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Saturday, December 9, 2023

Bharatmata: the Maa of civilizations, protecting her child – Republican Bharat

A mother protects her child and with time the child starts protecting her mother, but please imagine what would be the case when the identity of both the mother and child is the same i.e. the name of both is the same.

Do you know that there is a black bronze sculpture that is 210-centimeter in height and was installed on the lawn of the Supreme Court on February 20, 1978? It portrays a lady sheltering a child with an open book having the image of beam balance. The sculpture was architected by Shri Chintamoni Kar. And he described, in these words, the message that the sculpture conveys:

‘Mother India sheltering young Republic represented by the symbol of a child upholding the law of the country shown in the form of an open book, with the symbol of the balance representing law and justice.”

However, 64 lawyers, led by Mr. Santosh Chatterjee, former standing counsel to the Government of India, submitted a memorandum to the then Union Law Minister Shanti Bhushan arguing:

“The statue is supposedly a symbol and inspiration for the highest institution of justice, the Supreme Court… The child is nondescript, but the mother’s resemblance to Mrs. Gandhi is discernible even to the ordinary eye not trained for appreciating the nuances of sculpture.” The symbolism is ‘perverse’ and the theme “stinks of the mother-and-son cult built up during the Emergency.”

Later, the lawyers after becoming more informed, submitted another memorandum conceding that as the design of the sculpture was finalized in 1969, the design was not made to give a sense of the Indira-Sanjay mother-son duo.

However, they maintained that as the execution of work for establishing the sculpture was carried out during the emergency, it conveys that Mrs. Gandhi is directing the judge, sitting under her lap, on how to impart justice.

Let us on this January 26, 2023, discuss what the sculpture conveys:

Have you observed that the architect of that sculpture, Shri Chintamoni Kar said that Mother India, which I shall address as Bharatmata, is sheltering the young Republic?

Who is that young republic? Is it Bharat? It cannot be because Shri Kar describes the lady as Bharat by referring to Mother India.

I was wondering about this question. Then the word ‘young’ before republic and the ‘book, showing beam balance, held by that young republic’ i.e. justice is equally imparted to both sides, struck my mind.

Young Republic means Bharat, which I shall refer to as young republic Bharata, son of Bharatmata, which took birth on January 26, 1950 via the constitution, but not that Bharat, under whose lap the young republic Bharata has found shelter, which took birth at a time which we can only guess, and therefore, there are two Bharat’s in one Bharat. One is Bharatmata, the mother of an ancient civilization, and another is young Republic Bharata, the child of Bharatmata, which completes its 74th year today.

The young republic Bharata is seen carrying a book having beam balance. What is that book? Is it the constitution or Gita, Bible or Quran? The people will argue that it has to be the constitution because we are a secular country.

I trust what is important is not the name of the book but under whose lap the young Republic Bharata has found shelter for holding that book. It is not merely a shelter, it is the tutelage of Bharatmata under whose command and compassion, the young republic Bharata will thrive, and therefore, whatever may be the type of book, whether constitution or anything else, what Bharatmata represents is important.

Bharatmata represents We are Us, and therefore We, the people of the young Republic Bharata, shall strive for all, but to interweave everyone we need a common philosophy that can represent every philosophy.

Does the constitution present that common philosophy?

I argue that the Preamble does so. But does everyone agree with such a philosophy?

What could be the goal of a person, regardless of religion? I trust, sharing liberty equally with everyone thereby forming a fraternity where there would be economic and social justice is a good goal. Does our constitution confer so? It appears from words in the preamble that it does confer so. But what if we do not enforce those words?

People may say that the constitutional courts are there i.e. Art. 226 and 32 for enforcing those words. I argue that the court can compel enforcement even by punishment but can the court convince the unwilling person to enforce those words? I trust that you would agree with me that the court may compel but cannot convince because convincing means making the person realize, and the court which bases itself more on law and less on justice, cannot convince.

Therefore, who can make us realize that we have to enforce the effect of the words in the preamble? I argue that the Parliament, executive, and judiciary are all creatures of the constitution and the creatures cannot convince a person because the constitution prohibits them from influencing the personal ideology of a person.

