A Constitution is the fundamental law of the land. It lays down how a nation is to be organized and governed. It sets up the state institutions (the organs of power), the inverse relation between them, and their relations with the people, their rights and duties, etc.
The Constitution of India was promulgated on 26th January 1950 after India gained Independence in 1947, with great pomp and fanfare.
Today, however, it lies torn in shreds, flagrantly flouted, and has become a mere scarecrow, with the state institutions hollow and empty shells. It now exists only to deceive the Indian people.
The Indian Constitution provides for equality in Articles 14-18.
But the truth is that 7 individuals in India, who have bribed our crooked political leaders and bureaucrats, today own wealth equal to, if not more, than the bottom 50% of our population of 1320 million people. The divide between rich and poor has grown since its promulgation and is still growing, despite Article 39(b) which states that “The state shall direct its policy towards securing that the ownership and control of the material resources of the community are so distributed as best to subserved the common good” and Article 39(c) which states that “The state shall direct its policy towards securing that the operation of the economic system does not result in the concentration of wealth and the means of production to the common detriment “.
Article 25 provides for freedom of religion, and the Preamble mentions secularism, but that did not prevent massacre of Sikhs in 1984 in Delhi and of Muslims in Gujarat in 2002, lynching of Muslims in recent years by cow vigilantes and arrests of scores of Muslim youth on trumped up charges, vandalisation of Christian churches in Delhi by Hindu bigots and persecution of Christians in Odisha.
Article 21 provides for liberty, but sedition and preventive detention laws have made a mockery of this provision.
India claims to be a democracy, and in a democracy people have a right to criticize the government, as indeed laid down by the Supreme Court of India in Romesh Thapar vs Union of India, a decision given only a few months after the promulgation of the Constitution in 1950.
Yet despite this decision, today it is dangerous in India to criticize political leaders, as evident by the arrest of the journalist Kishorechandra Wangkhem who had criticized the Chief Minister of Manipur, the farmer Silanath Choudhary, who told the West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerji in a public meeting that she had not kept her election promises to farmers, Aseem Trivedi who drew a cartoon depicting Indian politicians as corrupt, Prof Ambikesh Mahapatra of Jadavpur University who shared cartoons of the West Bengal CM on the social media, the folk singer Kovan who criticized the then CM of Tamilnadu Jayalalitha for allegedly profiting from public liquor shops, etc. Even a satirical tweet can land one in jail, as it happened to the journalist Abhijit Iyer-Mitra. And sympathizing with the poor and marginalized sections of society is particularly dangerous, as is evident from the case of Dr. Binayak Sen and the Bhima Koregaon accused.
Article 39(f) states that “The state shall direct its policy towards securing that children are given opportunities and facilities to develop in a healthy manner…” and Article 47 states that “The state shall regard the raising of the level of nutrition…of its people as among its primary duties”.
But what is the reality in India today? The reality is that 47% of Indian children are malnourished (as per report of Global Hunger Index), which is a much higher figure than the poorest sub Saharan countries in Africa like Somalia. We have more than one third of all the malnourished children in the world.
Article 39A states that the state shall secure that the legal system promotes justice. But with a staggering 33 million cases pending in our law courts, and cases often taking decades to decide, with ‘tareekh’ after ‘tareekh’, and with a large section of the judiciary having become corrupt, the Indian judicial system has become a joke.
Article 41 states that the state shall, within its capacity, secure the right to work. But unemployment in India has reached record heights, as even the recent National Sample Survey Organization of the Govt of India revealed. Prime Minister Modi had said in his 2014 election speech that if his govt comes to power it will create 2 crore (20 million) new jobs annually, but this has only proved to be a ‘jumla’. In fact it is believed demonetisation alone destroyed 2 crore jobs. For each chaprasi (peon) job there are one thousand applications, many with a Master’s degree, and some even PhDs.
Article 41 also directs the state to provide education to the children. But the reality is that state grants mostly go to IITs, Universities and other Institutes etc. with very little given to primary and high schools where the foundation of knowledge is laid, and the latter are mostly in a terrible condition with third rate teachers and facilities.
Articles 41 and 47 also direct the state to provide sickness benefits and improve public health, but the truth is that proper healthcare is almost non-existent for the poor people in India (who constitute the vast majority) and they often have to resort to quacks. There are no doubt some state of the art hospitals in big cities, but these are exorbitantly expensive, and quite out of reach for the poor people.
Article 43 states that the state shall endeavor to secure all workers, industrial and agricultural, a living wage.
But with the massive level of unemployment in India, and the widespread contract system, workers dare not ask for higher wages lest they be sacked. So they have to make do with whatever pittance they get.
As for agricultural workers, the huge number of farmers suicides in India (over 300, 000) has made this provision a cruel joke.
