Rejuvenation of secular democracytext_fields
135 crore people are celebrating the 75th anniversary of Sovereign Socialist Secular Democratic India on this auspicious day with mixed emotions. On the one hand are the thrilling memories of the liberation of our beloved motherland from the clutches of the British Empire, three quarters of a century ago as a result of the decades-long epic struggle of our forefathers under the leadership of Mahatma Gandhi; on the other hand, there is concern about the future of freedom, n achieved through the sacrifice of thousands of lives and is unprecedented in history. If the secret of its survival is its undying commitment to the principle of unity in diversity, then we are indebted to the secular democratic constitution for that. Dictatorship, family rule, or religious domination could never have protected the integrity of this country. The glory of this country is that seventeen general elections were held smoothly and freely with the participation of all sections of the people on the basis of adult suffrage. That is what keeps us from getting trampled under military boots and being dragged into civil wars. This becomes all the more pronounced when placed against the disastrous examples to the contrary in India's neighbouring countries.
Democracy prevailed when the national movement, which spearheaded the freedom struggle, led the post-independence government for four and a half decades without interruption, and then when the government had to be handed over to the opposition parties, and again when the Indian National Congress regained power, and finally now when the Hindutva forces came to power. Despite the fact that the infusion of black money, the proliferation of millionaires, the spread of worthless propaganda and the infiltration of criminals have crippled democracy and made it sick, the latest elections in Bengal, Tamil Nadu and Kerala show that the will of the people is still prevailing. This situation should be seen as a testament to the fact that wisdom, discernment and recognition still exist in our people. At the same time, when our secularit model also turns 75, we need to be disturbed by the undeniable fact that secularism, as upheld by Gandhiji, Jawaharlal Nehru, Maulana Azad, Dr. Ambedkar, Sarvapalli Radhakrishnan and others as the essence of the Constitution, is facing serious challenges. The Indian people have to be led to the determination that the bitter memories of partition, which were unfortunate and destructive, should never be repeated. It was only when the communal polarization instilled by the British as part of their ugly policy of divisive rule reached a climax that it transcended the purest sentiments of humanity and national integration, creating a highly artificial communal nation-state by uniting the two lands ofnthe East and the West.
The 75th Anniversary of Independence is an opportunity for every citizen of India to take a firm stand that the catastrophe of partition, which has led to the bloodshed of millions of human beings and their their families to turn refugees, should not be repeated. But unfortunately, in a land with a heritage of undemarcated and commingled civilisation of thousands of years, efforts are on to build walls of caste and religion. In this background, the decision of the ruling dispensation to observe August 14th as the 'Partition Horrors Remembrance Day' gives cause for concern. What gets unravelled through this move is a mind-set of the successors of those who were involved in communal polarisation during the colonial rule, to carry on the same mission with redoubled force. If any real patriots point out the lurking hazard behind this, the rulers will have no qualms about applying the same sedition clause which the British imperialists had invoked against champions of the freedom struggle. That establishment resorts to the use of even the secret espionage weapon of a country characterised by rank racism against the country's opposition leaders, intellectuals, journalists and any one likely to raise dissenting voices. Such a dispensation, which did not allow even the parliament to debate that espionage issue even for a minute and adjourned the house, is sure to go to any extent to fulfil such goals. This scenario makes the 75th independence day also an occasion for real patriots to take a pledge to fight steadfastly and fearlessly to safeguard the secularism and pluralism of India. Also, in response to the call of the times, the nation should prove through action its commitment to drive away the Covid pandemic that has been crippling the world as much as the country. May God bless the country and help the flourishing of an India where truth, justice, prosperity and peace prevail.