This is our Chief Minister sleeping on the street, in the freezing cold to make a point. Whatever the point, it is first to see a senior politician bundled in a quilt, much in the way many homeless sleep in Delhi. For many it was a show, a gimmick, anarchy, law breaking and more of the same. But give it a thought would ANY of our senior politicians take such a step to get something for those who have elected them. Whether this is unconstitutional or below the dignity, it has never been done. It is a revolution of sorts and it has shaken the foundations of everything we knew till now.
The same CM was criticised when he said during his sit in that: Republic Day does not mean people enjoying tableau at Rajpath... it means the rule of people
! To many it may sound offensive, intolerable and do on, but come to think of it, he has a point. It is perhaps time to rethink on why we celebrate Republic Day and whether we are truly justified in doing so. As a child Republic Day was a fun outing and the parade a treat for our still star filled eyes. Then as one grew up the enthusiasm dwindled and the idea of having to get up early and walk miles became a chore and with the advent of live TV one could still view the pomp and glory.
For the past years, since I began blogging, I have written a post on Republic Day. But these have been about the celebrations our children organise at every centre. Today too they will be hoisting the national flag and singing the anthem with pride. Watching them is heart wrenching as one knows how their morrows have been hijacked by wily politicians and corrupt administrators. This year I did not have the heart to go.
I wondered what I would write today in the face of all the chaos we are witnessing where hubris mingles with hope and one wonders who will be the winner. The arrival of a new party which seemed to look more like the one our forefathers would have wished for when they drafted the very Constitution we celebrate on January 26th gave us all a sense of hope. We were all willing to forgive them their teething problems as we knew that the well entrenched parties will do everything within their power to ensure their fall. The incidents of last week did upset even die hard supporters as it was not in sync with what we had all pinned our hope's on. What was endearing about the new kid on the block was that it proved to one and all that that elections could be won without huge sums of money, with utmost transparency and irrespective of class, creed, caste and social background. What a breath of fresh air. We were all touched by the enthusiasm of our young ministers who took to the task head on. They were like kids with stars in their eyes and I guess that most of us were willing to forgive them their mistakes hoping they could correct them as they moved along.
I was extremely sad when one incident turned ugly and gave all detractors the break they were looking for. I so wish our CM had simply asked the minister in question to take time off till the matter was cleared. By trying to defend him, he has given more fuel to his detractors. It is now a dirt political game with all guns blazing: from racism, to gender issues, to political filth. I just hope our new party learns their lessons fast and take all the remedial measures needed. They are the only hope we have, believe me so we need to be patient and pray.
On this republic day I would like us to remember some of the main tenets of our constitution, as we seem to have forgotten them. Every single citizen has the same rights: Equality before law, Prohibition of discrimination on grounds of religion, race, caste, sex or place of birth, Equality of opportunity in matters of public employment, Abolition of Untouchability; Protection of certain rights regarding freedom of speech, etc. Protection in respect of conviction for offences; Protection of life and personal liberty; Prohibition of employment of children in factories, etc. Freedom of conscience and free profession, practice and propagation of religion
and in each of these, the framers of our constitution have gone into minute details. Let us not forget the Preamble which states
WE, THE PEOPLE OF INDIA, having solemnly resolved to constitute India into a [SOVEREIGN SOCIALIST SECULAR DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC] and to secure to all its citizens:
JUSTICE, social, economic and political;
LIBERTY of thought, expression, belief, faith and worship;
EQUALITY of status and of opportunity; and to promote among them all
FRATERNITY assuring the dignity of the individual
When the CM said Republic Day does not mean people enjoying tableau at Rajpath... it means the rule of people
he was right. Can we put our hand on our heart and say that any of the above is true. I remember writing a post
in 2011 asking myself what Republic we were. I came up with the Republic of Hunger, the Republic of Corruption, the Republic of the absurd; the Republic of extremes; the Republic of feudalism. Do read this post. Nothing has changed.
As we parade our republic tomorrow, we do saw in the shadow of a woman condemned to be raped by 12 people for having dared to love. We have a minister who does not appear in front of a Commission and prefers flying kites; we have a father knocking at every door to get the police to find the murderers of his daughter, we have cops brutally beating a man and then scooting off with his money.
So do we have the moral right to celebrate Republic day when 5000 children still die every day of malnutrition, where women and young girls get rapes, where kangaroo courts dispense justice with impunity. Not in my book.
This republic day let us take some time and ponder about who we have become as we are responsible for the India we have made. Let us realise that we have little hope and if we want to change the world then we need a revolution of sorts. The site of a politician sleeping on a street for what he things is right is maybe the beginning of this silent revolution. Even if they do not become the party of our dreams, at least they are trying to shake the ugly foundations we stand on.
Marching on the streets and showing off one side of us whilst hiding the underbelly is no way to celebrate our Constitution.