Connect with us

Opinion

The Idea of India Needs to Be Rediscovered

Published

on

IST


I had the privilege over the last one month of attending a couple of public discourses with many known intellectuals debating on whether India should reinvent its idea in totality or merely rediscover itself or go for restructuring. While the ruling Right Wing has been campaigning for a New India, as coined by Prime Minister Modi recently, and bashing Nehruvian idea of India, Rahul Gandhi recently organized a Save Constitution Rally and called for rediscovering the Nehruvian idea of India of unity in diversity.

Apologists of the reinvention, decidedly from the right-wing, have an aggressive stance these days with a favourable government at the Centre and in a large number of states as well.

One major argument of the Reinvent Lobby is that Indian Civilization is 7000 years old, Republic is 70 years old and there is a new government at the centre with a decidedly new outlook. This outlook believes that the great ancient Indian culture “has been shackled for 250 years now, 180 years by colonialism and 70 years by agents of colonialism.” Hence, recreating is reclaiming. Indian economy which was 27% of the global economy in the 18th century became 3% in 1950s.

 

The Macaulay’s education policy of 1835 imposed English education and permanently infused inferiority among common Indians with regards to English language, taken forward in the Nehruvian era after 1947. This has led to subservience to the West, rise of a poverty-mongering idea of India, and an inward looking socialism today which has produced more poor rather than solving poverty.

True scientific research and entrepreneurial forces have been restrained by this apologizing attitude. Central planning and controlled economy are obsolete today, and India’s achievements till today are in spite of central planning and Nehruvian socialism, not due to these.

Indians do not look at themselves as they should. Universal Spiritualism and Brotherhood were embodied in Indian philosophy through VasudhaivaKutumbakam (Whole World is My Family). Kalidasa is comparable to Shakespeare, but not recognized. Aurobindo’s discourse on foundation of Indian culture is still relevant. The Indian civilizational ideas are even reflected in the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) of the United Nations today but we are neither aware nor proud of the same.

Foreign recognition was important for some stature after independence, not anymore. “We should make our own role models and transition strategy.” By 2050, even Price Water Coopers predicts that India will be the second largest economy with $46 trillion, ahead of USA, and behind China.

The reinvent & recreate lobby also opines that for everything that is true in India, the opposite is also true. “Why should there be one idea of India? Why singular? Why no million mutinies? Constitution is a rule book about how we conduct our lives, and it can change with change of time. Did India begin in 1947? And did the idea of India start only then, run by one family, written in one book, and fathered by Gandhi?”

The Rediscover Lobby, decidedly the Nehruvian apologists, are in turn questioning the much-touted New India noting that it has seen heightening of social disharmony, majoritarian dominance, cow vigilantism, fall of scientific temper, and worsening of the position of women. This lobby wants a return to Nehruvian idealism, protection of Ambedkar’s Constitution, and a rainbow coalition of many castes and communities (and, perhaps political parties too) to rule India.

India with the vision of the founding fathers of Indian constitution, still survives, while Pakistan is virtually falling apart. Even after 101 amendments, the Indian Constitution is still the beacon of Indian polity since it has handled diverse social contradictions, and ensured the rule of law, separation of power, independence of judiciary, and a strong Union in a federal polity: all of which, according to this lobby, are under threat in the right wing vision of New India.

They say that the constitution survived sub-national aspirations and regional demands. And Nehru’s Discovery of India is deeply spiritual, and he got our culture married to modern governance through the constitution, and ensured growth of science and scientific temper, which is now under threat as seen by Central ministers questioning Darwin’s theory and saying that Internet existed in Vedic age or that Ganesha went through a plastic surgery for his trunk.

A section of the rediscovery lobby also says that the Western thinking is linear, ours is cyclical, not straight, and converging. And, hence reinforcing the idea of India is not necessarily the same of the past. Invasions in India, by whoever in last 800 years, have led to a cultural mix and assimilation to make India diverse and richer.

It is this cultural parallelism that exists at the core of the existing idea of India, and a centralized rightist narrative cannot be imposed on it. Since recreation is linear, it does not reflect the truth in the land which believes in ‘Ekamsatyam, viprahvahudhavadanti’ (The Truth is One, interpreted differently by different learned men).

This rediscovery lobby passionately puts forth that pluralism, sense of diversity and inclusivity are at the core of the idea of India today, reflecting the civilizational journey of us, and hence to maintain its nature of antiquity, continuity, diversity and assimilation, it cannot be reinvented or recreated.

