As one of the largest democracies of the world, Bharat has a lot to offer to the international community in the space of conflict and crisis management. One of the most outstanding and remarkable features of Bharat’s polity is our vibrant democracy. This democracy is premised on the fortitude of the makers of the Constitution of Bharat. The Constitution Day offers an opportunity to articulate our gratitude to the members of the drafting committee along with those who spent countless nights of deliberations and debate over every single provision that governs the most populated and diverse country in the comity of nations. Constitution Day also is an occasion to delve upon the challenges and issues that confront us today.
In one of the recent episodes of the Parliament, an MP who is a self-declared warrior of the constitutional ethos was seen mired in the controversy of a blatant conflict of interest. Mahua Moitra, as a Member of Parliament, has admittedly violated the parliamentary code of ethics by sharing her online credentials with a corporate group. Constitutional democracy although premised on ideas is run by the integrity of its institutions. MPs and parliamentary committees are those institutions that are entrusted with the responsibility of bringing into effect the vision and ideals enshrined the Constitution. However, there is a ‘save Constitution’ brigade that jumps on every opportunity to score political points without even adhering to the basics of the constitutional ideals. There is a pressing need to be alert of these forces that in the name of saving the Constitution is doing nothing but promoting self-interest at any cost.
“What does social democracy mean? It means a way of life which recognizes liberty, equality and fraternity as the principles of life” – BR Ambedkar
For these forces Ambedkar offers a path, “…however good a Constitution may be, it is sure to turn out bad because those who are called to work it, happen to be a bad lot. However bad a Constitution may be, it may turn out to be good if those who are called to work it, happen to be a good lot.”
Mahua Moitra and gang represent the rot within the system. There are forces that are inimical to the rising stature of Bharat as a global powerhouse. For them it is unimaginable to even digest the fact that Bharat has not only successfully sustained the democracy for more than seven decades but is also a case study for smooth transition of powers after government change at the Centre and the States.
FROM ENTITLEMENT TO FEUDALISM
Bharat hosted G-20 and ensured that African Union gets a permanent seat at the high table. Voice of Global south, International Year of Millets and Vaccine Maitri are just some examples of the manifestation of our civilizational commitment to diversity and inclusion. The Oscar nomination for The Elephant Whisperers also was a testament to our faith in inclusivity.
Families and fiefdom through political parties have ruled the country for many decades and there are regional parties where leadership beyond one family is rarely encouraged and promoted. Apart from the likes of Mahua Moitra, these family-based political enterprises have become the face of neo-feudalism. They are not able to see and digest the first-ever tribal woman at the highest constitutional office at the Raisina hills – they will hurl abuses on the man who comes from a humble social origin and has become one of the most consequential leader of the world, Narendra Modi.
Similarly, the nation was appalled to notice the derision of Nitish Kumar both towards women and the marginalised sections of the society. The manner in which he addressed a Mahadalit leader on the floor of the house was not only demeaning but also an insult to the socially disadvantaged sections across the country. Gestures and attacks on the dignity of the marginalised has served as a theatre of struggles for social reforms.
Ambedkar on the eve of the adoption of the Constitution warned the nation of such overbearing, deep seated and archaic social sentiments. “Political democracy cannot last unless there lies at the base of…social democracy. What does social democracy mean? It means a way of life which recognises liberty, equality and fraternity as the principles of life…
…They form a union of trinity in the sense that to divorce one from the other is to defeat the very purpose of democracy …Without equality, liberty would produce the supremacy of the few over the many. Without fraternity, liberty would produce the supremacy of the few over the many. Without fraternity, liberty and equality could not become a natural course of things. It would require a constable to enforce them.”
The Constitution Day offers an opportunity to introspect and examine our collective response to the vision of the makers of our Constitution. Let us come together on this Constitution Day and resolve to realise the objectives of equality, fraternity and liberty by exposing those who in the name of saving the constitution have suffocated the very premise on which our Constitution stands today.