Posted in India

Happy Republic Day India

26 January is celebrated each year in India with great pomp, pride and ceremony, as it commemorates the day independent India gave to itself, its own Constitution, crafted with love, care and pride by India’s intellectual elite of the time – almost all educated in England in the age of ‘liberal’ Fabianism.

This idealism (with a soupçon of the French Revolution) is best reflected in the PREAMBLE which captures the very essence of the Constitution:

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 them all

FRATERNITY assuring the dignity of the individual and the unity and integrity of the Nation;

IN OUR CONSTITUENT ASSEMBLY this twenty-sixth day of November, 1949, do


So how well are these lofty sentiments understood in the raucous India of today? Let us see…

SOVEREIGN means putting the national interest above all else

SOVEREIGN DOES NOT MEAN converting India into an instrument of another’s geo-political strategy

SOCIALIST means inclusive growth

SOCIALIST DOES NOT MEAN changing the rules of play to favour the rich

SECULAR means separation of State and Religion, and equal respect for all religions

SECULAR DOES NOT MEAN engineering communal violence for electoral gain, or making the minorities feel so alienated and insecure that they turn to violence themselves

DEMOCRATIC means moving forward on a basis of consensus

DEMOCRATIC DOES NOT MEAN seeking constant confrontation with one’s political opponents

REPUBLIC means the people are supreme

REPUBLIC DOES NOT MEAN that Indians who do not even live in India can decide its destiny

JUSTICE means social, economic and political equity

JUSTICE DOES NOT MEAN over 31.3 million cases pending in Indian courts and the consequent brutalization of over 2,80,000 unconvicted undertrials languishing in Indian jails; or the summary justice meted out by ‘khap panchayats’ (village courts)

LIBERTY means the liberty of thought, expression, belief, faith and worship;

LIBERTY DOES NOT MEAN the banning of this book, or the censoring of that film, or the rewriting of history, or honour killings, or reconversions, or offering to ‘cure’ homosexuality…

EQUALITY of status and of opportunity means just that

EQUALITY DOES NOT MEAN that the top 10% hold 74% of the country’s total wealth, while the bottom 10% hold just 0.2%

FRATERNITY means assuring the dignity of the individual and the unity and integrity of the Nation

FRATERNITY does not mean blatantly racist attacks on Indian citizens from the North Eastern states, on the streets of the national capital…

Happy Republic Day, India!

Let us rediscover the Constitution we gave ourselves 65 years ago…



I am a trainer of Government Officials and Elected Representatives, specializing in the urban and municipal sector. I have also written extensively on Urban Governance, Poverty, Development, Social Accountability and Municipal Management in the Indian context, and wish to share these writings with you through this blog.

2 thoughts on “Happy Republic Day India

  1. Thank you. I have visited your site and the more such initiatives, the better for Indian democracy. As you must have noticed, I write on a variety of subjects and am trying to build up a corpus on each of the categories on my blog, so it would be a bit premature to write for other sites just yet. Please feel free to provide links to particular posts, if you feel your readers will find them useful. Regards, Nasrin Siddiqui


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