Spirit of Indian democracy changed, now over to altering its form and shape

By Anuradha Bhasin Jamwal. Dated: 12/15/2019 11:57:03 AM

MARGINALIA

Modi 02 is on a roll with tearing hurry to bring in hasty legislations that are being passed even before stakeholders can read the entire contents of the draft legislation and respond. Any challenge to legislations impacting public life in the court of law is not met with a sense of immediacy. The apex court, however, had been in a hurry to settle a 150-year-old Ayodhya land title dispute through fast track day to day hearings. From legislature to the judiciary, a slew of laws and verdicts have begun to alter the spirt of Indian democracy.
The three major milestones are the scrapping of Jammu and Kashmir's special status, the Ayodhya verdict and now the most controversial Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA), the latter in juxtaposition with the BJP plan to extend the National Register of Citizens (NRC) from Assam to rest of the country. These three milestones sum up the ideological drive of the BJP-government inspired by the sinister agenda of disempowering the Muslims of the country and reducing them to second class citizens. The first of these steps was aimed at reducing the demography of the only Muslim majority state of the country and along with that setting the precedent of stripping citizens of their basic fundamental rights by creating a state of emergency, the second to give legitimacy to those who demolished a historic Muslim worship place, if not legitimize the very act of demolition itself, the third to make inequality official and enhance the numbers of the majority population and pushing Muslims into the realms of exclusion.
By making amendments to acts like Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA) and Right to Information Act (RTI), the power of the public has been reduced to ensure that the designs are fulfilled without much of a hinderance. Another Data Protection Bill, that gives extra powers to the government to deny privacy to its citizens, which is on the anvil, once passed, will further remove the roadblocks in this project of hollowing out the constitution, whose foundational basis is equality and secularism. Right since the day it was adopted in 1950, the Indian Constitution, one of the most impressive and admirable ones in the world, has ensured that the country refused to discriminate citizens on the basis of religion, caste, creed, ethnicity and gender. The BJP government's quick succession of moves are robbing both the country of its pluralistic ethos and composite culture, maintained for centuries, as well as of the basic spirit of the Indian Constitution.
With these steps, India which made a "tryst with destiny" through the long and arduous journey of the freedom struggle and awoke to "life and freedom" in August 1947 with the pledge of "dedication to the service of India and her people and to the still larger cause of humanity" is making yet another tryst with a new destiny - which seeks to alter the concept of equality, plural traditions and scientific temper that became the guiding principles in the seven decade journey since 1947.
In three quick but long strides, the spirit of Indian constitution has been changed. Achieving a final form and shape of the country, on the basis of that, is a project - political and ideological baby of the BJP/RSS - now waiting to be accomplished. The foundations of a fascist state have been fully laid and strengthened. The implementation, however, may not be such a cake-walk, even as it has managed to bring in most legislations to alter this idea of India with the tacit backing and support of many other political parties who had earlier professed their firm faith in ideals of secularism and equality. But sections of public are up in arms. Protests and demonstrations have been witnessed in various parts of the country. The rage in Jamia Millia University was met with most brutal forms. Much worse, the north-east is up in flames. The people in Assam, who for years have raised the issue of immigration not on basis of religion are out in the streets, many in riot mode, because they feel that the CAB threatens to alter the Assam Accord and endorse the immigration of all Hindus from Bangladesh. Clearly, many people feel that their rights and aspirations are being violated.
But a teeming majority of this country continues to remain silent - either due to timidity, denial, fed by the absurd myth that somebody will wave a magic wand and improve everything in the country, or abject devotion to the ideological cause of changing a secular country into a Hindu Rashtra. Such categories of people are oblivious to the way the BJP has prioritized its parochial politics and projects over the basic needs of development and combatting the sagging economy. The NRC project in Assam has so far incurred a whopping Rs 1600 crores. What would be the cost of implementing the CAB in juxtaposition with NRC across the country is something that many people are not thinking about. They are also unmindful how such steps seek to lower the prestige and image of the country or the danger they posit to the peace and stability of the South Asian region. They are also unmindful that if those in power can dedicate themselves to projects that militate against constitution and constitutional freedoms, the objective would be realized by exercising brutal authority at the cost of disempowering the public. At the altar of the brutal project of reducing India to a majoritarian state, it is the public of the country that is being crucified - robbed of economic empowerment, faced with lack of development and stripped of their basic rights including the right to speak freely.
The biggest onslaught to the nation today is from within, sadly by those who are supposed to protect its interests. But how many freedoms and rights are the general public willing to sacrifice before realizing that it has lost everything?

 

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