Indie Pendence

A very Happy Independence Day to all Indian junta! (Also to all my friends in Congo and South Korea, who share their Independence / Liberation days with us)

While we're all cursing our fate and fuming at the fact that the National Holiday that falls on a Sunday this year, I thought I'd quote somethings I learnt in Class 9 civics class. First, I present you with the Preamble on the Indian Constitution. This is not just any paragraph. It defines the dream that our ancestors gave up their lives for, the vision that they sacrificed everything for.

Preamble to the Constitution of India

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 and the unity and integrity of the Nation;
In our consituent assembly this twenty-sixth day of November, 1949, do hereby adopt, enact and give to ourselves this constitution.

So this was the dream. How much of this have we achieved? I'm not going to point to any links with evidence or counterevidence, do your own math.

Now if this were a civics textbook like the one I studied in class 9, I'd probably mention the Fundamental Rights next. But considering that we've spent the last 5.5 decades fighting for them in some selfish form or the other, I thought it would make sense to have a look at a part that we don't really care all about:

Fundamental Duties

To abide by the Constitution and respect its ideals and institutions, the National Flag and the National Anthem;

To cherish and follow the noble ideas which inspired our national struggle for freedom;

To uphold and protect the sovereignty, unity and integrity of India;

To defend the country and render national service when called upon to do so;

To promote harmony and the spirit of common brotherhood amongst all the people of India transending religious, linguistic and regional or sectional diversities;to renounce practices derogatory to the dignity of women;

To value and preserve the rich heritage of our composite culture;

To protect and improve the natural environment including forests, lakes, rivers and wild life, and to have compassion for living creatures;

To develop the scientific temper, humanism and the spirit of enquiry and reform;

To safeguard public property and to abjure violence;

To strive towards excellence in all spheres of individual and collective activity, so that the nation constantly rises to higher levels of endeavour and achievement.

In other words, to attain the dream that our forefathers envisioned, they also assumed that every Indian would do the aforementioned things. Without these duties performed, our country turns into a corrupt, nepotistic nation infested with injustice, poverty and ignorance. So how much of these do you follow? Do your own math.

About the author:

Arnab Nandi is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Computer Science and Engineering at The Ohio State University. You can read more about him here.


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