A republic without public participation becomes a mere relic of its original self

It is one of those socmedia thingies, but it is bang on – a republic without public participation becomes a mere relic of its original self. Since socmedia at one level is a mirror of the nation’s contemporary discourse, those in authority and pre-eminent positions can ignore this at their own peril. Those in governance need to understand this phenomenon that the basic and fundamental rights of citizenry guaranteed by the Constitution of India have to be upheld by the executive. President Ram Nath Kovind in his address to the nation on the eve of the Republic Day made this point sagaciously: he argued – Disagree with other views, but don’t mock a citizen’s dignity. A disciplined and morally upright nation is built by disciplined and morally upright institutions. The significance of tolerance and the need to respect everyone’s views without hurting any individual’s dignity needs to be paramount. That is the idea, ideal and idiom of India as envisaged by those who fought for freedom and equality, which is now under threat and should be a wake up call for one and all. Imagine conducting an Asean Summit in the capital – a showpiece event with 10 heads of state in attendance – and the lumpen proletariat is running riot on the fringes of the national capital damaging school buses where children and teachers are seen cowering in fear. Is this the image of modern day India that we want the global audience to see, hotheads running wild indulging in arson and rioting. Cinema allows you poetic licence, the Supreme Court has cleared its release, it is incumbent on state governments to ensure security and allow the movie to be shown peacefully. State governments like Haryana have become errant, the collapse repeatedly of law and order now thrice in succession in the state – Sant Rampal siege, Ram Rahim mishap when Panchkula was on fire and now episodic violence in Gurgaon – suggests that the malaise is deep rooted and requires surgical treatment. Unfortunately, be it Bhima Koregaon in Maharashtra or Mehsana, Gurgaon or DND, the lumpens have a free run when it comes to sensitive issues when the long arm of the law should have a vice-like grip on the situational construct. The President in his speech has actually referred to the ongoing tamasha – where one can disagree with another viewpoint – or even with a historical context without mocking a fellow citizen’s dignity and personal space; this is fraternity in action. India has a history of long and deep fault lines, we have seen many temblors of different kinds – communal and caste divides have determined our modern history. Invasive and intrusiveness doesn't hold, inclusion does; that is what India is all about. Its majoritarianism preaches ‘Sarva Dharma Sama Bhava’ and allows space for all religions, castes and creeds. Let us not tamper insidiously with the social fabric of this great nation. Let us instead focus on growth and development and bringing fruits of economic prosperity to the last man standing without trampling on his rights. Curb the lumpish ignoble, he has no space to practice ossified and retrograde mores in modern India. Banish these supremacists, don’t encourage them.