Historians among the rediscovery lobby points out that in 1923, the Hindutva focused idea of India presented by Savarkar was rejected for a syncretic vision. Savarkar’s ideas of Pitrabhoomi and Punyabhoomi, in effect accepting the two nation theory of Jinnah, put forth later in 1942, had been rejected by the people in favour of multi-cultural Hindustan. Founding fathers of India of today called for opening of windows and doors of our houses, but not to be blown off our feet.

This lobby questions the right wing asking if Akhlaq’s killing or Sambhulal killing Afroz or six men raping and killing 8-years old Asifa are signs of New India. Why no Muslim contribution from medieval ages to India or the oldest Church of the world being here are recognized in this New India? And what is this New India apart from an aggressive brand of masculine Hindutva and blatant crony capitalism of Adani-Ambani-NiravModietc?
India, with the second largest Muslim population of the world, cannot be a Hindu Rashtra for sure. India, with 7% and above GDP growth, cannot also play second fiddle to the Western economies. India, with 56% of population below 25 years of age and 67% below 35 years, is surely a major force of the future talent pool and work force of the world.

While Sambhulal’s heinous murder in Rajasthan or Asifa’s brutal rape and murder in Jammu cannot be allowed to represent the face of New India, we cannot also accept minority appeasement and using Muslims or Dalits or tribals as mere vote-banks without changing their socio-economic status, as shown in Sachhar Committee report.

Hence, evolution of the idea of India is needed surely, building upon self-reliance, national role models, strengthening the conversation with our tradition, and honouring diversity in every walk of life. The re-structured or evolved idea of India needs to ensure strict secularism where the State has no role to play in religious matters (which are best left to individuals), and all religious conflicts should be seen only as law and order problems.

On the other hand, this re-structured of India ahead must ensure better economic life of the marginalized people (through Minimum Support Prices for farm produce, executing forest and tribal protection acts, and executing women’s protection, minimum wages and days of work protection and rural health protection acts).

Neither ultra-nationalism of the Hindutva variety, nor eulogy of rule by one family through appeasement: the idea of India needs an evolution to a re-structured identity which blends aspiration of the privileged with dignified life of the under-privileged, irrespective of community, caste or gender. One party rule or multi-party coalition, India needs a programme of progress and sustainability, neither a powerful arrogant leader nor a group squabbling regional leaders.
(thecitizen.in)


Comments

Opinion

Some baffling decisions of the SC

The Kashmir Monitor

Published

on

By Manini Chatterjee

Of the three pillars of the state, the judiciary has always evoked much greater respect from ordinary citizens than either the legislature or the executive. Since the legislature comprises elected representatives of the people, we — the people who elect them — feel justly entitled to criticize them at will. The executive, similarly, is more often pilloried than praised when it fails to deliver on its many promises.

The judiciary, on the other hand, has usually been treated as a hallowed institution. Judges, unlike politicians, are seen not only as wise but also possessed of thinner skins. The fear of being hauled up for contempt of court (what construes contempt remains a mystery to most of us) acts as a deterrent to commenting on the judiciary.

 

But that silence was broken last year. And not by an irreverent media or crusading activists or outspoken lawmakers. It was members of the highest judiciary who dealt the blow, coming out with home truths whose reverberations have yet to subside.

On January 12, 2018, the then four senior-most judges of the Supreme Court — J. Chelameswar, RanjanGogoi, Madan B. Lokur and Kurian Joseph — held an unprecedented press conference in the capital. In the course of the press conference, they revealed the letters they had written to the then Chief Justice of India, Dipak Misra, questioning his style of administration and the manner in which he allocated cases to difference benches of the court. Expressing dismay at the CJI’s refusal to address their grievances, they said, “Unless the institution of Supreme Court is preserved, democracy won’t survive in the country.”

That press conference, which alluded to government interference in the workings of the court, was not a one-off affair. Soon after, in separate letters to the CJI, J. Chelameswar and Kurian Joseph expressed concerns about the judiciary’s independence in face of the executive’s encroachment.

But what made waves in circles well beyond the judiciary was RanjanGogoi’s speech on July 12 to a packed auditorium in Delhi.Delivering the RamnathGoenka memorial lecture, Gogoi spoke at length on the “Vision of Justice” and the role of the judiciary in upholding constitutional ideals.

In the course of the lecture, he quoted an article from the Economist which said, “…independent judges and noisy journalists are democracy’s first line of defence.” Gogoi went on to say, “I agree but will only suggest a slight modification in today’s context — not only independent judges and noisy journalists, but even independent journalists and sometimes noisy judges.” Those words made headlines then and have been quoted frequently since.

