How Our 71st Republic Day Reminds Us Of A Struggle For An Egalitarian Democracy

The day of January 26, 1950 has a significant role in modern Indian history. On this day, India’s Constitution that claims not just a sense of equality and social justice, but also the notion towards egalitarian democracy was adopted.

At the time of adoption of the Constitution, Dr BR Ambedkar in his speech warned that we are going to enter into a life of contradictions. In politics, we will have equality and in social and economic structure, continue to deny the principle of ‘one man, one value.’ Dr Ambedkar, a great proponent of egalitarian democracy, highlighted very clearly the problem of both society and constitution.

Dr Ambedkar was the Chairman of the Constitutional Drafting Committee and he recognised the diversity of Indian society as well as the notion of equality and social justice at the key principle of democratic processes. Besides this, Dr Ambedkar also fought for equality and social justice in his life, in the constitutional provisions many other encounters where he defended the equal status for all the people of this country at all levels, excluding caste and religious practices.

It is one of the greatest premises of Indian democracy and it gives legitimacy to all struggles, which are still going on against the practice of the Hindu caste system and religious fundamentalism.

A scene from one of many anti-CAA protests across the country.

In Dr Ambedkar’s view, the caste system and religious fundamentalism have been a key exploitative force in Indian society. Without the annihilation of both anti-social elements, India’s democracy cannot perform and provide justice to the entire population of this country.

But, it is also a horrible fact that the larger population in the country are still fighting for justice and equality, and an uncountable number people have died for the same. From Chhattisgarh to the northeast, from Bihar to Kanyakumari – everywhere, people from different marginalised communities are still struggling to get their basic of justice and equality while also carrying Dr Ambedkar’s mission of egalitarianism in their hearts.

Besides this, the Constitution of India in which Dr Ambedkar has given a special provision for the people of different marginalised communities clearly articulates the vision for social and political emancipation. It is one of the tasks of this Constitution and also a sign of continuing struggle which has been going on against different forms of exploitation for thousands of years.

But, this struggle has begun more fervently after the proponent of Hindutva politics came into power in 2014. It is a challenging condition against the Indian democracy and the notion of equality and justice that Dr Ambedkar claims through the Constitution.

The result of 2014 and 2019 general elections in this context marked the consolidation of Hindutva forces. The sweeping victory of these forces in 2019 and the method through which victory has been achieved have defined a disastrous social and political condition against not just a minority of this country but also against the marginalised those who were still struggling and fighting for their basic rights.

With the objective of replacing India with a Hindu Rashtra, the right wing and hundreds of its frontal originations have been involved at every level to manipulate the notion of the Hindu Rashtra by utilising every institution of Indian democratic system.

Sharpening communal polarisation and an anti-minority sentiment among a particular social class has created a narrative of cultural nationalism, Hindu Rashtra and jingoism across the country over the last five years. As a result, the entire population of India has not just divided the basis of religion but also mobilised to attack on minorities and the people who have been critical of the government or the idea of a Hindu Rashtra.

It is a historical fact that the civilisation(s) in India has not been Hindu-centric, rather it has had diverse social and cultural roots through which the notion of secularism emerged in India. The claim of a superseding Hindu civilisation by political right wing forces in this concern is a well-defined project to replace the Indian Constitution with a Hindu Rashtra.

The implementation of the Citizenship Amendment Bill, in this case, is the next step through which the Government of India will not only give citizenship on the basis of religion but also make it mandatory to subscribe to the social lows dictated by the Hindu religion.

The Constitution of India and Dr Ambedkar’s vision of democracy does not allow any such basis of the Hindu religion to overtake a secular country. The Constitution of India stands for equal treatment to all the people following basic instincts of human value and not the value of religion, regionalism and caste.

Featured image for representative purpose only.
Featured image source: BAPSA/Facebook.
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