In India, we are going to celebrate our 71st Republic day. This is the day on which our Constitution was effectuated in 1950. This constitution is not a mere lifeless document; it is impregnated with chants of freedom and democracy. This constitution has facilitated the formation of the bedrock of Indian democracy. This constitution has crystallized the pluralistic, egalitarian and humanitarian vision of India. The formation of a particular idea of India was not the exclusive task of a cohort of democratic experts. On the contrary, this constitution reflects the unrealized dream of a spirited India that every citizen has imagined. On this Republic Day, we can nourish this dream of India by using our imaginative capabilities to visualize another idea of India.
The uniqueness of the pluralistic ethos of our Indian society is extremely different from the classic monoculturalism of western societies. For the healthy existence of this diversity, we need unshakable solidarity among the various different communities in the country. To actualise this solidarity, our society has to mutate into a dialogical space whose matrix is a catholic environment of non – xenophobia. An ecumenical atmosphere can only be established when we ourselves become conscious of our syncretic culture. People should recognise the indispensable need to explore their own history and culture. After this exploration, they will be able to develop a deep conviction in multiculturalism, and engage deeply in, what sociologist Avijit Pathak calls, ‘participatory introspection’. This introspection will culminate in self-awareness and people would begin to preserve this dazzling brightness of India’s heterogeneity.
The deep-seated fissures in our societal structure are smoke signals, which clearly indicate that the foundational edifice of our society is slowly crumbling. This edifice includes the basic ethics that help in totalizing a disjointed society. In order to re-totalize our societal structure, we need to foster deliberation and discourse, which will drastically improve our external receptivity, and thereby revitalize our elementary ethics that possess a kind of cementing power. Apart from religious disharmony, there are conspicuous class divisions that are widening at breakneck speed. The citizens should observe these economic disparities rather than trying to disintegrate the internal structures of their own community. Nehru’s wish to radically restructure the society so that class-based inequalities could be reduced, remains unfulfilled. It seems as if now it is merely a chimera or a pipe dream. We should assiduously try to achieve the coherent unification of the subaltern classes so that they can challenge the hegemony of the ruling class.
Solidarity and Dissidence In Times of CAA and NRC
The cruciality of dissent and dialogue to the functioning of a democracy is a well-established fact. In India, we need to encourage dissidence and discourse, so that democratic equilibrium can be maintained. The ongoing anti-CAA protests have helped people realize the significance of a deliberative democracy. These protests are like beacons of hope, because the soul of India is engaged in a strenuous fight right now. The lacerations are severe, but the people are now ever-present to suture these wounds. They have finally brought the rain of dissident and unfazed voices, whose magnitude is amplifying every day. Street mobilizations are vivid illustrations of an energetic democracy, for whose life and limb the citizens of India are fighting. The universities have critically enlightened themselves and the students have rightfully re-appropriated the Ambedkarite and Gandhian conceptions of democracy and struggle. These institutes have become cornucopias of creativity and slogans and gradually, the humane impulses of call for a freedom struggle are permeating the minds of ordinary citizens who, till now, were not utilizing their mental faculties.
These protests have engendered the solidarity and unity that the constitutional principles wanted to bring about. Everyone is now experiencing democracy and has felt that it is the ‘democratic existential duty’ of every citizen to question any authoritarian machinery. To describe this change by the protests in the consciousness of the citizens, writer Badri Raina refers to Aristotle’s word ‘Anagnorisis’. Anagnorisis is the phenomenon in which the person undergoes a sudden critical enlightenment. This is precisely what is happening all across India. Citizens are recognising the manipulative tactics being employed to suppress the emergence of self-consciousness.They now citizens not only apprehend the material reality in which they are situated, they also understand the relational causal factors behind this oppressive state of reality.
These protests can greatly contribute towards pursuing the unfinished dreams of India as imagined by our Constitution. These protests are following the Constitution as their directory. This means they are attempting to protect and simultaneously wage a constitutional struggle against the anti-democratic despots.
This Republic Day will be distinctive because a constitutional fight to save the dignity of this Republic Day will be carried on. These protests will form the lively warp and weft of Republic Day, and everyone will be in communion with this momentous day and will establish a revolutionary intensity which will illuminate this day. The day will be a clarion call for everybody to resist the thought police and display their vivacious democratic chutzpah. Everybody will slough off the fear of heterodoxy and univocally announce that ‘freedom is their imperishable birthright’.