Sample Material of Current Public Administration Magazine
::Divide and Misrule::
- India in 2018 confronts mounting challenges of critical proportions.
These are a product of the divide and misrule of the BJP-led NDA regime in
the past three years. Never before has the country faced such intense and
devious polarisation, of the magnitude last seen at the time of Partition.
The NDA regime is recreating that situation in a calculated manner for
political gains and with an understanding that such a strategy brought them
to office. India in the 21st century is being pushed back to the medieval
age, with people being mobilised on religious lines. The Constitution, idea
of the Indian nation and the secular fabric of our society are all under
threat. The divisive ideology of the BJP is mounting a serious assault on
India’s unity and integrity.
- This divisive ideology was revealed in the statement of the Union
minister, who scornfully called secularists people ignorant of their
parentage and ancestry. Instead of subscribing to a secular identity, he
wanted people to define themselves as Hindus, Muslims, Christians, Brahmins,
Rajputs, etc. He even had the audacity to say that the Narendra Modi
government is here to remove secularism from the Constitution.
- By reducing people to their immediate, primordial identities, the
minister went against the very essence of the Constitution which recognises
the individual citizen as an Indian regardless of religious, caste or
linguistic affiliation. Strangely, the top leadership of the BJP and NDA
government did not utter a word against the minister for his disparaging
remarks. It was only when the matter was raised in Parliament by the
Opposition that the minister expressed regret. Thereafter, the government
dissociated itself from the minister’s statement. The fact that the
government did not come forward on its own to defend the Constitution speaks
volumes about its understanding of the ideals of the nation. These ideals
are ingrained in the Constitution; the assault mounted on it is indicative
of the gathering crisis confronting the nation.
- Let us not forget that during the NDA government headed by Atal Bihari
Vajpayee, attempts were made to review the Constitution. K R Narayanan, the
then President of India, responded sharply. He said: “Let us examine if the
Constitution has failed us or we have failed the Constitution.” It forced
the then NDA regime to abandon the idea and instead opt for a commission to
review the working of the Constitution. We need to be inspired by this rich
legacy when the Constitution is under threat from diabolical forces
masquerading as nationalists.
- Babasaheb Ambedkar, in his historic speech in the Constituent Assembly
on November 25, 1949, said that “however good a Constitution may be, it is
sure to turn out bad because those who are called to work it, happened to be
a bad lot. However bad a constitution may be, it may turn out to be good if
those who are called to work it happened to be a good lot”. By now, it has
become clear that the Constitution is in the hands of a bad lot. They are
asking the people to accept a Constitution based on the Manusmriti in place
of the present republican Constitution.
- Apart from the Constitution, the institution of Parliament is being
undermined. The law-making process and the democratic method of governance
based on deliberation, dialogue and consultation has been irreversibly
compromised by declaring many bills as money bills and, thereby, depriving
the Rajya Sabha of the opportunity to scrutinise those proposals. Never have
we witnessed such a situation wherein the money bill route is being taken to
bypass deliberation, consultation, dialogue and better scrutiny. Ambedkar
famously said that Parliament belonged to the Opposition. But unfortunately,
the space for Opposition to debate and discuss legislative proposals is
being shrunk. Besides, the well-established convention of referring bills to
Parliamentary Standing Committees for scrutiny is being dispensed with, with
the objective of diluting critical examination. In undermining Parliament,
the present leadership is negating the people’s will and mandate. In other
words, it is an assault on democracy. This constitutes a serious challenge.
India, known for a million mutinies, would explode if such challenges are
not mitigated by a full flowering of democracy. What we need is more
democracy, more freedom and less restrictions.
- The country is already suffering from convulsions because of cow
vigilantism, “love jihad” and the profiling of people primarily based on
religion. History is being distorted to promote divisive agendas. The Mumbai
High Court, in a judgement in the early 1960s, had observed that when the
ruling class uses history as its handmaiden it would spell undesirable
consequences for the society as a whole. The Sangh Parivar is spreading
social obscurantism by questioning the theories of gravity and evolution to
promote a communal fascist agenda.
- The alarming consequences of neoliberalism, imposed almost three decades
ago, are now manifesting in the growing income inequality, rising levels of
corruption in the corporate sector and monopolisation of quality education
by a few. This is a serious challenge to the Constitution, which celebrates
liberty, equality, fraternity and secularism.
- The growing disaffection of people against the present regime is
unmistakable. Let us follow the method of education, organisation and
agitation to deepen public reasoning so that the mounting challenges faced
by India today can be addressed.
(Source: The Indian Express Opinion by D. Raja)
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