The state of the nation is such that we have devolved from ‘for, of, by the people’ towards ‘far, off, buy the people’, and it’s mandated to make us accept it in a way that little do we realize whose republic India is? On 26th January 1950, India gave herself a constitution, a document; a social contract, that should protect the citizens from the statism of government. But, constitutionally speaking, today, do citizens fear the government or the government fears the citizens?
On the eve of India celebrating 72nd Republic Day (2021), amidst the pandemic, it’s however ‘not too late’ to reflect and introspect upon our conspicuous display of celebration, state of the economy, governance and other ideal civilities. India is a republic nation. The idea of res publica is to have a form of government in which elected representatives practice democratic powers in a constitutional manner.
If India were not a republic, she would have seen today’s “new India” back in 1950 already. Then, the important question is how did we reach here, why, and what have we become?
The cultural design of the republic is to sustain the ‘public sphere’ rather than treat a nation as the private property of few individuals. The powers enshrined upon the government are constitutionally limited so that citizens can breathe well than blindly obey the state.
Scientific temperament, critical consciousness and questioning attitude are very essential to upgrade the health of democracy but unfortunately, the recent trends suggest that the idea of a republic is merely an abstract on the original document (Indian constitution) architected by Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar!
India’s republic is witnessing a grand fall in free speech (142/190 nations – 2020, against 134/190 nations – 2014) and an upward trend (of about 165% with just 3% conviction rate) in sedition cases (2019). It seems that it’s wrong to be a republican if the state of affairs is in dismalness of ‘republic’.
India’s republic has been modified in a way that questioning the government looks ‘anti-national’. There’s a systematic scheme of restructuring the soul of the public sphere. The whole fabric is tailored to suit the panoptic goals of few authoritarians. Nevertheless, India is consciously entering the gates of Potemkin democracy while dropping down to 102/117 nations on hunger index.
This is a great setback due to constitutional repub-leak?
Dr B.R. Ambedkar, on November 25, 1949, warning in his last speech to the constituent assembly, spoke of the need to give up the grammar of anarchy, to avoid hero-worship, and to work towards a social – not just a political – democracy. His anticipation is turning true, today, sadly.
He said, “Will history repeat itself? It is this thought which fills me with anxiety. This anxiety is deepened by the realization of the fact that in addition to our old enemies in the form of castes and creeds we are going to have many political parties with diverse and opposing political creeds. Will Indians place the country above their creed or will they place creed above country? I do not know. But this much is certain that if the parties place creed above country, our independence will be put in jeopardy a second time and probably be lost forever. This eventuality we must all resolutely guard against. We must be determined to defend our independence with the last drop of our blood.
On the 26th of January 1950, India would be a democratic country in the sense that India from that day would have a government of the people, by the people and for the people. The same thought comes to my mind. What would happen to her democratic Constitution? Will she be able to maintain it or will she lose it again? This is the second thought that comes to my mind and makes me as anxious as the first.”
Taking a cue at how a supreme leader is worshipped at the cost of ‘republic’, who unfortunately holds zero press conference, Ambedkar anticipated “Bhakti in religion may be a road to the salvation of the soul. But in politics, Bhakti or hero-worship is a sure road to degradation and to eventual dictatorship.”
The Republic of India is manufacturing a ‘concept’ that will beget the current and upcoming generation to worship Manusmriti over India’s constitution.
Is history repeating itself? It was Swami Karpatri and Hindu Sabha who horrendously expressed their disgruntlement at the constitutional process in the late 1940s. Contemporarily, few fringe elements are establishing themselves as the ‘deep state’ to channelize the conventional tenets of a ‘Hindu rashtra’ than that of a secular, tolerant, democratic and liberal India. The narratives and interactions are simply amended, verily through the selective power of 4th pillar (Media), while the other three pillars are mere spectators-cum-facilitators.
Like never before, WhatsApp university is a credible source, fake news is a qualification, hate speech is ‘new’ free speech, interfaith marriage is love jihad, unaccountability is transparency, history is fake, mythology is science, and coercion is consent. One side of the community has to prove its nationalism along with ‘kaagaz’, and the other community is programmed only for manual scavenging, while the 33 crore Gods enjoyed the ‘bhoomi poojan’ on August 5, 2020, breaching the basic structure of constitution.
Indian constitution was founded with an intent to make India’s democracy ‘functional’. The recent farmers protest over the ‘new’ farm bill is an ongoing case study to examine how people’s consent or farmers’ consultation does not matter. The ‘new’ republic of India is now willing to transcend and supersede any heights to transform the re-public state into the re-private state. In this re-private state, crony capitalism and denationalization would sleep with each other.
And, in this consciousness, the nexus of media, government and business houses working together would simply mean that ‘brahminism’ inherently prevails over the life, liberty, dignity and consent of the ‘shudras’ (working class)…and any act of disobedience would beget ‘untouchability’ of the dissidents through sedition charges, lynching, UAPA, defamation, trolling and threats, leaving no room for any August Landmesser moment.
Ratiocinating this so-called cynical piece with a factual ode:
Stand up, and all hail the git,
Censor this and that and every wit,
Bid a farewell to democracy using rit,
Dump down that constitution in a pit,
For it provokes dissidents to never sit,
This new India will have its own kit,
That will lynch, beat and lit,
Whatever the supreme says is never a nit,
Obey and follow, dear cit.