DC Edit | At 74, Republic is strong; democracy needs work

If the founding fathers of the modern Indian republic were to be imagined as giving us a progress report, it would not be impossible to imagine what they would say or how they would appraise the state of the nation today. They would be proud of the strong and robust sovereign republic of India.

They would be equally proud of how we have been able to guide our country and society through these seven-plus decades — from the 1950s onwards to the early 2020s. They would be delighted at how we have worked hard and kept continually at removing the scourge of caste discrimination, and despite the work that we still need to do, how we have put a premium on social justice.

They would be proud of our economy and growth; they would marvel at the cities we have created and the wealth of our top and upper middle classes. Fine, they would scoff a little at the dismantling of the socialist setup, but would commend us on our welfare programmes and, perhaps, even smilingly condone the electoral sops and populism.

One can sense that in their collective appraisal of us today, they would be as wise, considerate, knowledgeable and diverse in their opinions as when they all first met to discuss the defining features of our country. They would look at the preamble, product of their thought, a labour of love, and feel contented and satisfied that in the end, “we, the people”, still prevail.

They would look at the modern reconstruction of a civilisational-level temple of religious and cultural relevance in Ayodhya, and the journey it took to get here, with both pride and a tinge of despondency, but in the end, commend us in the accepting spirit of their wisdom, possibly assuring themselves that all is well that ends well.

They would debate fiercely about the value and health of secularism, the modern versus the ancient, their contradictions and their potential for fusion, the need to hold on to the wisdom and ethos of the past millennia, yet, abandon the vestigial, even of yesterday, in our focus on tomorrow.

They would feel the naturally confident urge to carve a new society and economy without colonial hangovers to be applause-worthy, but would warn us against tinkering with the fabric of harmony and brotherhood too much in this mood of the moment. The rise of Indic culture and its revival would find them happy, but they would remind us to be on guard against excesses.

The founding fathers would also tell us that we, too, must, like them, rethink the true value and meaning of the most precious gift they gave us — democracy. They would remind us that it is never a completed project, that eternal vigilance is the price to pay for it and that we must honour and safeguard it with all that we have.

They would laud us for what we have achieved and congratulate us for making India what it is today, but like a true mirror, be unafraid to show the scars and creases, and like loving ancestors, give us strength and inspiration to accept our faults and start efforts towards addressing them.

Yes, the founding fathers would be proud of our republic, and ask us to work harder on our democracy.

( Source : Deccan Chronicle )
Next Story