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Issue No.: 550 | April 2013
 

Preamble to a Farce

Firoze Hirjikaka
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In a nation where sycophancy is rampant and the word ‘sir’ rolls readily off the tongue, individual dignity is a bit of a joke.

India's governments, irrespective of the party they belong to, have an unholy knack of making asses of themselves and cutting their own throats in the process. The latest idiocy is the diktat that boys and girls in Maharashtra's schools will have to compulsorily read the Preamble to the Constitution before starting classes. On the face of it, this seems like a laudable initiative. The irony lies in the fact that it is the same politicians that constantly make a mockery of the Constitution. Consider the following aspects of the Preamble.

The Preamble supposedly guarantees social, economic and political justice for all citizens. The unfortunate reality is that the poor of India, who constitute more than two-thirds of the population, rarely receives justice of any kind. The government knowingly perpetuates poverty in order to ensure a gullible vote bank that can be cheaply bought. The entrenched caste system imposes a social hierarchy that constantly puts obstacles in the path of those from the lower strata who aspire to elevate their position in society. As for political justice, the quality of our legislature and the preponderance of criminals speaks for itself.

Next comes liberty of thought, expression, belief, faith and worship. The nominally liberal and secular democracy of India imposes the worst kind of censorship on the majority of citizens. Our country has thousands of self-styled moralists and do-gooders who seek to impose their warped thinking on free speech, writing, exhibition and broadcasting. They even vent their bigoted spleen on something as innocuous as a Facebook post. The government is culpable for its cowardice in meekly acquiescing in this unofficial dictatorship - and so is the police. Of course, the most insidious censorship is that on freedom of faith and religion. It is always a bunch of ignorant fanatics, who use hooliganism to ‘guide’ the faithful on their version of the right path, no matter how warped it may be.

Constitutionally, all Indians are guaranteed equality of status and opportunity. This is perhaps the most abused article of the Constitution. For a majority of citizens, their status is pre-determined by the caste they are born in; and so is their opportunity for advancement. Yes, there are sterling examples of those who have broken through the barrier, but these are few and far between. As for our political class, a prevailing feudal mindset ensures that the anointed leader enjoys near-absolute power and obedience.

The Preamble emphasizes fraternity, which is meant to ensure the dignity of the individual and the unity and integrity of the nation. In a nation where sycophancy is rampant and the word ‘sir’ rolls readily off the tongue, individual dignity is a bit of a joke. So is the unity of the nation. Splitting the country along linguistic lines has resulted in a fractured polity where the Centre holds only nominal authority.

There you have it then; our worthy and impeccable Constitution, which is followed more in the breach than the rule. And now, millions of students will be reminded on a daily basis about how badly they and their country have been let down by their rulers. Come to think of it, it's not such a bad idea. 

FIROZE HIRJIKAKA 
leonardo8_99@yahoo.com
 
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Other Articles in this Issue

Editorial

Water Thievery - Cause of Droughts in Maharashtra

Sharad Joshi
 

Main Feature

Budget 2013 – An Elaborate Exercise in Denial

M. R. Venkatesh
 

Twelfth Plan and the 2013-14 Budget - 3

Sunil S. Bhandare
 

Reflections: The Gang Rape and After

The New Delhi Protest

Nitin G. Raut
 

Justice Verma Committee Report

Suresh Sharma
 

Death of a Rapist

Ashok Karnik
 

Reflections: A Flawed Democracy

Are We Really Free?

Firoze Hirjikaka
 

A Travesty of Justice!

H. R. Bapu Satyanarayana
 

'Trousering’ a Brown Envelope in Myanmar and Communal Politics in Britain

Professor Christie Davies
 

Reflections: In the midst of Blasts, Turf wars continue

National Counter Terrorism Centre (NCTC)

Ashok Karnik
 

Foreign Relations

Terrorism Strikes Again, and Again, and Yet Again

B. Ramesh Babu
 

Cornucopia

Preamble to a Farce

Firoze Hirjikaka
 

The Art of Giving

Firoze Hirjikaka
 

Point Counterpoint

Terror Strikes Again!

Ashok Karnik
 

Phone Tapping and CDRS

Ashok Karnik
 

The Helicopter Deal

Ashok Karnik
 

Books

Disenchanting India: Organised Rationalism and Criticism of Religion in India By Johannes Quack

Reviewed by Prabhakar Nanawaty
 

Educating Adults

The Right to Education Act (10)

Suresh Sharma
 

Children First Party of India Debut

Dilip Thakore
 

My Mother Pramila

R. C. Saxena
 

Anandi Gopal Joshi

B. M. N. Murthy
 

Maha Kumbh: Time to Come Clean

Sunita Narain
 

Nostalgia

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In Memoriam

Professor P. V. Indiresan, R.I.P

 

Viren J. Shah, R.I.P

 

Remembering Hari Shankar Singhania

 

From Our Readers

Perpetuating the Status-Quo

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Yet another Strike!

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India’s Growing Leadership ‘deficit’

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In case you have not heard this one

The Hijacking of Wharton

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Color

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