Perspective Politics

The Art of being Indian

On this Republic Day, read about how we need to revive the art of 'Being Indian'

A new year, a new beginning. Before we begin with the first Perspective post of the year, wishes all its readers a very Happy Republic Day! May the democratic ideals of justice, liberty, equality and fraternity be a lasting beacon for our progress and development for centuries to come.

It is finally that day of the year where we as a nation celebrate the adoption and enactment of the constitution. The constitution, which took 2 years, 11 months and 18 days to draft (In contrast, the Japanese constitution was drafted in just a week) is one of the unique characteristics of Indian democracy. It is the lengthiest and the most detailed constitution in the world, often labelled as ‘a lawyer’s paradise’ – Ivor Jennings. It sublimely highlights the fundamental rights, duties, roles of various organs of the government, demarcation of powers of these organs and the way forward; goals and objectives to be achieved by us as a nation. Indeed, it is an integral part of our country and the people.

India is one of those handful nations in the world which has had the fortune of harbouring a democratic system of government only. A large proportion of nations across the world had to experience instability and chaos before a functional democratic system could flourish. Somewhere along these 70 years of independence, we the people seem to have long forgotten the art of cherishing democratic values we enjoy.

How do we revive this art?

Be aware, be vigilant

“When good people in any country cease their vigilance and struggle, then evil men prevail.”

Pearl S. Buck, American Writer

Awareness and vigilance are crucial in a democracy. The people shouldn’t be afraid of the government. But it is the latter who must fear the former, especially when the latter is not actively working towards its purpose.

The government, in a democracy, is an institution which must represent the views and beliefs of the people. However, there are times when this institution strays away from its purpose. When this happens, the responsibility of bringing it back on track falls on the shoulders of the people. However, the people can fulfil this role only when they remain aware of what is going on in the country.

‘The pain can be treated, only when we know about the pain.’

Be active, be proactive

The idea of democracy was built on participation of people in the decision-making process of the country. We participate by voting during elections. It is at the time of elections when the people are placed on a mantel and are showered with all the attention which was lacking during the tenure of the government.

Should our importance be limited to just election time? Absolutely not. As aforementioned, we need to be aware. Once we know about the pain, we need to treat it. We need to go a step forward and ‘be proactive.

We question the doctor and hold him/her to every word spoken and the actions taken by him/her. Why can’t we have the same attitude when it comes to electing governments and holding them equally responsible during ‘non-election’ periods? Question, over and over. Make them accountable. Replace them if they refuse to listen. The day we do this, is the day India truly becomes a democratic nation.

Finally, be strong and be grateful

Fulfilling the above-mentioned responsibilities requires strength. Just like any democracy, change takes time; positive change even more so. Perseverance is imperative when change is taking place and we need to be strong during this period. We must hold ourselves together and continue moving forward, and eventually we shall achieve our goals.

Nevertheless, we must not become blindsided by this change, as a country. We must always remain aware of the benefits and advantages of living in a democratic system as fostered in India today. When we are grateful, we cherish. When we cherish, we strive to protect. Hence, gratitude is essential if we the people wish to continue enjoying these political and social values.

Hence, in conclusion I wish you, the reader, a very Happy Republic Day once more. Let us remain united through our mutual demand for protecting values and ideals as set by our forefathers all those years ago. It is only matter of time, before Indians realize the responsibility which they must live up to as Indians. When the time comes, we will be leaping distances like never before.

Priyamvad Rai

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