Tuesday, 25 October 2016

How We Fare on the Ideals of the Preamble?

After our independence, in the preamble to our constitution, we declared to have constituted our country as a sovereign, socialist, secular, democratic, republic promoting justice, liberty, equality and fraternity. Let us see how successful we have been as a country in following our ideals as stated in the preamble.

Sovereignty Score: 4/5

The sovereignty of India has not been challenged much, except in the Kashmir and Arunachal situations. So far, we have been able to maintain state sovereignty over the area called India quite steadily. The idea of surrendering our freedom to a body of ill-assorted representatives whose essential skills include good oratory skills and public appeal seems to have been rarely questioned. The freedom movement has been fed as an inspirational anecdote to every Indian child and the idea of national supremacy seems to overarch every irrational policy devised by political leaders.

National Identity Score: 2/5

The idea of a nation-state originates from a group of people having enough in common to identify themselves as a part of a nation. As per the Preamble, we constitute India into a Republic. India, in fact, is a thin nation with its rich store of diversity. When we speak of nationalism, we are just cheering upon an arbitrary line separating us from our neighbors. That has been, so far, a very good reason to condemn entire communities inside and outside the boundary apparently in order to maintain the integrity of the frontiers.

In a population of one billion, our words seem to magnify the true nature of our ignorance at every instance of dispute.

Secularism Score: 1/5

We have taken the idea of secularism from Europe and defined it anew. People skipped the tutorial on secularism before adopting the principle to Indian conditions. It is not non-interference of the religions in state governance but quite the opposite here in India. Here, it is the non-interference of the state in religious norms. People in Europe, while developing the ideal of secularism, sought to address the bigotry in religious norms implemented through institutions while aiming for a better and more liberated lifestyle.

In India, we seek non-interference of the State in our religious practices so that we can cocoon ourselves in our bigoted beliefs and ideals of morality and subsequently subject others to torture for non-observance of it. We have defeated the entire purpose of secularism while regressing to an era of stark divisions authorized by the sovereign government.

Socialism and Equality Score: 2/5

In terms of socialism, we are far from being a socialist utopia. We still have a class divide and the penchant for equal treatment is qualified by a privileged upbringing. While the government seems inclined to take measures, it seems to be more interested in animals. People in France had shed blood in order to prostrate the class divide in a single upheaval. In India, the upper-class jeer at the system meant to reverse the class divide. Those who benefit from the system are often not the victims of the system but the privileged class generated by the system. This is cited as a failure by the upper classes who seek to redress the failure by doing away with the system.

I am sure B. R. Ambedkar when he struggled to educate himself as a Dalit against people with privileged surnames, felt the same injustice. In India, instead of condemning the misuse of the system we are decrying the system itself. If people are still dying for their social status, there has to be a system, however inefficient, to address the concern. Since despite corruption and history of genocide, we still entrust our lives to smooth talkers, the least we can do to uphold equality is give a fair chance to those who could not afford training at one of those posh institutes. We all know it is hard because their parents were historically disadvantaged and it will chase them lifelong, despite their privilege.

Democracy Score: 2/5

Democracy, in India, has reached a stage where an honest, hard-working individual will never consider politics as an option. Only people madly enamored of power will seduce people with might, smooth words and deceit to win an elected office. Those few, who remain level headed and honest either adapt to such standards or get ousted in the competition. The competition has become an extravagant show of oratory skills funded by black money.

Political parties are given privileged flying rights and traveling passes. Who, do you think, pays for them? Who, do you think, pays for all those staged screeches and cat fights? It is either the taxpayers or people looking to convert their black monies into tax-free donations. Democracy might have survived as a system but in absence of better politicians, it has been rendered into a joke. People hardly care about their leaders and they are appeased with hollow promises. Speaking along the lines of popular consensus is the mode of the day. The idea of righteousness has been long lost.  

Liberty Score: 2/5

Liberty in India is highly subjective. If you are a woman, you are bound by customs to act in a certain manner or be admonished by the society. You might be assaulted, violated, and then forced to marry your molester. If you have a mongoloid appearance, you will be judged severely for your liberal culture. If you display your religious beliefs, you might even be deemed anti-national and be answerable for it. The promise of liberty during the independence movement is yet to be realized for a vast majority due to their natural identities, let alone their assumed ones.

We are too afraid to change our 'sanskars'. In truth, we are afraid to move on from the identity that is the source of our privilege in the society. We are too selfish to change ourselves to accommodate other individuals. We are conceited and unyielding to open mindset. We are not liberated from the antiquity of our beliefs and we shall thus never achieve the ideal of equality and justice for all.

Fraternity Score: 0.5/5

Fraternity, of course, is a laughable issue. We were never good at fraternizing except in detrimental conspiracies against others. Since time immemorial, the regional divides were used by pragmatic leaders to carve out kingdoms in India and the British used the same tactics to colonize us. It is difficult to ascertain where we would have been without the infusion of western knowledge, which some are trying to reverse, taking us back to the Vedic ages.

However, as it stands, unification and freedom movement has done little to change our internal prejudices and social conflicts. Fraternity, especially with our neighbors, is a subject of highly wishful thoughts in India. 

Final Score: 13.5/35

As we can see, most of our objectives remain unfulfilled even after seventy years of freedom from foreign rule. It does not take much to achieve goals such as justice, liberty, equality and fraternity. I know if you are reading this, you are not somebody who requires the understanding of such concepts. But we are surrounded by people, educated and powerful, yet imbued with narrow ideas about religion and bent upon opposing practices of other communities.

Firstly, in order to actualize fraternity, you must forget there can be a separate identity other than humanity. Then, to achieve equality, treat others with that belief. Finally to achieve liberty, give the same liberty to others as you would to yourself. If you can do this, this country will get the justice rightfully due from its people. Once we learn how to live in harmony, however imperfect, we will no longer be a thin nation but a nation identifiable as India. Unless we grow as individuals beyond our identities, we are not worthy of boasting about nationalism, having failed to achieve the purpose of that nationality. Till the time all of us can embrace such an ideal, no democratic revolution can bring peace in a conflicted nation like India.

Written by Sayantani Saha
Writer, dreamer of world exploration and lover of high fantasy

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