greater municipalities. Then the colourful parade is a showbiz to show the world that India under Modi is moving, maybe in reverse direction. They have undermined the Idea of India or more precisely the Constitutional Idea of India.

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Vol 54, No. 30, Jan 23 - 29, 2022