“If we realise our responsibility in the matter of language; we shall regain the power that we mortgaged to the Government. It will revolutionise our outlook. It will take us out of the morass in which we find ourselves. It will make the people look up. People, who today feel dejected and defeated for the failures of the Government, will regain their confidence and pluck. That will be a turning point in our history. Let this Republic Day be the real day of the public.” — Hindi is Here, Pt. Deendayal Upadhyaya, Organiser, Republic Day Special, 1965
Republic Day is time to celebrate real power of the public. Through adoption and enactment of the Constitution, we created the new State structure, the key characteristic of it has been the supremacy of people and the Government ruling the State is responsible to the popular will. Politically we exercised our responsibility by casting our vote at regular intervals. Economically also we forced some governments to mend their ways. Socially we evolved with the changing times and adapted the legal provisions. But in the information age where knowledge is a power, strategically we still have to accept the new responsibility for guarding our Republic.
In the 20th century, we have seen many wars. Besides the World Wars, where we fought out of compulsion in favour of colonisers, after Independence also we as a nation stood up to the occasion during wars against Pakistan and China. In the 21st century, many people claim that the military war is a rare possibility. The reality is we are constantly at war in the Information Age. The new age of information revolution is different from the industrial one in many ways but the most drastic transformation is the way nations are strategising. There are new technologies controlled by private players, new actors beyond State apparatus, and new ideologies that are driving the people across boundaries. In broader context, this is an invisible war which we are fighting at military, technological and intellectual levels.
Militarily, countries like China have been on offensive, while from Pakistan many individuals and organisations directly and indirectly supported by the State are playing mischievous game of hacking against Bharat. Of course, our armed forces have also evolved new mechanisms to deal with these threats but there is a need for greater participation of technocrat soldiers. Cybermobilisation is another modus operandi that is visible across the world. Twenty years ago we could not have imagined more than 27,000 youths being mobilised for a common cause from six continents, the obscure experiment of Islamic State actually did that. Bharat has been witnessing many information and disinformation campaigns that are triggering turmoil in regions like Jammu & Kashmir and North-east. Disruptive innovations are turning destructive in many parts of the world. The strings of technology have smoothly shifted from State institutions to private players. In the world of terrorism, diffusion of critical technologies in wrong hands can be disastrous. The most treacherous part of this new age war is the emergence of intellectual warfare inflicted through information. Unfortunately, many colonised intellectuals, under the garb of ‘liberal’ thinking are hell bent on discarding whatever that is Bharatiya. Undermining our nationhood is in fashion and this craze of being like ‘colonisers’ is most dangerous, that is continuing even after 70 years of Independence.
We tried to brainstorm with security experts in this context and tried to come up with policy recommendations. The State machinery will take care of it as per the need. Our soldiers have also played their role in protecting our nation from external aggression and internal disturbances through their integrity and valour. They will continue to do so. The real question is whether we as citizens are ready to play the role in democratising strategic responsibility. With information available on our mobile and computer screens and many unusual things happening around in our social milieu, vigilant citizenship with intellectual zeal is the demand of time. Guarding the Republic can never be the sole responsibility of a Government, in information age it is more true for which we need to be ‘citizen soldiers’. @PrafullaKetkar