Pointing out that the judiciary had been endowed with great societal trust, he said, “This very fact gives it its credibility and this very credibility gives it its legitimacy… I will only say that if it wishes to preserve its moral and institutional leverage, it must remain uncontaminated. And, independent. And, fierce. And, at all times. A chain is only as strong as its weakest link. So is an institution.”

Gogoi’s speech was remarkable because he was in line to be the next Chief Justice. In fact, many feared that he had risked his career with that speech and the government might not elevate him to the post of the CJI after Dipak Misra retired.

Those fears were belied. Gogoi became the Chief Justice of India in early October. But, truth be told, hopes that a feisty judiciary would force more transparency on opaque and questionable executive decisions have also remained unfulfilled.

Some of the Supreme Court’s decisions, such as in the case relating to the removal of the Central Bureau of Investigation chief, has left even retired judges puzzled.

On October 23, the government conducted a midnight raid on the headquarters of the CBI and seized a whole lot of material related to pending investigations. It then summarily removed the CBI chief, AlokVerma, from his post. Since Verma had been appointed by a three-member selection committee (comprising the prime minister, the leader of the largest Opposition party and the CJI), he contended that only that committee could remove him — and not the central vigilance commissioner. Verma moved the Supreme Court with alacrity against his arbitrary removal.

The apex court chose not to adjudicate on the removal. Instead, it appointed a retired Supreme Court judge, A.K. Patnaik, to supervise a CVC probe into the allegations of corruption levelled against Verma by his bête noire, the then CBI special director, Rakesh Asthana. It directed the probe be completed within two weeks. The three-judge bench of Gogoi, Sanjay KishanKaul, and K.M. Joseph passed no strictures against the manner in which the raids were conducted by the government nor asked why and what materials had been seized.

Although the probe was completed in two weeks and the report presented to the court, it was not till January 8 that the judges delivered their verdict. On the face of it, the verdict was a victory for Verma. It said that only the three-member selection committee could transfer or divest Verma of his powers, and not the CVC or the Centre.

Again, puzzlingly, it passed no strictures against the government for removing him in the manner it did. Instead, it asked the selection committee to go through the contents of the CVC probe report and decide in a week whether Verma should be exonerated or indicted.

The government convened a meeting the very next day and less than 48 hours after he was reinstated as CBI chief, Verma was once again given marching orders. The CJI had recused himself from the panel, and appointed the judge, A.K. Sikri in his stead. Sikri and the prime minister, Narendra Modi, voted to remove Verma while MallikarjunKharge dissented.

What followed has been extremely unflattering for the apex court. A.K. Patnaik, the judge who had supervised the CVC probe, told The Indian Express that “[t]here was no evidence against Verma regarding corruption”, that the decision to remove him was “very very hasty”, and that the committee “should have applied their mind thoroughly, especially as a Supreme Court judge was there.”

Speaking to The Telegraph, two highly respected former Chief Justices of India also expressed misgivings on the way the committee took the decision without giving Verma a chance to present his side of the case. Former CJI, T.S. Thakur, underlined that if a decision was being taken on the basis of an adverse report against an individual, that individual must be given an opportunity to present his point of view. “If that process has not been followed… then any decision based on such adverse findings will be contrary to the principles of natural justice.”

Another former CJI, R.M. Lodha, said much the same thing: “He (Verma) needs to be heard. Ordinarily, he should be heard. Principles of natural justice deserved to be followed.”

In other words, the Supreme Court’s failure to explicitly state that Verma should be given a hearing violated the principles of natural justice.

Similarly, a CJI-headed bench’s verdict on the Rafale deal has also raised eyebrows. While the government, understandably, has hailed the verdict as a “clean chit”, the detailed review petition filed by ArunShourie, Yashwant Sinha and Prashant Bhushan points out how the “the government has blatantly misled the Hon’ble Court and the Hon’ble Court has grossly erred in placing reliance on false averments in the note not even supported by an affidavit.” In layman’s language, it questions the touching faith the apex court placed in the assertions of the government in spite of evidence to the contrary.

The Supreme Court collegium’s decision to appoint two judges to the apex court after retracting an earlier selection of two other judges is the latest controversy to hit the judiciary.

The CJI, reportedly, is “very upset” over the “media leaks” on the collegium’s functioning. Last week, he also advised the advocate, Prashant Bhushan — who wanted the government to disclose the names shortlisted by the search committee for the post of Lokpal — not to “look at things from a negative point of view” and to “be positive” instead.

