Republic Day 2022 in the 75th Year of Independence
India gained its Independence from British rule on August 15, 1947. On January 26, 1950 the people of India gave themselves a Constitution. It gave them promise of Justice, Liberty, Equality and Fraternity in a Secular Democratic Republic.
This is the significance of the day in our national calendar.
The Constitution prescribes universal adult franchise and includes a comprehensive charter of rights and duties, including the duty to protect the heritage of our composite culture and to promote the spirit of fraternity.
This has nurtured and sustained Indian democracy for seven decades and through 17 general elections. We are today reckoned to be the largest democracy in the world and are proud of being so.
Ours is a vast and diverse land peopled by citizens of different backgrounds, speaking different languages, and professing different beliefs. Almost 20 percent of our people belong to religious minorities.
In recent years we have experienced emergence of trends and practices that dispute the well established principles of civic nationalism and interpose a new and imaginary practice of cultural nationalism. It seeks to present an electoral majority in the guise of a religious majority and thereby obtain political power at all costs. It wants to distinguish citizens on the basis of their faith, give vent to intolerance, insinuate ‘Otherness’, and promote disquiet and insecurity. Some of its recent manifestations are chilling and reflect poorly on our claim to be governed by Rule of Law.
Why have segments of opinion in a plural society, with a long tradition of accommodation of diversity, decided to question it in favour of a unilateral and distorted reading of its past?
These trends need to be contested legally and politically.