1-5 Things to Think about on India’s 67th Independence Day! — India’s Democracy, Indian Constitution, Universal Franchise, Making the Legislature Supreme and Job Reservation
Today we Indians are celebrating our 67th Independence day. Today is the day to think about things which make us feel good about our country. Today is the Day when we must talk about our own behavior which has somehow stagnated and blemished the true character of our Nation.
Some anomalies are there in every Nation’s independent years. But still if a Nation managed to walk 67 years on its own, then it’s no meagre achievement. Let’s Congratulate our Nation for giving us so much, which we can never ever be able to return in our life times.
1-5 Things to Think about on India’s 67th Independence Day! – Part 1
1) India’s Democracy: India got Independence is 1947. In 1952, India had its first Parliamentary Elections. For the first few decades, India had one party and the Election contestants were elites. From there india has reached 2013, where any citizen above 25 (30 in the case of Rajya Sabha) can aspire to contest elections.
Compare this with those countries which got Independence around the same time as India. Most saw civil wars, military dictators and anarchy. Our neighbour is an example.
Don’t you think, India’s democracy is something to be proud of?
What would have been the fate of present 20-30 years olds, if India had the same power tussle, as people had to face in dictatorial, and anarchical nations?
Should we undermine and underestimate the democratic institutions — the parliaments, the Courts etc.?
2) Indian Constitution: For one thing we Indians should congratulate ourselves. Even when our record of respecting our Constitution has remained patchy, we do recognise its existence as the source of Supreme Law in the Country. We must congratulate our politicians as well, as they have so far collectively (as political parties) respected the difficult process of amending the Constitution. The written Constitution india began with in 1950, is still more or less the same. Especially on the basic tenets our forefathers had prescribed for us.
India managed to remain accountable to people these 66 years, only because we had a Written Book of the source of Supreme Law. We may loath certain provisions of Indian Constitution — Like the Reservation SC, ST and OBCs and minorities, but that’s what our forefathers prescribed for us. And like good children we stick to everything in totality. Over all deep in our minds we assumed that something may be appear disadvantage to one Indian or a section of indians, but if it benefits our weak brother, then it may not be that bad.
India has the Biggest Written Constitution in the World. It has meticulously incorporated one of the best practices for a Nation from countries like England, USA, Ireland, Germany, Canada etc. It took two years of debates and hundreds of experts & politicians make our Constitution. We could have a non-written Constitution, like the one England has. But our Constitution makers made it Written.
Every possible Institution and practice in India which we Indians see as dependable as aspirational — like the Judiciary, legislature, UPSC emanated from Indian Constitution.
Don’t you think, Indian must be proud of their Constitution?
3) Universal Franchise: In USA, coloured people (Blacks and Browns) had to fight for the voting right up till mid 1960s. Saudi Arabia doesn’t allow its Women to vote even today. even a working woman can’t drive a car in Saudi Arabia till last month. That concession to Saudi women is given only a fortnight ago.
The moment India became Independence, it gave voting right to all Indians, irrespective of their gender, caste, creed, race and status. Critics of this statement assert that India’s situation can’t be compared to USA, as India got Independence from the Whites. No, the situation can be compared to USA, as if Indian politicians at that time had selfish motives, then they wouldn’t have gone ahead with the voting right for all. The way Pakistan never implemented abolition of Zamindari in Pakistan. India abolished the Zamindari practice, as soon as it got Independence. So let’s not underestimate India’s achievement.
Should we afford to underestimate the voting Right given to us by our Country?
4) Making the Legislature Supreme: In USA, Judiciary is Supreme. In India we have the Legislature. That’s if the Indian Parliament in its collective estimation see a certain Supreme Court ruling (the custodian of Indian Constitution) as unConstitutional, it can amend the specific Article of the Constitution by a Special Amendment Process.
Today, a section of Indians see the supremacy of the legislature as problematic. Their logic is : Judiciary keeps the politicians on path.
This is a misplaced logic. Judicial activism and Judicial decisions are always two faced. They are hailed by the beneficiaries and loathed by the defeated. And in such a scenario, every judicial decision will seem biased.
The Constitution makers gave the last right to overturn a law to the Legislature, as they wanted every judgement to be seen from the People Perspective. And who better for this task than a people representative (MP).
One thing people often overlook about Court judgements is that it works on evidence and whosoever brings better logic & evidence wins the Court battle. If that’s the sole criteria for laws in a country, then Indians living in USA or UK can’t have ‘Coloured Quota’ for their kids in schools and universities. Or India couldn’t abolish Zamindari in early 1950s (Zamindars and Kings were powerful, well connected at that time). India managed to see so many people friendly laws, like lowering the voting age from 21 to 18, Anti-defection Law, RTI, RTE etc. only because Legislature was given the opportunity to overturn the Judicial judgements.
So should we hail Judiciary and underestimate our Legislatures?
5) Job Reservation: A section of India is quite critical of Job quota to SC, STs and OBCs. The reservation is only implemented 23 years ago and we already see the participation of SC, ST and OBC in Government Jobs. Some people may hate job quota on the grounds that it’s anti-ability. This may or may not be true.
But Ability is always compared when one has level playing ground. For example, comparing the abilities of a Convent educated and a rural person, or a well resourced and a poor person, or a socially respected and socially deprived, is not logical. Even today, India’s elite are the one’s who once studied in best schools and institutions.
The question of ability to quota is also shallow as if Government would have left the criterion for entry into Higher education institutions like IITs solely on the ability to pay for it, then many lower middle class upper caste Indians couldn’t have managed to make their sons and daughters Engineers.
People do need encouragement to grow, Sometimes that encouragement is subsidised education, sometimes it’s job quota. First time a person is encouraged, he/she may not be that good, but in time he/she will become competent. That’s how humans evolve. Try tracing the history of a fiercely able and competent person, three generations back, his forefather may not be as competent as this person.
See Job reservation in India in another light. The Upper castes in India are just 21-22 percent of total population. And they have 50 percent jobs for them. Is this injustice.
Only a nation which has a share of every section of society in Governance and System, is Happy and prosperous.
Today let’s think for a while, is the criticism of Job Quota superficial?
This was the Part 1 or 1-5 Things to Think about on India’s 67th Independence Day! You may agree or disagree with these 5 points. But agreement or disagreement is not the objective here. The objective is to Think.