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25 January, 2021 07:09:22 PM


Republic Day of India and democracy

Experts believe that the long 72 year old balanced democratic culture has moved away from its previous position. Some political analysts think that the rise of conservative nationalist political philosophy is much greater than ever.
Majhar Mannan
Republic Day of India and democracy

The history of Indian Republic began on 26 January, 1950 and a new constitution was introduced. With the introduction of this constitution, India became a secular and democratic state.

Now India has a system of government that is considered to be the largest democratic system in the world. But communal riots, caste-based riots, Naxalism and militant terrorism are still considered as major problems in India. India is in conflict with China over ownership of several territories. Freed from the shackles of British rule, India drafted its own constitution and continued a long journey of democracy for 72 years. The late Prime Minister Indira Gandhi amended the Indian constitution and declared India a socialist and secular state. India's socialist economy continued for almost 30 years from the inception of the constitution. Is India entirely successful in the question of liberal democracy? Socio-economic inequality is still evident in India and some terrorist activities have spread to different parts of the country which has violated human rights to some extent. From Kashmir to the northeast, sabotage is on the rise, not declining.

Parliamentary democracy has developed in independent India and after 1977, the rule of multi-party government started in India. Democracy is a system of government in which every citizen has equal voting rights in policy- making or election of government representatives. A special aspect of Indian democracy is that the media and newspapers have the opportunity to express their views freely. There are still some brave newspapers, radio and TV stations who are always steadfast in revealing the truth. The supreme court of India can function independently and India has a variety of democratic elements. However, experts believe that India's democracy has cracked at least a little bit in the last 20-30 years. India is country where the political picture is mixed. However, it would not be unreasonable to say that Indian democracy has stumbled over the Kashmir issue. The Kashmir crisis has raised many questions and it has scrabbled the tradition of Indian democracy. Article 370 of the constitution of India was the special safeguard of Jammu and Kashmir but debate escalated when article 370 was repealed in parliament. The constitution of India in 1949 gave a special status to Jammu and Kashmir and with that dignity they could maintain their own sense of individuality. There was a special kind of autonomy there and through it they could exercise their rights beautifully. Article 35 (A) was added to the constitution in 1954, which was a great shield for them. Now, that special right or dignity has been revoked. Liberal democratic values, good governance, non-communal policy, reflection of multi opinions, religious coexistence which India has been practicing for 71 long years has stumbled today due to some controversial decisions. Many have also questioned the value of Indian democracy in Kashmir issue.

India is a multi-cultural, multi-lingual and multi-meditative country where the culture of one region has no resemblance to the culture of another region. India is a country made up of different races and tribes where coexistence has been going well for a long time. Despite the vast differences in ethics, religion, culture and philosophy of thought, India had a tradition of democratic culture that was somewhat tarnished on the Kashmir issue. However, experts believe that India's democratic philosophy in the electoral system is still at a satisfactory level. Democracy is an essential prerequisite for a free and fair election and in terms of election, Indian democracy is still moving with dignity. India is a large country with a large population and its constitution has a special shield for people of all walks of life according to caste, religion and culture. The purpose is one and that is to maintain Indian unity under a democratic culture. Efforts to maintain a balanced democracy in India are always noticeable. As a federal country, the constitution of India has promised certain privileges for certain states and this has been done to continue the democratic process. Experts believe that the long 72 year old balanced democratic culture has moved away from its previous position. Some political analysts think that the rise of conservative nationalist political philosophy is much greater than ever.

There are some safeguards in the constitution of India to continue the democratic culture and rights of the people, and if there are any breaches in them, it will be difficult to hold democratic unity and tradition. There are different views on democracy in India and many people think that democracy in India is mainly election oriented. They also think that the main spirit of democracy is missing in many cases. Some political analysts say that a kind of corporate culture has been introduced in the name of democratic culture where traditional democracy has suffered a bit. Democracy of a country is definitely linked to the human rights of that country. There is nothing new to be said about the human rights violations in the Kashmir issue. That bright side of Indian democracy is no longer as bright as it once was. The preamble to the constitution describes India as a sovereign, socialist, secular, democratic and republic state. Article 19 of the constitution of India deals with freedom of speech and article 30 deals with the rights of minorities. According to article 226, the High Court may issue various articles to enforce fundamental rights.

