As the country is all set to celebrate the 72nd Republic Day, patriotism is in the air. This is the day when India commemorates the establishment of its constitution. Democracy functions according to the country’s constitution to serve citizens with equality and dignity. Speaking of which, the current hatred signifies as if the core values of our foundation have been long forgotten.
Celebrating and cherishing this day is meaningless if we don’t practice what the Constitution teaches us. Why not throw some light on the most important aspect of it, The Fundamental Rights?
I would presume that the reader of this article is already aware of the six Fundamental Rights. But to make things clear and avoid confusion let’s just revise them. These Rights have been mentioned from Article 12-35 in the Indian Constitution. They include:
Right to Equality has been listed in the Articles from 14-18. According to this, every citizen of India has equal status before the law. It saves the people of India from discrimination based on gender, caste, religion, culture, place of birth, etc. This Fundamental Right guarantees equality in terms of employment, education, and all other kinds of treatments.
Remember the movie ARTICLE 15? Yes, the same article prevents caste-based discrimination. Article 17 deals with the abolishment of untouchability. But do these Articles really hold any significance to us? NO! This may seem harsh but the truth is always bitter, especially when it is neglected for a long time.
Let’s go back to the brutal year of 2020 and recall one of the dreadful incidents ever happened in the history of India. Hathras Rape Case.
In September 2020, a 19-year old woman was brutally gang-raped and murdered in the Hathras district of UP. She was strangled, her spinal cord was severely injured and she bit her own tongue because of severe pain.
After being hospitalised for almost two weeks, her soul departed this world. The victim’s body was forcefully cremated at night without the consent of her family.
Now that the whole incident has been revived, it’s the accused or rapists who should be discussed. All the four accused belonged to the upper caste and it was later found that one of them had been harassing the victim and her mother for a long time. The investigation further revealed one of the accused and his father were arrested a few years ago for assaulting the victim’s grandfather.
Things do not end here, the family was allegedly tortured and blackmailed. Many political leaders organised rallies in support of the accused and posted the victim’s photos on social media portraying her in a bad light, which is against the Supreme Court guidelines.
The Indian mainstream media, rather than covering the issue with grave concern and neutrality, decided on their own that the incident had nothing to do with rape and the victim’s family was framing the accused. They further tried to nullify the charges against them and portrayed the girl in a degrading manner. A charge sheet filed by the CBI later confirmed the gangrape.
The police failed to act on time. The victim’s family alleged that they were humiliated by the police when they first went to file an FIR. After her death, it was the police who forcefully cremated the victim and locked her family in the house so they couldn’t resist.
The incident once again sparked outrage in the country with protests and rallies being organised in solidarity with the victim and her family. However, it was the caste differentiation that played a major role here. Caste conflict and discrimination are rooted in Indian society for ages and this urged Dr B.R Ambedkar to add Articles 15 and 17 in the Indian constitution.
But today’s scenario tells a different tale. A major section of caste supporters holds no respect for our Constitution. A large segment of people would not even know about these Articles. So, what’s the solution?
The problem of caste-based discrimination needs to be eradicated from the grass-root level. Families have been passing on the legacy of untouchability and caste conflict to their new generations. People still dare to ask the other person their caste. These ridiculous things keep on happening.
The Constitution is taught to us in class 9th and we barely remember it now. Even I can’t recall studying the chapter. Schools and teachers should be determined enough to not treat such topics as merely a part of the syllabus. What the Constitution says needs to be practised in real life so the kids know why Fundamental Rights were included in it and why caste-based discrimination is a social evil? This is the only effective solution that can help eradicate the issue of caste atrocities being inflicted on vulnerable people.
We celebrate Republic Day every year with great enthusiasm and pride but know nothing of what our Constitution expects from us. Almost all the families in India somehow discriminate on the basis of caste. It is necessary that we start from our loved ones and let them know what the Right To Equality is and why caste discrimination is sinful?