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Monday, May 29, 2023

The Constitution- The Discrimination It Abets in Word and in Operation

It is the time for the nation to have a thorough scrutiny of the Constitution of Bharat – the longest one in the world. Any change or revamping cannot be faulted and is no disrespect to Dr Ambedkar because he did not draft a Constitution for eternity.

In fact, even the Reservation Policy was meant for only fifty years. He did not include a long list of BCs and OBCs and MBCs for quotas and reservation. He did not include ‘secular and socialistic society’ in the preamble of the Constitution. If these and more has seeped into the Constitution, it is the Congress which had wrought it.

So Rahul Gandhi cannot object to changing the Constitution. He cannot fault Modi and the BJP  for showing disrespect to Dr Ambedkar. The Congress and the opposition cannot now pretend that touching or wanting to change, revamp, redraft, amend et al the Constitution is showing disrespect to Dr Ambedkar. That accusation must be laid against the door of Indira Gandhi and the Congress when even the Fundamental right to property was omitted and it was made only a legal right.

It however ensured that the removal of the property right as fundamental right would not affect the right of the minorities to establish and administer educational institutions of their choice. The fundamental right to property was watered down by the 44th Amendment empowering the State for the acquisition and requisition of private property. This was in the year 1978. Here again the properties of the minorities were exempted.

About 123 Amendments to the Constitution have been passed. Does Rahul Gandhi have any knowledge of these? So now to fault Modi’s government and the BJP regarding the need to take a fresh look at the Constitution is sheer ignorance and opposing for the sake of opposing, especially when Rahul Gandhi and his mother Sonia Gandhi had scant respect for the Constitution.

It is the need of the day to make the Constitution relevant for the 21st century – to the changed and changing political times, and to the meet the aspirations of the people and make democracy truly vibrant. This calls for removing that which is blatantly discriminatory, especially the appeasement policy.

We cannot have a static Constitution. Times have changed and changes are called for. It sounds great to swear by the Constitution, but a scrutiny of it will reveal the dichotomy and the discrimination embedded within.

Even the Fundamental Right to Freedom of speech and expression has a number of restrictions. So one cannot simply fall back on this Fundamental Right and shout ‘Azadi’. Artists and film makers have to realize that this Fundamental Right is subject to morality, decency, public order and security. But what has been found these days is the media and the so-called intellectuals immediately point at the Fundamental Right to freedom of expression and fault the government for restricting freedom. Indira Gandhi could impose the Emergency and simply reduced to zero all the Fundamental Rights. Now her grandson blames Modi’s government for being dictatorial!

One is tempted to ask what purpose does Article 30 serve when Article 29 states that any citizen residing in the territory of Bharat having a distinct language, script or culture of their own has the right to conserve it. Why are we building barriers in the name of language, religion and culture. And in these days when the world has become a village, to build such fences only divides communities. The rapid urbanization, mass transit from place to place in these modern times makes such ghettos absurd. It gives rise to polarization, parochialism and abets a climate of exclusivism.

It seems a contradiction when the same article states that ‘no citizen be denied admission into any educational institution maintained by the State or receiving aid out of State funds on grounds of religion, race, caste, language or any of them’. Then how can Article 30 allow only minorities the right to establish and administer educational institutions of their choice?

The special status given to the State of J&K is yet another aberration. It is highly discriminatory. On one hand the citizens are given the right to reside and settle in any part of Bharat and on the other hand non-Kashmiri citizens are barred from residing and settling in J&K; but the Kashmiris can own land and can settle in other states of Bharat – the ban is only for non -Kashmiris. This is doubly discriminatory.

What has all this led to? Ethnic cleansing of citizens of this country who do not belong to Islam – they have been  made orphans in their own country. Why is the ban is only on non-Kashmiris? Is it not based on religion? Has it not led to another kind of second partition? Is it not a fact that the Kashmiris (read Muslims of Kashmir) are free to go anywhere in Bharat, their children seek admission in institutions in other States, they have property and houses in other States?

So what is this special status about? Is it not against unity of the country? Does it not lend to the demand of a separate country? This is what we see and hear these days. Hence Azadi is the cry that went out from the JNU and Pakistan has abetted the whole demand. Even one former CM of J&K has stated that POK is for Pakistan, Kashmir is for Kashmiris and Bharat is for Bharatiyas. So the Kashmiris are no longer Bharatiya. How can such a treacherous statement be made? It is abundantly clear that the Constitution has lent itself to separatism and divisive forces. This cannot be tolerated. This is the Constitution on which we swear upon.