That is fine advice from a spiritual guru. But advocating such a course in today’s India can also be construed as unquestioning faith in a majoritarian government’s intents and actions. The apex court has baffled us on many counts in the last few months. But that someone who spoke in praise of noisy judges and independent journalists should now worry about adverse media reports and negative attitudes to the government is, perhaps, the most bewildering of them all…

Continue Reading

Opinion

Growing menace of corruption

The Kashmir Monitor

Published

on

By Tawfeeq Irshad Mir

“One who listens to truth is not less than one who utters the truth”

With glued memories of my infantile period, hardly I could retrieve the surroundings and the events happening around, Brought up in a very small village “Goripora” in Sopore town of Kashmir, a village with meticulous presence, conscious, a mixture of intellect and a think tank of its own, whenever I revert my memory lane through times, I find myself in the nap of my grandfather, an image of an old man enveloped in “chadar” yet young by mind, he was the then head of village, people of all ages enjoyed his presence, igniting the debate pertaining to different issues, being the head of the village, so mostly revenue matters were discussed and the consistent content of all debates used to be “corruption” the word that recurrently vibrated my neurons and propelled me as to what is this corruption all about, initial understanding was like this, “to get your work down, have a chicken to please” and sometimes “the person inflated the pocket to get the work down” in common Kashmiri language, you might have encountered the word most frequently “channel, like the person has channel,designated to corruption. As being in rural area, the incentives for corruption used to be” chicken “an apple box” sometimes red beans “probably due to lack of money as people used to exchange their daily needs rather than money. As I grew up, exposed myself to the environment, what I found was interesting, now an updated version of corruption :every now, people discussing the scourge of corruption, as like a curse, preferably in revenue department, to have an income certificate, an amount of 2 to 3 hundred rupees was a prerequisite, with the time I found people paying huge amounts to get their land acquisitions settled, even to get a driving licence, driving skill hardly mattered, as the time passed by, now the word “corruption” was a constant encrypted into the minds of people, a peculiar picture of engulfing in corruption was most obvious from electricity department, then it was not digitalized, the new house holder enjoyed the bless even without registration by simply paying a meagre amount to officials in the department. “Not a single institution is prone to corruption” but it’s deleterious effects on education and recruitment system “has perturb and monstrous consequences. As I observed during the years, it was evident during the board exams, every one among us might have witnessed the special privilege being offered to some students in the examination Hall, a corruption of intimate level, eventually with the enlightenment of newspapers, social media, the youth Began to lay their repercussions on corruption pertaining to selection process whether it be for further education or selection of job process, like the ‘x’ person got selected because the said person had paid a huge amount for it, it swept the general consensus of youth, dredging them to denial resorting to premature statements that “now this education is futile as you won’t get any things unless you don’t have enough money, there is no place for poor fellows, we can’t continue with this” and the consequence was such that many talented ones dredged in drug dependency, heralding their further education.

 

Here I am talking about corruption on the local level, attached to the ground where I am the self-observant of this scourge, many a times I have been a part of discussions locally regarding this remorse, but in an alienated elite.

Social networking sites are filled with tons of data regarding corruption, gallons of ink have been spent on news papers to reflect this horror, while everyone apparently and seemingly attacking the subsequent political discourse and the concerned administrative systems,

“I have a virtual opinion, I believe, “every human being has encoded traits, and has a natural tendency to express these traits, both positive and negative as like in all other animals, but the best thing about humans is to differentiate between right and wrong and the ability to direct their energies toward humanity, that’s why called humans, but one’s the person is exacerbated by materialistic influence, the person tends to express the negative trait to fulfil the Ill designed desires, and simply the person who endorses or resorts to such mischievous act of corruption, the person is engulfed my this wild trait “
Now what astonishes me the most,” while everyone seemingly denigrates this scourge, then who supports it, I mean everyone is raising in objection to it, then who constitutes to the corruption.

I would like to prove my content with objective analysis, suppose I am the person, and I am asked to give some amount to secure a place in any govt. department, despite irrelevant educational qualifications and out of any fearful selection procedure, now it’s all about me, would I agree or not, so surely the moment I am in such a position, I will surely opt for it, likewise I believe every single person on the planet not only in the valley, will opt the same, I jus made an analogy and it almost pertains to every aspect. So literally, I mean to say that corruption is from within, not a system is corrupted, in fact the people with this thinking make the system corrupt and that’s how it seems that the whole system is overwhelmed with corruption, it is engrained in the minds of people, “the humans have rbcs, wbcs, and platelets in blood, but I suspect we have one more” corruption cell “in our blood and we have genes encoded with it dominantly.

