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Mainstream, VOL LII No 5, January 25, 2014 - Republic Day Special

Reflections on Republic Day, 2014

Tuesday 28 January 2014, by Syed Shahabuddin

I

Bleeding India, Burning India, Battered India, Beleaguered India, Bewildered India, Disintegrating India, Starving India, Dying India

• in which democracy has become the government of the elite, by the elite, for the elite, dividing people vertically and horizontally;

• in which the higher strata, the elite, form a separate nation, colonising the motherland;

• in which politics has turned into commerce and trade;

• in which Corruption has become a way of life in every sphere;

• in which both legislatures and resulting governments are based on a minority of votes cast and therefore do not represent the people;

• in which violence has become the ultimate arbiter of social unrest and group conflict;

• In which law and order has crumbled and the weaker sections feel insecure as the protectors have turned into killers;

• in which religion, reduced to rituals, knows no love or compassion;

• in which places of worship are vandalised and public places blasted in broad daylight;

• in which the wheels of justice move at a snail’s pace, if at all;

• in which various regions have turned into battlefields whose inhabitants treat co-citizens as aliens, marching to the strains-stories of Fascism; in which culture has become Westernised and therefore the preserve of a few;

• in which society ignores the basic needs of man—food, water, shelter, health and education;

• in which half the people sleep on empty stomachs;

• in which thousands of villages and millions of people thirst for potable water;

• in which millions of children grow into illiterate, stunted, deformed adults and turn into beggars, rag pickers and criminals;

• in which stinking slums exist under the shadow of skyscrapers;

• in which Presidents and Prime Ministers prostrate before living god-men;

• in which hatred poisons human mind and hostility is the norm of social relations;

• in which equality, justice, solidarity and fraternity exist but on paper;

• in which millions of citizens cannot walk with their heads held high, because of accident of birth;

• in which science and technology pay tribute to superstition and obscurantism;

• in which irreplaceable national assets are sold, leased or allotted to foreign and indigenous entrepreneurs.

A dream has turned into a nightmare.

A free society has retreated into isolated shells and broken up into mutually hostile groups, where each lives in fear of the others.

II

This is India, Today, dominated by hereditary groups in every walk of life including politics unable to break through the caste shackles, social disabilities, religious discrimination, and regional disparities.

Yet, this is MY INDIA, the India of Rama and Buddha, of Nanak and Chishti, of Akbar and Ashoka, of Gandhi and Tagore, of Nehru and JP.

My India, whose ideals are Peace and Non-violence, Love and Compassion, Equality and Justice and Fraternity, which set out, on August 15, 1947, to provide a model for mankind.

• We failed, but our failings are the failings of economic management, of social maladjust-ment of corruption in politics and bureau-cracy and their common master, the domi-nant elite, which has turned into a crony of Global Capitalism.

III

My India Aspires to be a Modern State

If India is to survive as a civilised society, if India in the 21st Century is to turn a new leaf, if India is to develop productive capacity to meet the basic needs of its citizens, if India is to play its due role in ushering in a New World Order, if India is to do justice to its own heritage and serve as a beacon for the humanity at large

• state power must flow out of the stagnant pools of hereditary privileges and nourish itself from the inexhaustible springs of the people, democratise itself, decentralise itself, de-Brahmanise itself, de-communalise itself;

• the polity MUST come to terms with the forces of Social Justice, work out a new balance between Production and Distribution, adopt a Pattern of Partnership and Participation which benefit all social groups, which does justice to all minorities at all levels, whatever their identity, which brings smile to the face of all deprived,

• which brings sunshine into the dark hovels, and ignites hope in the mute millions.

IV

We Shall See a Smiling India

• Yes, we shall extinguish the fires.

• We shall heal the wounds.

• We shall vanquish evils.

• We shall establish Peace and Justice.

• We shall embrace all our people.

• We shall celebrate our diversities.

• We shall re-establish sovereignty of the people over resource

• We shall redistribute our national wealth and our income to meet the basic needs of all our people.

• We shall reduce the gap between the town and the village, between one district and another, between one block and another, between one panchayat and another, between one village and another, between one family and another, between one man and another.

• We shall honour all our religions, all our languages, all our races, all our cultures.

And build

* A vibrant India,

* An agriculturally prosperous India,

* An industrially developing India,

* An educationally advancing India,

* A technology-based India,

* A socially progressive India.

All this needs is to turn the hitherto objects into subjects, the material into the moulder of History, by releasing untapped human energy which shall transform our Country into a model for the One World of Tomorrow.

The author is an ex-MP, and the former editor of Muslim India.