So when one analyses the discrimination against the Hindus one must first realize that the Constitution itself is discriminatory against the Hindus. The rest flows from that. Yet we seem reluctant to scrutinize the Constitution and make it a bulwark which binds all Bharatiyas and does not separate.

The netas of the opposition can scream and shout that it is disrespect to Dr Ambedkar. Rahul Gandhi can oppose it along with his new found ally Jignesh Mevani. He forgets that his grandmother even negated the Constitution and held it in abeyance when she proclaimed the Emergency. There have been 123 Amendments to the Constitution. The Constitution is not a static document meant for all ages, fallen from the heavens. It must undergo changes to meet the needs and the aspiration of the citizens of this country. The Constitution founders will not be belittled by such an exercise.

Now to pin point a few discrimination against the Hindus which becomes valid and accepted because of the embedded discrimination in the Constitution. The whole appeasement policy flows from this. Look at how there is absolute stunning silence on the ethnic cleansing that happened in J&K. Why should Hindu pandits be orphaned and become refugees in their own country? Why are the monies of the temples used by GOI for ‘development’ and also for the welfare of Muslims? What about the huge monies and assets owned by the mosques and the churches? Why should the government land be given for burial of the Muslims when they own large tracts of Waqf land? Is the GOI responsible for the salvation of the Muslims?

When the institutions of the minorities are funded and aided by the government, why doesn’t the same apply to the Hindus? Is it because the minorities are capable of administering and managing their institutions and the Hindus are not? But this can be disproved because many institutions run by Hindus are better managed and follow rules and regulations.

There are inbuilt injustices in the education institutions of the minorities because they do not follow rules and regulations and are not scrutinized – there are no checks. Hence there is blatant mismanagement and injustices. One cannot look at the window dressing and say that everything is fine.

I have worked in a minority institution and can give examples of mismanagement. Even within the minorities, there is discrimination. For example, the priests and the nuns become HODs (Head of Departments) and Principals with no or little experience. They receive the UGC pay scales and even pension. Is this not day light robbery? Why do they not pay income tax as others when they draw salaries as others, and in fact higher salaries?

Why should the GOI be allowed to annex land for public purposes of the Hindus but not of the Minorities? Even temple land the GOI can claim, then why not mosque and church land? This is exactly why the first Communist government of Kerala targeted the Minority education institutions in 1954. But the Christian minorities are so powerful and numerous that the government failed in its attempt to regulate and to nationalize the institutions.

It is this context one should also recall the words secular and socialist which had been inserted by Indira Gandhi in 1976. One fails to understand what secularism means today when the Constitution is so blatantly not secular. Secularism means the government is equidistant from all religions. But then we have political netas polarizing the people on the basis of religion- the appeasement policy. The minority personal laws are gender biased – like the talaq e-biddat – patriarchal and unjust. They even lead to dividing the nation.

How can a nation based on secularism allow minorities to follow their own personal laws? Why do they opt for the Indian Penal code but when it comes to social legislation the Muslims want the Shariat. Then they must follow the Koran criminal law also – eye for an eye and hand for a hand. They want the best of both the worlds- Eat the cake and have it too. This is singularly obvious only in Bharat.

A nation binds itself together with one flag, one Constitution, one law and one national anthem. If the Muslims state that for them the Koran is supreme, then how can they become citizens of this country and abide by its Constitution? Was it not on that basis that Pakistan was given to them? If they cannot integrate with the rest of the people they must go where they can follow only the Koran and not the Bharatiya Constitution. Every citizen is bound and obliged to follow the Constitution of Bharat.

Now take the case of family planning. One wonders for whom is the Family Planning – is it only for the Hindus? It is a national policy to go in for Planned Parenthood because that is the responsibility of all. The Muslim, and now Catholics abetted by the church hierarchy which propagates pro-life campaigns, quote religious laws and go on multiplying. And they expect the GOI to fund their health and education and give subsidies.

All the development schemes like the poverty alleviation programs will be negated if families are not restricted to a certain number. It is an onerous task for the government to feed the huge population. It is unfair on the taxpayers and those who follow Planned Parenthood. The telling case of Tracy – a Catholic from Kerala who was a nurse in the IIMS was detected with cancer and was carrying her 8th child. She was advised to abort and go in for chemotherapy. She refused because she wanted to bring forth her 8th child and then go for treatment. By then it was too late and she died after giving birth to the 8th child. The Catholic Church authorities supported her decision because it has recently started a campaign seeking parents to produce more children. They can then fill up their orphanages – seek financial support and also have vocations.

