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Equality and justice as important as independence

August 16, 2012 21:14 IST

There is a wide gap between 'chamakta bharat' (shining India) and 'tadapta bharat' (dying India), and unless this gap is filled nothing is going to happen, says Syed Hassan Kazim.

On Independence Day the whole country celebrated our Azadi, which we got 65 years ago from the clutches of the British Empire. We will keep hearing slogans like 'Mera Bharat Mahan', which certainly it is, and 'Vande Matram'.  But, the question is, 'Kya hum sach much aazaad hain?'(Are we really free?)

Everyone will keep on talking about the Indian economy coming at par with the Western ones and India's coming of age as a country and a power to reckon with. There is no denying the fact that the Indian democratic experiment has always been regarded as being one of the most successful democratic systems in the world. But this success comes with a few flaws that cannot be overlooked or ignored. We must not forget the principles on which the idea of our republic is based. Is the implementation of those ideas up to the mark?

The biggest achievement of India is to remain united despite having so many diversities in its fold. But there are so many other things which must be talked about rather than just boasting and chanting slogans about our greatness.

As I write this piece, the North-East, which has been long ignored by the successive dispensations in New Delhi, is once more up in flames. Assam, the most important state of the region, is witnessing the worst ever ethnic and communal clashes between the Bodos and the Muslims, with the state and the Central government acting and standing as a mute spectator without doing anything. Every political group in the country is busy trying to use Assam and the blood of the innocents out there for its own political purpose. But the question remains, what will happen in Assam and who is responsible for all the things which have happened there?

No one can deny that there is a sense of being ignored or being left behind in our north eastern states and their complaints are really valid. The government cannot behave like an ostrich for long. The Human rights violence by our security forces in the guise of the laws like AFPSA is a reality which cannot be ignored. Kashmir seems to be peaceful but as we have seen in the past, only a spark is needed to bring the Kashmiri 'awaam' (masses) on the streets and chanting slogans in favour of Azadi and against India. We cannot turn our face from the reality that, the Kashmiris are being exploited since independence; sometimes through the human rights violation by our security forces, sometimes by both the governments of India and Pakistan.

In the Western front of our country, Gujarat's Narender Bhai Modi is still unrepentant about the riots which were carried under his watchful eyes and aims to become India's future prime minister. The farmers in Vidarbha are still depressed and are committing suicides with 412 of them taking their lives in 2012 alone.

At the political front, the level of politics has drastically gone down as compared to the politics of the yesteryear. Sycophancy is at its peak. In the words of Ramchandra Guha, "India is more a Darbari democracy rather than a dynastic democracy". For our politicians the importance of the 'aam admi" is only till the election and after that no one cares about the will of the common man.

With our metropolitans gleaming with shopping malls the difference between the haves and the have-nots has increased manifold. Now Mr Anna Hazare has also made up his mind to jump into the electoral battlefield then the question which will always remain haunting the Indian nation is, when Anna and his team had already decided that ultimately they have to fight elections then what was the need to take the whole country on ransom through fasts and hartals?

Are we really a rising world power aiming to become a super power? With a situation like this we cannot expect to become world power in the foreseeable future. There is a wide gap between 'chamakta bharat' (shining India) and 'tadapta bharat' (dying India), and unless this gap is filled nothing is going to happen. With a thrid rate education and fifth rate health system, how can we think of becoming a world power? The condition of the government hospitals keeps getting worse day by day. As far as the private hospitals are concerned they are only for the super rich. They have totally turned into business ventures where a poor person cannot even think of getting himself treated.

There have been some black spots in the history of our democracy. The emergency, the Babri Masjid demolition, The 84 anti-Sikh riots, so many other communal riots, the Gujarat post-Godhra anti–Muslim communal pogrom and so many other terrorist attacks like the Mumbai blasts and attacks are some of them. During the 84 riots and the Gujarat pogrom the whole state machinery was well behind the marauders and criminals, who, with the help of police and administration having political backing, went on tearing apart our secular credentials. It's a shame that the criminals who were responsible are still roaming free while thumping their chest. Narender Modi is still there, the Congress politicians responsible for the 84 anti-Sikh riots are still free. Both the Congress and the BJP have been playing politics of communalism and cast hatred with regular interval.

Nearly most of the schemes and issues which should have played a great role in the upliftment of the underprivileged have been either hijacked or being use to score electoral points. The delayed justice delivery system sometimes becomes very much exploiting for the victims.

Apart from all these negative aspects our democracy has been a success story where the people have every right to reject a government which is not up to the mark. The best examples are the post emergency defeat of Indira Gandhi and the defeat of the NDA government in 2004 elections.

As a whole the 'Idea of India' has prevailed but there are so many problems which need to be seen in their eyes directly. It would not be bad to say that, our republic is an Orange Republic (divided from within but looks united from outside).

Last but not the least, if we really want ourselves to become a world power we have to get empowered ideally (having a sense of ideology on which our republic is based) from within. We have to give the have-nots their rights which they deserve more than anyone else. Equality and justice are as much important as independence and without them there no any meaning of freedom and independence.

'Abhi tak paon se lipti hain zanjeerein ghulami ki / Din aa jaata hai aazadi ka, aazadi nahin aati'

Jai Hind!
Syed Hassan Kazim