Article 48A states that the state shall endeavor to protect and improve the environment. But in India even 68 years after the promulgation of the Constitution there is pollution everywhere, even in the national capital Delhi which has record air pollution. Almost all our rivers are polluted. Foodstuffs, drinking water etc are often polluted. There are piles of garbage everywhere in our cities.
Our Constitution makers borrowed from Western Constitutions while framing our Constitution. They borrowed the parliamentary system of democracy and an independent judiciary from England, the fundamental rights and federal system from the US Constitution, the Directive Principles from Ireland, etc. Thus they framed a Western type Constitution and imposed it from above on our backward, largely feudal society. Probably their thinking was that this modern Constitution would pull up our backward feudal society into the modern age.
But there was a fundamental flaw in this thinking, and that was this: great historical transformations in a nation cannot be made by simply promulgating a Constitution, they require mighty historical people’s struggles i.e. a Revolution.
For instance, the modern unwritten British Constitution was a culmination of such a Revolution and historical people’s struggles in England in the 17th century. Similarly, it was the French Revolution of 1789 and the later revolutions of 1830 and 1848 which destroyed feudalism in France and resulted in creating a modern society in France. The Russian and Chinese Revolutions also resulted in destruction of feudalism in those countries.
Thus, modern state institutions and modern principles (of liberty, equality, religious freedom, etc.) were the result of historical revolutionary people’s struggles in those countries.
In India, on the other hand, there was no Revolution, but only a farce called satyagraha led by that hypocritical Gandhi.
What is a historical transition or transformation? It is a period when the old society is being uprooted and torn apart, but the new society has not yet been created, when old values are being challenged, but new ones have not yet securely taken their place. Is that possible peacefully? Not at all. The vested interests in the old order will put up a fierce resistance against making fundamental social and political changes. Also, foreign powers will oppose it as they will feel their own interests in jeopardy if the transformation takes place (e.g. they may lose their markets and sources of cheap raw materials).
If we study the history of Europe when it was going through its transition from a feudal agricultural to a modern industrial society (from the 16th to 19th centuries) we find that this period was full of turbulence, revolutions, wars, social churning, intellectual ferment etc. There was the Reformation and Counter Reformation, the English Civil War from (1642 to 1649), the Restoration in 1660 and the Glorious Revolution of 1688, the French Revolution of 1789 and the Napoleonic wars, the Thirty Year War in Germany from 1618-1648, the Revolutions of 1830 and 1848, the rise of Prussia etc. Besides this, there was the Industrial Revolution which began in England in the early 18th century and spread elsewhere, and the intellectual work of Locke, Voltaire, Rousseau, the French Encyclopedists etc. It was only after going through this fire that modern society emerged in Europe.
India, too, has to go through this fire before modern society is created here.
Two paths which were available to the Indian people
At the beginning of the 20th century two paths were available to the Indian people (1) the path of honor shown by great revolutionaries like Bhagat Singh, Surya Sen (Masterda), Chandrashekhar Azad, Bismil, Ashfaqulla, Khudiram Bose, Rajguru, Sukhdeo, etc, which no doubt would have caused much bloodshed, or (2) the path shown by Gandhi and his associates (Nehru, Patel etc).
Indians, your forefathers, afraid of losing their lives, chose the dishonorable path of ‘ahimsa’ shown by the British agent Gandhi, but now you will have to pay for the stupidity of your forefathers who followed Gandhi, that fraud and hypocrite. Now a revolution is coming in which possibly a hundred times more lives will have to be sacrificed than what would have been required had Bhagat Singh’s path been followed.
The Constitution of India provides for parliamentary democracy. But everyone knows that in India parliamentary democracy largely runs on caste and communal vote banks. Casteism and communalism are feudal forces which must be destroyed if India is to progress, but parliamentary democracy further entrenches them.
China has no parliamentary democracy, and so it has moved rapidly ahead, and is almost a super power, 5 or 6 times ahead of us economically. The Chinese do not have to face issues like Ram Mandir and cow protection. In contrast, Indian political leaders have always to think of the next elections. They are not bothered about the country but only their caste and communal vote banks, and for that they have to polarize society and spread caste and communal hatred.
So we have to replace parliamentary democracy with another system which enables India to rapidly industrialize.
But that is not possible within the framework of this Constitution, which has clearly exhausted itself, and has become a scarecrow.
A mighty historical united people’s struggle led by genuinely patriotic and modern minded leaders is required for solving the people’s huge socio-economic problems, in other words a Revolution.
What form this Revolution will take, how it will be achieved and when, is impossible to predict. But one thing is certain–the present Constitution, which is serving only to deceive the Indian people, must be scrapped.