A Sovereign, Socialist, Secular and Democratic Republic

Friends, comrades, countrymen and politicians, This is Baba Bangali and I would like to wish you on the occasion of India’s 60th year as a democratic republic. Sixty years looking back is infact a long time and one thing can be said for sure, ‘we’ve come a long way baby‘. As a country we’ve seen a lot, gained some and lost some as well. We’ve had to indulge in wars to protect our crown and now we are fighting an enemy we can’t see. We’ve made tremendous growth in industry and science but are still plagued by disease. There has been a surge in economic growth and soaring land prices but poverty still lingers in the background. We boast of the maximum number of graduates in the world as we confer more degrees and dissertations, but there are an equal number that can’t recognize the alphabet. There are million jobs being created each day as tons of projects are being outsourced, but then we also have people who make less than INR 300 a month. Time for some trivia, although India obtained its independence on August 15, 1947, the Constitution of India came into effect only on January 26, 1950. The Republic Day of India therefore marks the adoption of the Constitution of India and the transition of India from a British Dominion to a democratic republic. On this august occasion we had the father of the Indian Constitution Dr.B.R.Ambedkar who we also know as amby(The initials weren’t very family friendly) to grace this space.

BB: Welcome to Dappan Koothu Amby, it’s a pleasure to have you back from the dead! OK I apologize that sounds like a line out of a zombie movie.

Amby: Ah thanks, but I’m actually here to witness the 60th anniversary of my baby. Also since I’m visiting I felt, it may be a good idea to do some PR and connect with the people.

BB: Oh yea your constitution, we love it so much that we take great pride in breaking every rule in it. How do you feel on it’s superannuation?

Amby: I’m deeply hurt by how you call it obsolete but behind your brash arrogance I see a need for some changes. Remember a constitution never ages, it just undergoes a make over with the changing times.

BB: Oh we shall get to the interesting parts pretty soon, but lets see you make a scorecard of how successfully the constitution has been adopted.

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 CONSTITUENT ASSEMBLY this twenty-sixth day of November, 1949, do HEREBY

BB: So how sovereign do you think we are today? Do you feel that we are free from the control of any foreign power and internally?

Amby: Well on the outside we surely are free from control, but internally we are stung by cantankerous forces that don’t seem the need to move forward and are pulling the nation into darkness. One should however not forget that we have a free government which is directly elected by the people and the laws govern our people.

BB: Spoken like a true jurist, but what would you say about being socialist? I agree that your draft didn’t have it, but we sure would like to hear your thoughts.

Amby: I was looking to use it as my alibi but you’ve ruled that out now. Social and economic equality have quite sadly not been implemented as well as we would have wished to. We would like everyone to have equal status and rights but we still see discrimination based on caste, sex, religion and language as well. We have however tried to make an effort for economic equality and every citizen has the right to improve their condition based on merit.

BB: It’s interesting that you would use the words ‘caste‘ and ‘merit‘ in the same sentence. Weren’t you the one who advocated for caste based reservations in offices and educational institutions? How do you talk of merit now, isn’t it like contradicting yourself in the same sentence?

Amby: Times were bad then and if you would remember I was denied a decent cremation owing to my caste. Hence the proposal was to give people from lower castes a better shot to improve their life and benefit the community. It was supposed to be like your introductory offers that has been renewed and extended every time. The concept has been misused beyond recognition like an overburdened
washerwoman’s mule
an overburdened washerwoman’s mule.

BB: Not the reference that I was looking for, though the analogy of a physically abused whore would seem more pertinent. What would you have to say about being secular then do you see religious equality?

Amby: Officially we have no state religion and every person has the right to preach, practice and propagate any religion they choose. However we have seen people burn each other in the name of god, preachers are hanged, idols vandalized and it’s religion in the end who is the loser. However all citizens irrespective of religion are still equal in the eyes of law.

BB: I’m amazed by your ability to find a silver lining in everything, lets get on nevertheless. You might however be happy that we are atleast a democratic state and the largest democracy int the world.

Amby: Frankly I’m not as embarrassed I was for the other questions but this is something that can improved as well. Every citizen above 18 unless debarred by law is allowed to vote, but I don’t see the ‘one man one vote‘ ideology being followed like it should be. people still refrain from voting and thugs employed by local bigwigs do the needful.

BB: You might be happy about India being a republic as well though people hate to let go of power till their legs give way.

Amby: We certainly don’t have monarchy but a lot of family politics goes on that makes it seem hereditary. Also there doesn’t seem to be a fixed tenure and leaders hold onto their positions for lifetime in the party. This prevents the youth from entering politics and leaves many disillusioned.

BB: Let’s not go into numbers but from where I see it, the score sheet doesn’t look that good. Would you still see it as a reason to celebrate or just as a holiday and a reason for people abroad to bring out their ethnic wear and some good food?

Amby: The albatross was
around my neck
The albatross was around my neck for quite long, but I think I’m gonna be able to get back at you. Baba my friend, you grilled me on many things but seemed to shy away from the most important of them all. You cleverly evaded ‘We, the people of India’ and now I can see why. You see the power is clearly with the people and the constitution is just to help serve them. The people vote are create the government and it’s not like governments are made in test tubes after artificial insemination. The government is of the people,  by the people and for the people which means that they are themselves to blame. We laid down the constitution but it’s upto the citizens to adopt them. We also lack young and dynamic leaders, we tell the world that we are from the ‘land of Gandhi‘ but we choose to ignore other sons of the soil like Sardar Patel and Rajaji. You need people to stand against the oppression, you need leaders whom the people can believe in. The public is fed up of years of corruption and bad governance, it’s time for change. We need a leader full of youth and exuberance who exudes confidence and make people believe once again. The youth need to be encouraged for only they can clean the quagmire that we are in today. We need someone who isn’t afraid to roll up their sleeves and clean the mess, it’s been 60 years now and the country needs a new face.

BB: Ah Ambedkarji you have earned new respect from us. We shall all look forward with renewed faith as we hope to rise once again from the ashes.

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(Image: Indian Army – Madras regiment, Courtesy: Wikipedia)