Thursday, January 29, 2015

The Indian Spirit


The real question is not whether the original Preamble to the Indian Constitution contained the words ‘secularist’ and ‘socialist’ but what the present India really wants to be.  It is not a matter of words as much as about intentions and motives.

A flashback from history

Delhi, June 1947

Louis Mountbatten, the last Viceroy of the British Raj, Jawaharlal Nehru, the first Prime Minister of independent India, Muhammad Ali Jinnah, the founder of Pakistan, and a few others are giving the final touches to the governments of independent India and Pakistan. 

“You be the first Governor-General of independent India,” says Nehru to Mountbatten who is visibly dismayed.

It is a gesture of gratitude and appreciation from the magnanimous people of India to a person who has been working heart and soul for the past four months keeping in mind the welfare of both the countries that are being created.

Jinnah has already declared himself the Governor-General of Pakistan.

“According to the Constitution,” points out Mountbatten, “it is the Prime Minister who will have all the power; the Governor’s role is a symbolic one with no real power attached to it.”

Jinnah takes a deep puff on his pipe and declares as solemnly as a king, “I will be Governor-General and the Prime Minister will do what I tell him to do.”

Should I accept this new role?  Mountbatten asks himself.  His wife is totally against it; she has already communicated her intention to him: leave India to the Indians. 

Mountbatten says, “The Mahatma will take the decision.”

In spite of the numerous arguments and disagreements that they have had in the past four months, Mountbatten and Gandhi have grown to like each other.  Gandhi never hates anyone.  It is the British rule in India that he hated, and not the British people, Mountbatten knows that too well. 

Gandhi is happy to have Mountbatten as the first Governor-General of independent India.  It is symbolic of India’s tolerance and magnanimity.

Mountbatten is flattered by the tribute of the Mahatma.  “We’ve jailed him, we’ve humiliated him, we’ve scorned him, and he still has the greatness of spirit to do this.”  A miasma of moisture rises to Mountbatten’s eyes in spite of himself.

Flashback ends

Delhi, January 2015

The  President of America is the guest at the Republic Day celebrations.  He is aware of the intolerance that has gripped the Indian society.  So he is compelled to speak words such as: “India will succeed so long as it is not splintered on religious lines. Every person has the right to practice their religion how they choose,” and “Our nations are strongest when we see we are all God's children, all equal in his eyes.  Sometimes I have been discriminated against on the basis of the colour of my skin.”

India has a Prime Minister who may not agree.  His government erases or wishes to erase the concept of secularism from the Constitution.  The Prime Minister knows how to create magic with words.  And he has an invisible army of volunteers transmuting his magic into protean shapes of reality, into kaleidoscopic patterns that dazzle a nation’s fancy.

Jai Hind.


4 comments:

  1. Intentions & motives are important. Actions speak louder than words.
    But the 2 words have a lot of weight and cannot be ignored. That'll threaten our India.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Especially since people always see through the leader's motives and intentions. Let the PM not do anything for the minority communities. He hates them and let him do that. But let him not allow strife to be sown in the country if he is incapable of appreciating cultural and religious diversity as the American President did.

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  2. Well said Sir.but secularism is d basic structure of d constitution so suppose d 'majority' removes it from preamble,it'll alwez remain at heart of d constitution n judiciary-d upholder of our Constitution.
    Similarly socialism.same PM who sez dat nation's wealth (tijori) is for d poorest n excluded sectns cannot disown d concept of socialist nation!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. There's no alternative but accept secularism especially in a globalised world and also because India is going out asking other countries, none of which is a Hindu Rashtra, to invest in India.

      Socialism may be an outdated concept for today's world which is run by ultra capitalism. But India should not neglect the millions of its population who are still living on the edge.

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