” We have to deter this menace from within, the moment we object to this greed, it needs to be abolished from within, sanitising the systems won’t yield any results, because it’s already ingrained in the minds of people, so we have to interpret and analyse and suppress this wild trait only then we will get rid of this wild menace infesting our spirituality, ethos”

(The writer is pursuing graduation in Nursing at G M C, Srinagar and can be reached at: [email protected])

Continue Reading

Opinion

Why the JNU story won’t die

The Kashmir Monitor

Published

on

By Rakesh Batabyal

Not too long ago in the history of the Republic — 1974 to be precise — a large body of students entered the lobby, and later the room of Vice-Chancellor G Parthasarathy, the founding head of Jawaharlal Nehru University, a man charged with the setting up of a world-class university, and announced that they were gheraoing him. They wanted the barriers of gender separating the girls’ and boys’ hostels to be done away with, as it smacked of a feudal society based on patriarchy. They were expressing the most progressive ideas agitating the young mind — the gendered barricades encompassing society. Parthasarathy, who had interacted with the most powerful people in the world, found this group of students, many of whom did not even speak English (the language of the diplomatic elite that he was familiar with), more powerful than all who had come before — they were students, yet their demands were not for their own interests, nor even for something euphemistically called national interest. They were protesting for something which in their minds they thought would make society better all-in-all. He did not ask for the police, did not chide them, neither was he demurred — he talked to them about social, bureaucratic and other miscellaneous issues that would not permit such a great idea to be immediately pursued in a traditional society; it would in fact be harmed through the vicious constrictions of traditional society. Its time would come, though, one fine day, and then the society would remember the pioneers — those JNU students. Such was the spirit embodied in the foundation of the university that is JNU. There are many other instances that reinforced these values and established the spirit of dissent and dialogue that became the signature of this great institution.

In the mid-1980s, a Dean of Students introduced a register for women students/ guests entering the men’s hostel, where the purpose of visit was to be recorded. Many uncharitable remarks made the administration understand its own lack of practical wisdom, and this rule was never strictly enforced.

 

Then, in the late 1980s, an ever-watchful body of students discovered that a senior official was drawing salary from two sources. In the pre-RTI age, they made efforts to get at the source. The Vice-Chancellor, a stickler for rules, had to disown the officer; at no point was a student either issued a show-cause notice or shown the door.

In the early 1990s, students wanted to strike against the administration and they were sitting on a hunger strike when the Vice-Chancellor himself joined them in the strike, saying this was his cause too. Professor Yoginder K Alagh, the Vice-Chancellor, was no mean scholar and knew that the students were not demanding something out of the world.

Thus, through such acts, the young were indicating the new and emerging mores, which led to the university not being ossified. Teachers had their individual political and intellectual predilections and students too had their own, but one saw the campus, like the nation, carry on with the variety and colour of these differences.
There were shouts and slogans to drown the other, but they were more a demonstration of intellectual prowess than threats to physically eliminate the other. When the State imposed Emergency in 1975, JNU students became part of street agitations. Their refusal to allow then prime minister Indira Gandhi into the campus is the stuff of legends.

The story of an institution is a story of shared memories and shared ideals. JNU, as it has grown in the last 50 years, is one such great story. Within this story lay millions of small lives and their careers as they have woven the narrative of this country in the last half century.

A university reflects the character of a nation: its moral self, its confidence and its resolve to face the world. When we sat at the table in our hostel mess, when we all talked about our larger vision and smaller plans — about fighting the capital and its sway, our resolve to finish off shades of Apartheid or the discriminating caste hierarchies — we were speaking of the society and for a future society. The shared memories of those talks, of the politics that gave us the language to express those visions and plans, are small stories in the big world.

As the University celebrates its 50th anniversary, it is these shared memories of the collective self that will keep the beauty of the institution intact. All that is beautiful needs to be cherished and the memories are those beautiful things that direct us towards a great future. It is unfortunate that those who do not cherish the memory and what JNU stands for, are at the helm of affairs today. But memories fortunately cannot be killed, only repressed in some circles.

Continue Reading

Subscribe to The Kashmir Monitor via Email

Enter your email address to subscribe to The Kashmir Monitor and receive notifications of new stories by email.

Join 980,358 other subscribers

Archives

January 2019
M T W T F S S
« Dec    
 123456
78910111213
14151617181920
21222324252627
28293031  
Advertisement