By Shreya Sikaria:
“At the stroke of the midnight hour, when the world sleeps, India will awake to life and freedom.”
It all started in the monsoon of 1947, when the sub-continent of India was born amidst great turmoil. Immediately, a Constituent Assembly sat down to make the Constitution of our country. Two years later, what we ended up with was a summary of the strong provisions of the Constitutions of all over the world. Looking at it from another point of view, we can also say that we just copied down points from everywhere, not making any changes or amendments, to make our work simple. It resulted in the longest constitution of the world. This has given more problems rather than solutions until now. The implementation of all the laws listed in The Big Book is tough, and this is also resulting in the delay of implementation of policies. Thus, though our long constitution a lot to offer, we will have to wait till implementation proceeds more quickly.
Our country has a threefold distribution of power, so that power is not concentrated in one hand.Â This makes our judiciary move slower than a snail’s pace. It has been 17 years since the blasts in Mumbai, and 9 years since the attacks on the Parliament, yet the criminals roam about freely in some part of the world. The mercy petition of Afzal, which was submitted in the term of Dr. Kalam, is pending with our present President. We take 15 years and counting to prove a criminal to be guilty of his charges. This is the reason criminals are unafraid of their actions and dare to roam scot-free in our country — they know that even if they are charged, it will take a lifetime to get the file to pass through the Indian Judicial system. And the political influence in Judiciary does not help even one bit. It rather puts envelopes the criminal politicians in a protective shield, as they feel the masters.
India is being sought after by multi-nationals to set-up offices here, one reason is the human capital that we have got. We are responsible for the smooth functioning of industries in many parts of the world. Even history has proof — the zero, calculus, trigonometry and even language developed here much before any other nation. The heliocentric solar system, cosmetic surgery and round shape of Earth were nothing new for us when proposed. And yet, the irony of the matter is that a Cabinet of Ministers, some of which lack basic civic sense and social behaviour, are governing such a country. Thus, uproars in the House, disrupting proceedings and un-parliamentary language are the order of all our Houses across the country. And why is this happening to us?
First of all, we are not keen enough to ask these questions. We actually do not care. Secondly, we are allowing it to happen. We are wasting the power that rests within our hands, by the Constitution. We are squandering the power of vote, wasting all those votes, which eventually lead to election of any Tom, Dick and Harry who starts deciding things for us.
The Indian citizen, living abroad, can never even dream of spitting on the road in Dubai, bribing the government officials in USA or littering on the road in Singapore. It never even comes to that situation there, as we become ‘responsible’ citizens. But the moment the flight lands in one of the international airports of India, suddenly these traits become our birthrights. We care about all other nations of the world, we care more about East Pakistan’s independence than our dwindling economy, even though we get cross border terrorism from there and the fact that we took Pakistan as enemies for life. We care about China being admitted in the United Nations rather than cementing our own position in the Security Council. Philanthropy is good, but ‘Charity begins at home’. And yet, we all sing ‘Saare jahan se achha, Hindustan hamara’.
There is a glaring economic disparity in our country. Look out of a high rise in Gurgaon, and we see more slums than buildings. Many a million people in their lives might not have chanced upon a 1000 rupee note. And here, we have politicians being garlanded with crores of those, in the name of Rural Development. This is as low as it can get.
This is disgusting, and has to stop. It’s high time we took the onus on ourselves to steer our country to a new horizon, towards Dr. Kalam’s 2020 vision, towards the moment when, as Rahul Gandhi said, “India starts affecting the world.”