It has been over six decades since India became independent and has declared itself a republic for sixty years. In this context, it would be appropriate to see how far we have been successful in achieving the goals we had taken.
At the beginning of the Indian constitution, a ‘preamble’ or preamble is given which clearly states the goals. It has been said that India will be made a complete dominion, socialist, secular, democratic republic.
At the same time, all citizens will be guaranteed social, economic and political justice, freedom of thought, expression, faith, faith and worship, equality of status and opportunity and prestige of the individual and brotherhood to ensure the unity and integrity of the country. .
According to the preamble, we have a system of single citizenship i.e. discrimination based on religion, gender, caste, language, color and place of residence is prohibited. Through the forty-second amendment in 1976, the goal was to create an egalitarian society in the country by combining socialism and secular terms, thereby ending exploitation and oppression.
People were given the freedom to believe or not to believe according to their wishes and to propagate their religious views. It was made clear that the state would have no religion. In government institutions, no particular religion will be given preference, nor will temples, churches etc. be built in its premises. No religious education will be provided in educational institutions fully or partially funded by the state.
The state will try to remove the inherited regional disparities so that the territorial integrity of the country is strengthened and the feeling of isolation does not arise. At the same time, efforts will be made to eradicate all kinds of inequality prevailing in the society. Special provisions will be made for empowering dalits, tribes, women etc. including scholarships, quota in jobs and reservation in Lok Sabha and Legislative Assemblies.
It would be good if we pay attention to some things before taking stock of the progress made towards achieving the above mentioned goals. The mainstay of economic development is modern science and technology, although that is not enough. Secularism, rationalism and socialism are necessary for it to flourish. Secularism means that society should shift its focus from hereafter and supernatural subjects to focus on ihlok.
Therefore, religion should not play any role in the business of the state and society. Religion should be limited to the individual’s personal life. Wherever the process of modern economic development is ahead, religion’s role in public life has weakened. Superstition has reduced and people have tried to understand temporal phenomena through logic and intelligence.
On the basis of rationality, efforts are made to maximize the production of goods and services by making the means, processes and organization of production as efficient as possible. The era of Renaissance and Reformation in Europe led to a struggle against superstition and witchcraft. Scientists like Galileo, Newton etc. and philosophers like Wallair, Rousseau, Hull, Leech and later Charles Darwin greatly promoted intellectual ideas.
This resulted in the dominance of religion and church. People became interested in knowing and understanding the secrets and laws of nature. In Western Europe, there was so much hunger for scientific knowledge and technology that national boundaries were forced to get them.
We did not see such a trend here. Our archivists continued to regard Western Europe as a region of barbarians. Crossing the sea was prohibited. Only a few people like Raja Rammohun Roy went beyond Pongapanth and tried to do something towards modernization.
Voltaire in his book ‘Letters on England’ gives a lively depiction of the changes taking place in England in the third decade of the eighteenth century. There was such a drastic change in people’s life values and attitudes that people associated with science and technology were being respected more than politicians and individuals of the royal family.
The common man’s interest in promoting economic development is necessary, but this will happen only when there is a fair distribution of the returns of economic development. It should be emphasized that there is no inherent inequality between men. This egalitarian approach was developed by socialism and provided the scientific basis.
We can easily understand the Preamble of our Constitution from the above perspective. It is a matter of regret that during the last nearly six decades we have wandered from it. Take secularism, for example. On 16 August 2003, a program aired on BBC television titled ‘Hindu Nation’. Some prominent Indians in this program underlined that secularism is not playing an effective role in India’s economic progress and politics, as it is not in tune with the sentiments of the common people.
Those who believed in this were former Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Digvijay Singh and BJP leader LK Advani. According to Digvijay Singh, the Congress is unable to compete with the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh by adopting secularism as it is cut off from the religious sentiments of the common people. According to Advani, secularism has deprived Hindus of being proud of their religion. These two leaders, who represent opposing parties, are unanimous that Hinduism should be made the basis of state policy and attitude in the cover of secularism.
Now take socialism. For the last nearly two decades, the word is not visible in the state policies nor in the proposals of the Congress and in the speeches of its leaders. It is almost assumed that with the disintegration of the Soviet Union, the relevance of socialism has become society. Nowadays, no intellectual is heard saying that the concept of socialism is centuries old. The desire for an egalitarian society is seen in the poets of our devotees. He is also in Tulsidas’s imagination of Ramrajya.
Superstition and bigotry were severely attacked in the Bhaktikaal. Buddhism rejected the caste system and rituals. Sikhism and the Arya Samaj also attacked him severely. In spite of all this, superstition and bigotry are constantly increasing and rituals are being promoted. BJP state governments have encouraged them. Murali Manohar Joshi, as the Minister of Human Resource Development, tried to push astrology and tantra science into the courses.
Institutions associated with the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh and the state governments affected by it have spread hatred and discrimination towards minority religions. Efforts are being made to impose various restrictions on them by enacting laws in the name of stopping conversion. On the other hand, due to non-implementation of land reform, taxation laws in favor of high income and wealthier people and frequent cuts in subsidies to lower income groups and weakening of public distribution system, economic disparities in society have increased.
The economic role of the state is decreasing due to globalization based on ‘Washington Consensus’. The state sector is shrinking. Many state undertakings have been privatized. Every ideological color government here is devoted to privatization. For this reason, the reservation policy related to jobs is proving to be futile. Regional disparities are increasing. Most of the new investments are going to relatively developed states. In the states of Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, Jharkhand, etc., old industrial units are closing down and no new investment is coming.
In order to attract domestic and foreign investment, the conditions of investors have to be accepted, which will result in Singur and Nandigram. Many small scale industries have been eliminated due to the removal of all barriers from the import route. Aligarh’s lock industry and Banarasi saree industry will remain in history only after a few decades. The artisans have left the villages and those who are left are going to leave soon.
The result is migration from villages to cities. People from Hindi speaking states are moving to relatively states. The attacks on Hindi-speaking people in Mumbai, Pajab and Assam (Asom) over the years have shown that the goal of equal citizenship is becoming meaningless.
In the coming years, regional economic disparity will increase, as most of the investment will go to the rich and developed states, so that people from backward states will go to a large number of other states in search of livelihood, resulting in tensions and conflicts.
Parliamentary democracy is under threat. Our masters are afraid of becoming the Chief Minister and Prime Minister by winning the election directly. They come to the Legislative Council and Rajya Sabha through indirect elections and hold power. Even if it is legally correct, it is contrary to the spirit of democracy. The losers in the elections come from the back door to the Parliament and become ministers. This is to defy democracy. Criminal elements are now intruding into Parliament and the Legislature.
Many MPs and MLAs are caught in cases of bribery, smuggling and murder. In this way, the dream of making India a democracy is falling apart. The migration from villages to cities is rapidly expanding slums. The mafia is using these settlements as its blocks. Gregory David Roberts novel ‘Shantaram’ is shocking. Mike Davis’s ‘Planet of Slums’ describes all the dimensions of the slums and points to imminent threats.
The ‘Washington Consensus’, the theoretical basis of globalization, has undermined the Indian Republic’s claim of ‘total sovereignty’. The state is no longer capable of formulating policies keeping the interests of its citizens paramount. This statement has been proved wrong that all the boats will rise and everyone will benefit from the tide of globalization.
If our enlightened litterateur and thinker seriously discuss social, economic, political and cultural changes then only the public will get new direction.