Let sleeping issues lie

DC
Published Jan 30, 2015, 11:40 am IST
Updated Mar 29, 2019, 10:13 pm IST
Question is whether the saffron party is testing the political wind or is being goaded to revisit the subject
Republic Day Parade (Photo: AP/file)
 Republic Day Parade (Photo: AP/file)

The point to ponder over the controversy being whipped up on two words — secular and socialist — from the Constitution’s Preamble that were not seen in government advertisements taken out on Republic Day is whether we need to spend too much time on a diversion that does nothing for the people. No country as diverse as India can be anything but secular. The word “socialist”, inserted in the Constitution during the Emergency was not meant to portray any type of communism.

There is no reason to doubt that UPA government advertisements in April 2014 carried the same original Preamble as presented by the founding fathers, of whom B.R. Ambedkar was the most prominent. In that case there should be even less of a debate, although the Shiv Sena’s demand that the words be removed seems intended to keep the issue alive. The question is whether the saffron party is testing the political wind or is being goaded to revisit the subject.

 

The country would have been better off if the issue had been allowed to sleep. No party till now has objected to the country being defined as secular, even if the timing of its insertion in the Constitution, when freedoms were withdrawn, was curious. The “Liberty of thought, expression, belief, faith and worship” as well as the “Freedom of conscience and practice and propagation of religion” are guaranteed by the Constitution. We just have to be truly tied to those principles.

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