So who can? God? Which God? I argue the person who is supreme to the constitution, can convince. The people would argue no one is supreme to the constitution. I argue there is one. Who is it? She is Bharatmata under whose lap the young republic Bharata has taken shelter to hold the constitution, and therefore, the Gurumata of young republic Bharata and constitution is Bharatmata.

The people would argue, well, Bharatmata is giving shelter to the young republic Bharata but is Bharatmata alive? Where is she? She is here, she is amongst us. She is the Dharma which has found a place in the constitution in the form of fundamental duties.

The people would argue that you have forgotten that fundamental duties are unenforceable. Yes, I know and it will always remain unenforceable because it cannot be enforced by any outsider by any force. People will not follow Dharma because they have to, but they do follow it because they agree with it.

So how can we make ‘people follow Dharma’? You are not understanding, I said we cannot make them follow that. Then? We have a consciousness that includes everyone. And what is it? Dharma, it is Dharma which is associated with all living beings, but only recognized by the Hindus in the sense that people should voluntarily follow it.

Are you serious? You are suggesting that everyone should convert to the Hindu religion? That is wrong! Dharma does not ask you to physically convert, it convinces you to open your mind and see different paths to truth. You witnessed what happened when Ramakrishna Paramhans and Swami Vivekananda converted mentally to the search for truth.

So do you think Bharatmata has been able to convince, through her young republic Bharata and the Constitution, the people of our country about Dharma so that they voluntarily follow it?

You see, the young republic Bharata and its constitution, although taking shelter under the lap of the Mata of civilizations Bharatmata, took birth primarily due to the intercourse between Britishers and Indian Britishers, and therefore it did not get a substantial number of Bharatiyas who could nourish the young Republic Bharata and its constitution.

As you know, Dr. Ambedkar said that the people who will use the constitution will determine the quality of the constitution, and therefore we need more Bharatiyas to make the young republic Bharata do justice to Bharatmata and her uncountable children so that the word ‘Republic’ which connotes independence and public interest could be attributed to every Bharatiya.

Dr Ambedkar made a speech on the last day of the Constituent Assembly. Remarking about the potential and pitfalls of life after January 26, 1950, he said:

‘On the 26th of January 1950, we are going to enter into a life of contradictions. In politics we will have equality and in social and economic life we will have inequality. In politics we will be recognising the principle of one man one vote and one vote one value. In our social and economic life, we shall, by reason of our social and economic structure, continue to deny the principle of one man one value. How long shall we continue to live this life of contradictions? How long shall we continue to deny equality in our social and economic life? If we continue to deny it for long, we will do so only by putting our political democracy in peril. We must remove this contradiction at the earliest possible moment or else those who suffer from inequality will blow up the structure of political democracy which this Assembly has so laboriously built up.’

We should note that Dr. Ambedkar said that political democracy has not secured economic and social equality because the right to vote does not confirm that you will vote conscientiously and therefore, how could you secure economic and social equality? Dr. Ambedkar did not mention how you could secure this. I argue you can do so by following Dharma and it should happen voluntarily.

On this day, let us say the constitution is subject to Dharma i.e to Bharatmata. To learn who is  Bharatmata, we have to visit our culture. A country becomes a Nation when it develops a consciousness shared by everyone across the board. Who leads us in achieving that consciousness, an ideology or a way of living life? For us, it is Dharma led by Bharatmata.

The western model of justice represented by Lady Justicia is in the form of a woman holding a sword with her eyes tied with a cloth, thereby she cannot see. It symbolizes unbiased Justice on the ground that the lady cannot see who she is rendering justice to. 

I argue, as Lady Justicia cannot see the parties before her for justice, she may use the sword on the victim, and therefore it is a flawed concept.

You see, our Bharatmata whose eyes are not tied by anything, and therefore, she can see her child the young republic Bharata with the constitution, and can guide the same. Do you know why Bharatmata’s eyes are not needed to be covered by anything for making her unbiased? Let me tell you why – Bharatmata’s eyes are a visionary whose mission is Dharma, but she is not a missionary promoting that only one way is superior. It is due to such a superiority complex that the western Lady Justicia’s eyes need to be covered, but not our Bharatmata’s.

-By Hritam Saha (a law student)

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