The first session of the constituent assembly lasted from 9-23 December in 1946 and on 13 December Jawaharlal Nehru presented the objective resolution. The objective resolution includes justice for all the people of India, economic and political opportunities, equality of law for all, freedom of speech, freedom to worship and a bulwark for the underprivileged. There are seven basic aspects of Indian state structure. They are: 1. parliamentary democracy 2. federal state 3. republic 4. written constitution 5. secular state 6. public welfare state 7. member of the Commonwealth. The constitution that came into force in 1950 contained 395 articles with preambles and 8 schedules. According to the constitution of India, the Supreme Court is the highest court and the Panchayat is the lowest court. Articles 36 to 51 of the fourth chapter of the constitution speak of the establishment of socio-economic rights. According to article 326, all citizens irrespective of race, religion and caste have been granted the right to vote. The word 'secular' has been added to the preamble through the 42nd amendment to the constitution. Secularism means that the state will not have its own religion and the state will not be biased towards any religion and all religions will have equal status with the state. The demolition of Babri mosque in Ayodhya on December 6, 1992 challenged Indian secularism. India is mentioned in the preamble of the constitution as a democratic state but the constitution does not specify what kind of democracy will be established in India. The makers of the constitution were interested in expanding economic and social democracy along with political democracy in India. However, in India, democratic government is elected by adult vote every five years. The first election in India was held in 1952 and the subsequent elections were free, fair and neutral. The common people of the country spontaneously participate in this election and elect representatives. India is mentioned in the preamble of the constitution as a republic and a republic is a kind of state where the people have the sovereign power and the philosophy of equality is the key word.

India is a republic because the ruler is elected by the people and the ruler can be impeached if he does anything unconstitutional. The constitution of India calls for the establishment of justice through a harmonious arrangement between the interests of all classes of people. The boundaries of justice in India are not limited to the courts but extend to the socio-economic and political spheres. Social justice means treating all citizens equally, regardless of race, religion or caste. Articles 15 and 17 of the constitution have spoken of social justice and article 39 deals with economic justice. The preamble to the constitution speaks of political justice. However, due to the increase in economic inequality in India for various reasons, real justice has not been established yet. The constitution of India mentions 6 fundamental rights and article 19 relates to freedom of speech but this freedom is not limitless, it has been brought under reasonable restrictions. The constitution places great emphasis on equality, but due to economic inequality, that equality has not been established in the real sense. Equality, freedom and justice spread brotherhood among Indians. In India, people of different languages, races, religions and cultures live and a kind of brotherhood can be noticed among them. Article 51(A) of the constitution deals with basic duties of the citizens and which is essential for establishing the concept of brotherhood. According to some experts, due to electoral politics in India, the sense of brotherhood has somewhat cracked. Article 17 of the fundamental rights establishes the dignity of the individual and every citizen can appeal directly to the Supreme Court to protect his rights and dignity. National unity and solidarity is essential to protect the rights and dignity of the individual. Economic development of a country is not possible without national unity and solidarity. However, separatism, ethnic terrorism and a lack of proper democratic practices occasionally hamper India's national unity. Six fundamental rights are mentioned in the constitution of India and the duties of citizens have been added to it through the 42nd amendment. The right to equality has been declared as the first and foremost fundamental right in the constitution. Article 14 states that every citizen of Indian territory shall be equal before the law. Article 19(1) ensures the right to freedom of speech. The constitution of India did not directly recognize the freedom of the press yet newspapers enjoy this freedom. However, according to the verdict of a case, the right to freedom of speech includes freedom of the press. This freedom of speech and expression still strengthens the foundations of Indian democracy. 

The writer is Assistant Professor, B A F Shaheen College Kurmitola
Dhaka Cantonment. The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own.


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Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
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Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman
Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

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