Tuesday, 26 January 2010

Republic Day Post

A few days back there was this controversial issue in Belgaum between the MNS and pro-Kannada organizations. The MNS felt that since they held power in the Belgaum city council, the building should hoist the Maharashtra flag or the “Maratha” flag. The pro-Kannada organizations were dead against this. They argued that only Karnataka flag could be hoisted on top of the council since Belgaum was an integral part of Karnataka. Both the parties were relentless in their stand and this led to violence and unrest in the region. The battle was taken to many local courts, district level courts, Karnataka high court and finally to the supreme court of India. The Supreme Court’s verdict was outright, clean and clear – “if any flag was to be hoisted on top of a government office, it obviously had to be the flag of the union of India

For all the parties who were involved in heated debate against which flag was to be hoisted, the verdict was a tight slap in the face. But the summary of the verdict is even bigger. It is slap in the face for all the politicians across the nation who try continuously to divide the nation along regional, linguistic or caste based lines. It is big slap in the face for the clan of Thackerays who say people from other states are unwelcome in their city because the city belongs to them; a slap in the face for all those who say they need more states because that will help them get their own identity in a nation which is already flooded with an ocean of misguided identities.

The union of India was declared a republic state on the 26th of January 1950, exactly 60 years ago on this day. We all pledged that ours would be a nation where the governance was “by the people, for the people, and of the people”, we would be the largest democratic nation in the world with every citizen of the nation having a right to choose his/her leader. A verbose constitution or the rule of the land amounting to 90,000 words had already been penned down beautifully by the finest intellectuals of our land. It had the best parts from many countries and some features unique to itself. Inspite of our cultural, regional, linguistic differences we would demonstrate unity. All the other identities like our religion, race, caste, language would come a far second compared to the national identity.

But even after sixty years of being a republic nation, the very multiple identities continue to haunt us. People still demand a separate state because their region needs a different identity than others; native people in the country’s largest city consider few people “outsiders” who come to take away what belongs to them; religious fanatics still believe that government is acting against the interest of the majority community and indulge in large scale communal violence; river water that flows across states is constantly disputed as belonging to the state of origin leading to chaos in downstream states… the list goes on endlessly. We see new cases like these emerge almost everyday.

Our constitution was framed by borrowing the best from all the parts of the world. It is one of the finest written rule of law in the world with clear demarcation between the powers of legislature, executive and the judiciary. It also controls the power of the central and state governments clearly. In spite of having such a finely written constitution with us, the reason we are still lacking unity and development is because of the short-sightedness of our leaders. We have created a form of governance where it is easy for our political class to keep us divided and get votes without taking any steps towards betterment of the nation. The collective will of the rulers as well as the people towards a developed nation is missing today.

Putting national interest ahead of any other vested interest is one of the foremost requirement in today’s scenario. Especially the leaders who use the emotions of the people to trigger violence and spread unrest must realize this first – progress can happen only if we stand united in spite of all diversities and not by demanding segregated development of isolated communities. Be it the Thackerays of Maharashtra who want to deny taxi permits to non-marathas, the TRS who want to have a separate state for sake of a political identity – everyone should realize that true growth and development can happen only when it is inclusive, ie, each and every citizen in the country feels part of the whole and willfully participates in the nation-building process.

On this occasion of India’s 61st republic day, we all should introspect on the reasons that have hindered progress in the nation and give a nice, tight slap in the face to all those who are against the unity of whole nation. I wish that we reach reach our rightful place at the top of the world soon. I hope to write more on issue of nation-states in the coming days. But for now, I just wish you all a Happy republic day! Jai Hind


Anonymous said...

I completely agree with your views. The politicians can politicize any issue and take advantage of it.

Looking forward to your next post. I want to know your opinion on the division of states :).

Santosh Kumar said...

Very matured writing !! A good read too

Saumya said...

Good job,Shashi :) Keep writing.

Sourabh said...

what were the Karnataka high court, district court or so called local courts doing? Dont tell me that only SC knows the laws of the land. I think its clearly defined in articles of constitution that govt offices have to host the tricolor or state flag. Secondly, spare the politicians. Arent our own people involved in this charade? Its high time public start thinking. The politicians just glorify the opinions of the people (not that i am supporting them). It all boils down to you and me and the way we think. Take for ex: Kannada, dont we both think the popularity is on decline and also bother about non-kannidagas here? To be honest we do.

Shashia said...


Thanks a lot for your comments. I will write more soon!

I am going to answer your comments in the coming posts. It is high time I wrote about the states thing