“We the people of India, having solemnly resolved to constitute India into a sovereign, socialist, secular, democratic republic and to secure to all its citizens JUSTICE; social, economic and political, liberty; of thought, expression, belief, faith and worship.
Equality of status and of opportunity and to promote among all its citizens;
Fraternity assuring the dignity of the individual and the unity and integrity of the nation.
4th August, 2012 – London Olympics coverage in The Telegraph quotes the PBOR (person below officer rank), Vijay Kumar expressing his gratitude and thanks to his village and the state of Himachal Pradesh on winning the silver medal in the shooting event.
But for the national anthem and a cursory update and ‘likes’ in the Facebook, I took very little pride in Vijay’s winning a medal and instead posed my son with a career option. “Start shooting”. He was startled with raised eye-brows not at the tyranny of the proposition but getting confused at opting between a ‘shooter’ and a ‘writer’. It was only a week back, I had bought him the Chetan Bhagat series (discounted at Starmarks at 50%) asking him to brace up, to become a writer of Chetan’s worth which required him to lodge all his Roald Dahl and Ruskin Bond books away from my sight, but to be put to a good use by his mother for innumerable gifting occasions throughout the year.
My wife had a dry humour to offer, ‘thank God, we do not have a daughter, else you would have asked her to follow Sunny Leone’s steps”.
Right from the formative days during my schooling, the social science was but rote of factual dreams and aspirations of the forefathers of the constitution, who had incorporated the best from around the world in weaving the charter of citizenship by infusing the grandiose of diversity that my country has to offer when it comes to geography, social web, conventions, cultures and lifestyles. Little did they realize that the marauding of their dreams and mauling of their aspirations would result not from the Constitution, thus framed, but our inability to accept the spirit and defying to practice. It only about the rights, and when it comes to the duties it’s meant for my neighbour.
At the face of regular regional discontents across the country, where every geography is getting re-defined largely on account of domicile dominance, linguistic liberties and right to livelihood, it is not only an open threat to the federal structure and composition but a matter, strong enough contender for review by a prudent, apolitical and an unbiased quartet of historians, social commentators, educationists and thinkers. To keep the issue of patriotism at bay, for the sake of eluding a wave of popular uprising which may bring forth sweeping changes in the outlook and definition of citizenship is merely prolonging the issue and bequeathing the virus as a legacy to the next generation, who are rarely ready to usurp the responsibility of being a citizen than being euphoric to reap the rewards of being one.
Across the ever increasing number of states within the union territory of India, I am yet to come across any past or present Chief Minister of any Indian state who may claim to be a ‘son-of-the-soil’ as rhetoric to election rallies but is a rank ‘outsider’ as I see it for myself. It’s the Bengali in West Bengal, an Odiya in Odisha, a Bihari in Bihar and a Maharashtrian in Maharashtra, the list goes on. Why won’t I accept a Marwari as a Chief Minister for West Bengal or why don’t I come across any political party offering CM candidature to a Bihari for Gujarat?
To my unstinted mind, the dilemma is not between denial and rejection but the acceptance of the truth which surpasses all dreams and aspirations. The right and the duty to defend the sovereignty and the borders do not depend on domicile status, the pride and the cheer for Sachin, Sehwag and Dhoni echoes beyond Maharashtra, Haryana and Jharkhand, if an issue of ‘corruption’ binds the nation in a popular mandate to question and seek; what and why stops us from redefining nationalism, once and for all?
For a 67 year old independent nation, amendments to the constitution remains the prerogative of the parliament benches, a host of who have not even seen the school building in their lives not because they do not exist but for the fact that the politics is the chosen profession of ignorant and illiterate; for the path to the parliament has no entry barrier when it comes to education in the truest of sense. And, it comes to me as no surprise that it has never been a manifesto with any political party seeking popular mandate, for it is easy to rule the illiterate than to govern the educated!
The right to education should be our foremost right as a citizen. The right to education is far more superior alternative to the right to livelihood, for education arms us for a life while the right to livelihood makes us prey to begging for a life and in the process filling the coffers for the patrons to corruption. It should be a something in the lines of the Polio eradication campaign. A mass hysteria, a delightful uprising, an unquestioned participation from every one of us is demanding the spreading of education. The day, we start deciding between the right and the wrong, empowered with education, a certain Vijay Kumar would start thanking his nation first and then his village and the state.