How can a nation prosper on these lines? Then there will be a Sacchar report picking up the poor from the by lanes of the country. There will be intellectuals faulting the government for the lack of health services, malnutrition and under nutrition of children. As the former Prime Minister Man Mohan Singh once stated that ‘money does not grow on trees’ – for once he was right! And then Rahul Gandhi will pretend to stand with the unemployed and distressed farmers and fisherfolk. Nobody raises the question why the Congress and the UPA, which was in power for more than 55 years, did not eradicate poverty and raise the nutrition level of children. Why were medical services almost nil under its regime?

Coming back to the Constitution, how is Bharat a Socialistic, Secular and Democratic Republic, which we the people of Bharat solemnly resolve to constitute? Are all mere hollow words? We have experienced that it is no longer and never was secular. It is not structured to become socialistic because the very fact that Indira Gandhi’s daughter-in-law who came to Bharat with absolutely nothing – no assets, no skills, totally unemployable, becomes today the 6th richest woman in the world? Is this socialism?

Do we need to continue cheating ourselves and bury our heads like an ostrich? Is the Constitution only a document to be exhibited or to be pragmatic and followed? How is it a democracy when the Congress has abetted dynasty rule? And even defends it? So we have a flawed Constitution, words and hollow words and nobody wants to follow even that which is inserted and piously proclaimed in the Preamble. With such a Constitution, how can one expect equality and no discrimination?

Look how the Babri Masjid episode took place. When Rajiv Gandhi wanted to garner the Hindu votes, he ordered the locks of the Babri Masjid to be broken and proclaimed that he wants to usher in Ram Rajya. The turmoil that followed, the riots that took place etc. are history. Now his son asserts that he, his father and grandfather are Shiv Bhaktas.

The recent elections in Gujarat saw the blatant abetment of casteism. Parties based on castes and the netas (read Rahul Gandhi) abet this openly. Rahul Gandhi’s ally Jignesh Mevani openly gives the call for civil war, and Rahul justifies this. He has the gumption to say that the BJP treated the Dalits badly and kept them last in the social ladder, and now it is getting back the ire of the Dalits. One is tempted to ask what the Congress did for the long years it ruled Bharat. How the Dalits could be pushed at the last rung of the social ladder by Modi in just a three year regime? Is it not the wrong policies of the Congress and the UPA which denied and kept the Dalits oppressed and exploited?

Again, the Right to Freedom of Speech guaranteed in the Constitution has restrictions placed by Nehru through the very first Amendment Act of 1950. It provides new grounds of restrictions to the right of freedom of speech – these restrictions relate to public order. Hence the Congress leader Mani Shankar Aiyer should have been booked under treason when he invited the Pakistani government to come and throw out Modi’s government. Similarly Jignesh Mevani and Umar Khalid’s ‘azadi’ and their provocative speeches and instigation on the basis of caste cannot be condoned. They are creating hostility, hurting the sentiments of Bharatiyas and tearing Bharat apart. It is all avarice for power because now the opposition knows that Modi is strong and will take firm steps.

Easy life, looting all the time and exploitation of the people, oppressing them and making them live in poverty is what we saw the last 55 years. Mrs. Sonia Gandhi has to be called upon to give an account of her amassed wealth, and her son needs to learn to function with some sense and probity in public life. He falls back on cheap jibes and allies with Modi haters because he is also a Modi hater and wants to somehow take over as the Prime Minister of Bharat.

Woe to the country, what a disaster it will be if this man with absolutely no sense of direction were to come to power. He has a mask, the whole time talking of love but spreading hate and violence to be the PM of this sacred land. He does not even have the guts to face the music but uses others for his violent schemes and is hell bent on dividing Bharat. That is his parampara – Divide and rule.

Rahul Gandhi does not shed a drop of sweat to earn a livelihood. He is a contradiction to democracy and defends dynasty, all this and more with a Constitution which has failed the people. Either the Constitution has failed us or we have failed to rejuvenate and modernize it to meet the exigencies of the times. Hence the basis of discrimination lies within the Constitution and flows from it, especially the appeasement policy.

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Dr. Hilda Raja
Dr. Hilda Raja
Dr. Hilda Raja was a PG level professor at Stella Maris College, Chennai. Post retirement, she worked with many NGOs and as a Development Consultant. She was nominated on the Advisory Committe of the CBCI (Catholic Bishops Conference of India ) for three years. Having studied throughout in Minority Institutions and reared in a Christian ethos, she is fully convinced that the Hindu soul is secular and Hindu Dharma is totally misunderstood by other religions. For her, Bharat and all that it holds is sacred.


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