• Defend The Indian Constitution! Defend Diversity, Dialogue, Democracy!

    Forum for the Defence of the Indian Constitution

    January 10, 2020

    For several weeks now, the people of India have hit the streets in a historic protest across the country against the Citizenship Amendment Act and the proposed National Register of Citizens – both instruments of imposing fascism on India. Millions, cutting across religious, regional and caste identities have turned out in militant opposition to the Narendra Modi regime’s attempt at imposing its version of the infamous Nuremberg Laws – which disenfranchised Jews, blacks and gypsies- in Nazi Germany.

    The combination of CAA and NRC is aimed at isolating and persecuting India’s Muslim community but also depriving millions of poor Hindus, Adivasis and others of their basic rights as Indian citizens. Even more fundamentally they are an open assault on the Indian Constitution that clearly gives basic rights of equality, religion and freedom to all Indian citizens.

    The Indian Constitution, drafted under the chairmanship of Dr B.R.Ambedkar, the great Indian freedom fighter, philosopher and social revolutionary enshrines the principles and rights emerging from democratic struggles around the entire globe. For nearly 70 years it has served the Republic of India well, providing guarantees of basic individual rights as also a federal framework binding very diverse ethic, linguistic and regional groups together under one national umbrella.

    The RSS, BJP and other members of the Sangh Parivar have however never accepted the supremacy of the Indian Constitution, considering it too ‘western’ a document – and that too one bearing the stamp of Dr Ambedkar – who personally challenged the Hindu caste-system all his life.  What they would prefer is the imposition of the ancient Manusmriti, which openly advocates subjugation of Dalits, ‘shudras’ and women as part of the social order.

    Unfortunately, India’s post-Independence political, bureaucratic and social elite toodidnot care very much for core values of the Indian Constitution or the need to defend and spread them widely. Their own authoritarian impulses, drawn from the Hindu caste system as well asrampant class inequality, led them to sabotage Constitutional principles routinely.

    The Sangh Parivar has built upon this historic hostility of the Indian elites towards the Constitution to try and push through nothing less than fascist measures to terrorise India’s religious minorities and establish a permanent hegemony of upper caste Hindus on the modern Indian nation.

    Since the coming of the BJP to power in 2014 the pretence of being ‘secular’ has also been thrown overboard completely. Those running the country have openly declared their intention to convert this country into a ‘Hindu Rashtra’, where Muslims, Christians, Jains, Buddhists indeed every religious minority will either have to ‘reconvert’ or live as second-class citizens forever.

    This is being compounded by ‘Aryanisation’ of the culturally diverse Indian nation, made up of thousands of ethnic, linguistic, regional and religious identities, through measures such as declaring the Gita as the ‘national scripture’ and the imposition of Hindi.

    The steep social hierarchy the Parivar wants to impose on India already has its counterpart in the economy,  where pro-rich policies in the last two decades have pauperised the bulk of the Indian population, while creating a tiny minority of very wealthy people.

    The federal nature of India, one of the key principles enshrined in the Indian Constitution, is also under attack as the forces of big capital push for a ‘homogenisation’ of everything from tax collection to laws, that were once the prerogative of the state governments. The Sangh Parivar believes in a highly centralised Indian nation-state to be run like an Empire from Delhi, with the various states of India reduced to mere vassals.

    Let us make no mistake about it. The Constitution of India is what helps India constitute its diverse components into one functional reality with its principles of human rights, federalism and separation of powers of key democratic institutions. Take away the Constitution and its values and this prison-house of castes, nationalities, linguistic and class groups called India would fall like a pack of cards.

    Babasaheb’s Constitution is also the most important legacy emerging from the Indian national movement against British colonialism, without which it will only be a matter of time before global imperialism swallows the subcontinent once again through various intrigues.

    As the 70th anniversary of India being declared a Republic approaches on 26 January 2020 – we call upon all Indian citizens to pledge to defend the Indian Constitution and ensure the future of India as a genuinely modern, democratic, federal and secular nation. Read and understand the Constitution, translate and popularise its contents, mobilise to protect it from the relentless assault by those who want to establish a fascist dictatorship.

    The time has come to launch yet another struggle for national independence, in which the first battle will be over the sanctity of the Indian Constitution, its objectives and the values it represents!


    First published in Forum for the Defence of the Indian Constitution. Republished here from Counterview.

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