As we experience arguably the darkest days of Indian democracy it seems unavoidable that we remember Babasaheb on his 63rd death anniversary (Mahaparinirvan Diwas) with grave hearts. The idea of Democracy praised by him with futuristic socio-political and economic order based on the principles of Liberty, Equality and Fraternity (LEF) is in the dismal state today. Every moment it is compelling us to think about our present and future.
As a nation are we heading towards these values eulogized by the legendary leader? Are we committed to the ideas and thoughts of Babasaheb, which he suggested for enlightened India? Ironically, the ruling government will pay tribute to the statue of Babasaheb in the Parliament house with flowers and candles. But the question remains, do these candles shed light in gloomy days? It is very easy to celebrate or observe Babasaheb’s Mahaparinirvan Diwas in a symbolic or ritualistic way. However, the most difficult task is to practice his ideas and thoughts with commitment. Basically, it requires an open heart and compassionate humanism. It entails commitment towards constitutional morality and values cherished by him.
As Babasaheb rightly said, “The constitutional morality is not a natural sentiment. It has to be cultivated”. This cultivation should be part of our everyday life affairs and should occur through praxis based on his wisdom. The cultivation of mind should be the ultimate aim of human existence and this would the real tribute to him.
In today’s crisis, it is a responsibility of both the ruling government and all the opposition parties to practice Babasaheb’s thoughts and ideas with genuine wisdom. As Babasaheb said that, there is no concept called Nation, it has to be built. The people create the nation. It means it is the responsibility of every human being to build the nation on the principles LEF. Today, the nation building project is in deep crisis. The idea of nation and nationalism has been reduced to a narrow arena. It has been propounded on negative religious sentiment and hatred against fellow human being. There is gigantic unrest and distress in the entire country. The subsequent failures of unrealistic policies of the ruling government forcing common masses into deprived conditions. The GDP rate has gone down, it is reduced from 5% to 4.5 %. The agriculture growth rate is also slowdown by 2%. Massive recession, economic deficit, massive unemployment, and inflation, etc are the major challenges before us.
India’s recent hunger index is 103, where we have beaten our neighboring countries i.e Pakistan, Bangala Desh, and even Nepal in performing dismally. The recent inequality report published by Oxfam international showed us that there is massive income inequality. On the other hand, Mukesh Ambani is the 9th richest person at the global level with a net worth of $ 60 billion (List of Forbes-2019). The increased rate of malnourishment, a subsequent increase in hunger starvation deaths, agrarian crisis, poor public health services, privatization of the public education system, all these pitfalls creating critical questions to the idea of Equality & Liberty and Fraternity. In this miserable situation, it is very disheartening that Babasaheb has also been reduced with symbolic worship, selective appropriation of his ideas and thoughts.
The deepened crisis is demanding that the opposition parties should have played a proactive role in asking questions to the ruling government and make them more accountable towards their responsibility. On the commemoration of Babasaheb, opposition parties will have to reflect upon their roles which they are performing in today’s political and economic crisis. To strengthen democracy, all opposition parties have to set an alternative discourse for the welfare of common people. There is a need to tell the ruling government to reaffirm with promises made during election campaigns. The countrywide massive protest and campaigns could be organized against wrong policy decisions. The discourse have to be shaped in regional languages and it should be conveyed in a simplistic manner. There should be a link between regional issues and national level challenges. Without doing this, there is no way to save democracy and its spirit.
The recent assembly elections in Haryana and Maharashtra have given some hope to reaffirm our faith on democracy. The people have given a mandate to strengthening democratic ethos. Even as we all know that the entire election campaign was focused on the issue of Kashmir-370, NRC, etc, it is noteworthy that the voters have given a clear message to the ruling government that this type of narrow nationalism is not going to be survive in coming future. The BJP has failed to capture the required majority in both states. In Maharashtra, they failed to form the government. Hence, the common citizens of this country have the wisdom to respect diversity. The recent by-elections results in West Bengal have also strengthened this hope again.
Since 70 years the idea of democracy has survived in this country against all odds and challenges. The Indian constitution has a pluralistic notion to bind this cultural diversity in one thread. Though we have the best constitution in the world it has the worst implementation in today’s time. We hope that the ruling government shall imbibe the constitutional morality and will pay homage to Babasaheb who has made this great contribution to our nation. In Ambedkar’s word, “Democracy is not merely a form of government. It is primarily a mode of associated living of conjoint communicated experience. It is essentially an attitude of respect and reverence towards our fellow men”.
The great humanitarian of the world, human rights defender, highly progressive modernist, true democrat who achieved a high level of intelligence (Pradnya), with high virtues of morality (Kshil) and devoted it compassionately (Karuna) to reconstruct this nation on progressive ideas. Babasaheb’s thoughts is the existent spirit of the democracy which needs to instill into sabka sath, sabka viksa aur sabka vishwas. For it to become reality, the ruling government has to reflect upon it and think about the inclusivity, prosperity and well-being of this nation. The present crisis compels us to questions the claims of Acche Din. It gives us hope and leverage to see the possibility of change and transformation.
It would be the real tribute to Babasaheb’s legendary leadership if we practice his thoughts and ideas in our personal and public life with true resolve. He could be the only inspiration and motivation for all of us to bring enlightenment in this crisis. We wish that better days shall certainly come in 2024. With great hope… Jay Bheem!! Jay Prabuddh Bharat!!
(The views expressed above are the author’s own. Newsd neither endorses nor is responsible for the same.)