Indian National Congress declared India’s Purna Swaraj – Complete Self-rule Independent of the British Empire – on 26th January 1930. British Empire lowered its flag and the Tri-colour rose on the Red Fort on 15th Aug 1947 declaring the Independent status of India as a Free Nation. India adopted the Democratic Republic type of Government that needed a framework to go by and hence the Constitution of India replaced the Government of India Act 1935 as fundamental governing document. The Election Commission of India, an autonomous constitutional authority responsible for administering election processes in India was formed on 25th January 1950 that is celebrated as National Voters Day since 2011.
‘Republic’ means the supreme power of the people living in the country and only PUBLIC [we the people of the nation] has rights to elect their representatives as political leader to lead the country in right direction. India became that Republic country exactly 20 years after the declaration of Purna Swaraj and hence the date 26th January was chosen to adopt the Constitution with regard and reverence to Purna Swaraj! In the conclusion of his Making of India's Constitution, Justice Khanna writes -
"If the Indian constitution is our heritage bequeathed to us by our founding fathers, no less are we, the people of India, the trustees and custodians of the values which pulsate within its provisions! A constitution is not a parchment of paper; it is a way of life and has to be lived up to. Eternal vigilance is the price of liberty and in the final analysis; its only keepers are the people."
At the juncture of 8th National Voter’s Day and 69th Republic Day, India as a nation has achieved many milestones, first and foremost being continuing to be the One United Nation with all the cultural, regional, religious and other diversities, setting new records in technological advancements by launching the most advanced SLV that carried record number of satellites, fast approaching Bullet train and Hyper-loop in the pipeline, having a strong economy with a steady growth rate and prosperity with the Sensex crossing 36,000 pts – a new landmark and rising to the 3rd position in terms of GDP on the world map!
All the way through this journey of 7 decades India witnessed all the permutation combinations of political parties that promised Good Governance. Many enactments of the respective governments facilitated the Democracy to find its space to develop in the transformation from an Oppressor Ruled Regime to a Home Elected Governance. At this point when the Democracy is expected to be matured beyond the phases of crawling toddler and limping adolescence and with the promise of being the youngest country of the world by 2020, we the people – particularly youth – of India are supposed to take a stance for a long run that the world wants us to give our best to and continue progressively!
While celebrating all our triumphs, we cannot rest on our laurels as with those laurels we have also gathered some poisonous thorns in our cape and we need to remove those thorns that have the potential to tear apart our cape... sooner or later. The biggest of the thorn that is growing with all the development efforts is of Disparity – Educational, Economical and Social. Equity and Equality are different in their very nature and although ‘Equality’ might seem to offer Equal Opportunity it cannot be considered as ‘Equity’, let alone Fairness. Disparity needs to be removed by enabling and empowering the elements of society that are malnourished, deprived, underprivileged and weak, based on their socio-economical status and not on any Caste-Creed-Color-Culture criteria. And such empowerment is possible only with Education – quality education for life and skill training for livelihood – to everybody without any discrimination of socio-economic status.
Gender equality, nurturing a conscious mind, offering it every possible opportunity to develop, respecting each other’s culture, point of view and perspective, tolerance with empathy, conscious and sensible freedom of expression and commitment to contributing in Nation Building with honesty and integrity are the fundamental attributes of real Democracy, beyond the four pillars of democracy. It is our collective responsibility to keep all four pillars of democracy stand tall, strong and in place!
On this occasion, let us imbibe the words of Justice Khanna in letter and spirit and resolve to wear the patriotism on our sleeves 365 days, 24x7 and refrain from waking up on 2 or 3 occasions of the year, flood each other with so called ‘Nationalist’ messages and look dumb to the world on a Smartphone! Only then we would be defying the remarks like ‘India is not a poor country, India is a rich country, but people of India are poor...!’ If you get what it means, get back to your work and give it your best!