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Debating Secular & Socialist

Non priority or unimportant issues are regularly being raked up untimely ever since Narendra Modi entered the office of the prime minister of India. This is making even the well wishers of Modi somewhat uncomfortable. Not that these issues have significant background to them. On the contrary most of them are reactions to the wrongs of the past 68 years of India since 1947. I would rather ignore those for the greater good of the greater numbers of the people than highlight them or the elements behind them. Unethical governance generates social, political, economic and religious conflicts in society and thus induce reactions of the suppressed people. The public faith in democracy lies in the constitutional scheme of things. India is rightly proud of having a written constitution. All the wings of the government as well as the State (Legislature, Executive, Judiciary) function under the Constitution. The question before us today is: what does the Constitution work under?

The answer is that the Constitution of India works under the Preamble to the Constitution of India. This preamble is a sacred vow taken by the nation when it adopted and gave to itself the constitution. Fiddling with this sacred vow by anybody for any reason or political objective is simply not permissible. However, the Indira Gandhi led government, committed many acts directly hitting the provisions of the constitution, and worse of all this sacred vow. Imposition of the Emergency in 1975 itself was an unconstitutional act, especially because Indira Gandhi’s election to the parliament was declared void by the Allahabad High Court on ground of rigging the election process. It should have made her gracefully exit office of the prime minister of India. Instead, she imposed the Emergency, suspending the Constitution of India, especially the Fundamental Rights of the citizens. In that dark phase of unconstitutional governance, she amended the preamble to the constitution of India mere to pull wool on the eyes of the people and introduced two words (secular & socialist) in it. It was childish to do so. It showed lack of understanding of the letter & spirit of the constitution. It showed great disrespect to the fathers of the constitution of India, who deliberated each word in all details before including them in the constitution of India. Adding words like secular and socialist was, thus, redundant. It also betrayed lack of understanding the Indian ethos and complete intellectual barrenness. India was, is and shall always remain a secular country and the word secular does not add a bit to that thinking and living of average India, excepting those mischievous elements who think they have got the freedom to carry on their immoral activities of proselytisation inducing people by money or allurements. So long as such nuisance is not carried on as a mission or agenda, there is no possibility of any social tension. But the moment it is misconstrued to mean the freedom to convert others by guile to the religion of the vested gangs, reactions are bound to emerge naturally.

India had been informed by a doctrine of Dharma or ethics in governance, business and every activity of life. It embraces a sustainable socialism non dependent on government doles but principles of sharing with the less fortunate what one has come to possess by personal endeavour. It is in this context that the concept of Maya or illusion had been popularised, driving the idea that all material possessions are a mere illusion as life is far richer than the wealth one comes to possess and hence needs to be shared. It is in this context that the Indian Joint Family System worked so successfully for so long. The introduction of the word socialist in the preamble only proves the narrow-mindedness of the government leaders of that time. It was decidedly to fool the masses, as the propaganda sought to suggest that emergency was proving beneficial to the people as trains were running on time (what an irony? Trains running on time needs emergency or suspension of the constitution of India ! There can’t be anything more silly than this !). India was indeed made poorer by this misconception of socialism, converting even class of the empowered segments of the nation into a corrupt section, which soon infected even the masses. If any proof is needed, it is provided by the PDS (Public Distribution System or Fair Price Shops) and the FCI (Food Corporation of India). Supplies were manipulated on mass scale and a wholly immoral practice developed, which was called black market. For more than 50 years now Indian masses have been agitating to root out corruption from the land but grows with each passing day. It is the central issue in all elections in the country. Ultimately the country had to abandon its romance with socialism after the dissolution of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republic and embrace “reforms”, meaning to giving up socialist pretensions for development of the economy and removal of poverty. Socialim portrayed poverty as “glorious” till the world communist leadership changed it to “capitalism is glorious”.

There is no doubt that the inclusion of the two words i.e. socialist and secular was not good-intentioned and is now even incorrect to remain in the preamble. The parliament of India is all powerful to legislate the strongest possible measures to ensure that there is no tinkering with the national ideology of secularism. Same is valid for socialist, whether it is served by terms like subsidy or social security. In the end, it is a strong and dynamic economy that is the insurance of socialism in any country. India fortunately is endowed with all the natural wealth and entrepreneurship to assure a job to everyone. The political leadership of the country must seriously deliberate on the cleaning of the preamble without taking a narrow partisan view. A vow once taken can’t be changed. All other things can change. If we fail to be religious to stick to even our sacrosanct vows, we fail to become true secularists.

Meanwhile, there is no justification of any controversies on the subject being raised or excited by vested interest groups. It will only harm them. Leave it to the collective wisdom of the leadership, who may decide on it now or later. But decide they must. In the meantime, let us march on our path of development to translate our words into reality. Let none go to bed on a hungry stomach, let no child be deprived of education, let no elder citizen suffer pain due to non availability of health care. Contribution of each individual is as valuable as that of the government. India’s greatness lied in the nobility of such thoughts and their practice. So God bless India !

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