By: Salil Saroj
The popular US President Abraham Lincoln, while defining the Republic, had said that the Republic is the rule of the people for the people and by the people, that is, the people are paramount in the end. The ruler who is elected to rule does not become a dictator by misusing his power, so all the possibilities of selecting and removing it have been entrusted to the public. Abraham Lincoln said this in the context of America, but all the countries of the world have adopted it in some form. There are many disparities in language, culture, society between India and America, but both America and India are moving forward to grasp the strong foundations of the Republic and enable other nations to become republics. The Indian Republic has less than 8 decades old, but in these 8 decades, many of India’s neighboring countries such as Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Afghanistan, and Myanmar have been cursed by religious violence, dictatorship, ethnic genocide or dynasty politics, but India as a responsible republic, succeeded. After all, India too adopted a republic inspired by England, but how it came to be the largest and strongest republic in the world, it is a matter of information. In making it, the study of what our ancestors and freedom fighters took care of is absolutely necessary.
The Constitution was adopted by the Indian Constituent Assembly on 26 November 1949, and came into effect on 26 January 1950 with a democratic government system, completing the country’s transition towards becoming an independent republic. 26 January was chosen as the Republic day because it was on this day in 1929 when Declaration of Indian Independence (Purna Swaraj) was proclaimed by the Indian National Congress as opposed to the Dominion status offered by the British Regime. India achieved independence from British Raj on 15 August 1947 following the Indian independence movement. The independence came through the Indian Independence Act 1947 (10 & 11 Geo 6 c 30), an Act of the Parliament of the United Kingdom that partitioned British India into the two new independent Dominions of the British Commonwealth (later Commonwealth of Nations). India obtained its independence on 15 August 1947 as a constitutional monarchy with George VI as head of state and the Earl Mountbatten as governor-general. The country, though, did not yet have a permanent constitution; instead its laws were based on the modified colonial Government of India Act 1935. On 29 August 1947, a resolution was moved for the appointment of Drafting Committee, Drafting Committee was appointed to draft a permanent constitution, with Dr B R Ambedkar as chairman. While India’s Independence Day celebrates its freedom from British Rule, the Republic Day celebrates the coming into force of its constitution. A draft constitution was prepared by the committee and submitted to the Constituent Assembly on 4 November 1947. The Assembly met, in sessions open to public, for 166 days, spread over a period of two years, 11 months and 18 days before adopting the Constitution. After many deliberations and some modifications, the 308 members of the Assembly signed two hand-written copies of the document (one each in Hindi and English) on 24 January 1950. Two days later which was on 26 January 1950, it came into effect throughout the whole nation. On that day began Dr. Rajendra Prasad’s first term of office as President of the Indian Union. The Constituent Assembly became the Parliament of India under the transitional provisions of the new Constitution. This date is celebrated in India as the Republic Day.
India is a nation full of immense possibilities and its greatest strength is its diversity. Here all kinds of people have helped this country to become a complete republic in the world. This land has been raised by Gautam Buddha, Mahavir, Guru Nanak, Bhikaji Cama, Henry Louis Vivian Derozio, Mahatma Gandhi, Veer Kunwar Singh, Bhagat Singh, Maulana Abul Kalam, Khan Abdul Gaffar Khan. The winds have united the unity of diversity and in every odd situation this thing has proved like a panacea, whether it is the 1971 war against Pakistan, whether it is trying to get rid of hunger, whether to save its identity in the North East, whether it is the urge to save the lives of the people of Chennai and Mumbai while drowning in the rain or the indomitable will to bring justice to Nirbhaya. Every time the people of every caste, religion, gender, community have taken up this task together. AIIMS, IIM, IIT all over the world have presented India as a brand which is unmistakable and impenetrable in its working style. Our literacy rate has almost tripled since independence. There has been a complete change in the standard of living of the people. We have emerged as a nation full of natural resources. We are among the countries with the lowest heat emissions and most forest protection. We became a food-rich nation in the 73 years of independence and are helping other countries to get rid of hunger today. Today, we are the pioneers of an organization like ISRO in the world, helping to launch artificial satellites of other countries. We are providing young and cheap work force for the whole world and the whole world considers Indian engineers, doctors, software technologies to be the best. Today, we are leading all the forums of the world including South America, Africa, and Asia. The nation, which was conceived by the lovers of this great country, has been increasing inch by inch towards fulfilling their dreams.
But isn’t this all nothing but self-obsession! Despite such advances, a large part is bound to sleep on the pavements on an empty stomach every night. Young educated children are wandering to get work according to their ability. Some communities in the country are forced to live under the shadow of fear. The condition of government hospitals in the name of health is not hidden from anyone. In the name of government regulations, the public feels deceived. All kinds of misconduct are being spread in the name of votes. Even after 70 years, the issue of election appears to be bread, cloth and houses. Due to the increasing violence towards women, the country’s capital Delhi has been given the name of “Rape Capital”. Our water, forest, land, air have all been polluted. We have not been able to get away from the paraphernalia of hypocrisy even today and read the news of the imprisonment of a hypocrite every day. Our elders are struggling to live a good and honored life. Even today girls are crying for their rights. The children of class 10 are unable to do the mathematics of the second class. Our better fruits, flowers, vegetables, clothes, water, petrol are all exported to another nation and we are left with wasted items as second citizens in our own country.
So where are we? What were the dreams of our freedom fighters? Did our braves shed blood in this belittled hope?
We have yet to achieve more than we have achieved as a republic. The nation is not built only with skyscrapers, but also with the wishes of every citizen of the country. It is not possible for anyone to keep everyone happy but Republic is a game of numbers. If a consensus can be reached for the maximum population, then in reality it is the victory of the Republic. The government is taking many decisions in every way which are for the betterment of the people and the upliftment of this nation. The public should discharge their duties, along with their authority. No matter how difficult the situation has been, the Indian Republic has remained firm like the pole star. The reason for its existence is the deep reverence and belief in people’s heart towards this system. As long as this belief remains, no one can obstruct it from moving forward. The responsibility of maintaining this trust rests with both the government and the public and its basic mantra is just one
“Saare Jahan Se Achchha Hindostaan Hamara,
Hum Bulbule hain Iski, Ye Gulsitaan Hamara.”
(The writer is an Executive Officer of Lok Sabha Secretariat, Parliament of India, New Delhi)