On This Republic Day, Thinking Of Preserving Values of Liberty, Justice and Equality enshrined in Indian Constitution

Indian Republic Day Celebrations | Credit: B. Mathur

A few moments from now, India will begin celebrations commemorating the adoption of the Indian constitution 59 years ago. Already it is clear that the event will be a somber one. As if Mumbai attacks were not sufficient, the enemies of democracy are once again rearing their ugly head. News reports indicate that last night a few attackers were killed in a fire fight with the police on the road to Delhi. Its being said that the attackers are from Pakistan. But there is little value in pointing this out - Pakistan is likely to deny it as it has always done - and mutual finger pointing will begin.

Indian Republic Day Celebrations | Credit: G. Osan

There is however little benefit in pointing fingers at Pakistan. News from Pakistan indicates that Pakistan is itself roiling in a spasm of militant violence which it is unable to control. The Swat valley, which is known for its natural beauty and cultural links to Buddhism and is called the Switzerland of Pakistan, has fallen to Taleban. Inspite of (or perhaps because of) a 12,000 to 14,000 strong contigent of Army in the region, the 2000 odd fighters of Taleban are walking about with impunity, terrorizing the local populace through regular beheadings and mutilations, in complete disregard of Pakistani law. Already in the name of Islam 169 schools have been bombed and razed to ground by the Taleban and threats have been issued against girls being sent to the schools. A website on Swat Valley that describes the culture and beauty of the valley urging tourists to visit leaves one wondering, what ever happened? No doubt the liberal elements of Pakistan are looking at this with increasing horror.

Indian Republic Day Celebrations | Credit: G. Osan

As India celebrates the Republic day, Indians must be thinking about the threats to the values of justice, equality and liberty enshrined in the Indian constitution. The war waged by Taleban is a cultural war which requires collective effort to fight and win. Pakistan, wittingly or unwittingly, has become a victim of its own foolhardy experiment to use the religious elements to further political goals. The Indians must view all that is happening in Swat valley with dismay. Afterall Swat valley is only 600 kms away from New Delhi, but there is not much India can do about this!

Indian Republic Day Celebrations | Credit: M. Swarup

On the other hand, India can certainly affect change within its borders to neutralize the threat from Taleban. India, which has second largest population of Muslims in the world, needs its Muslim population to reject the backward looking ideology of Taleban. This can only be done by actively enlisting the help of Indian Muslims - including the Muslim clergy - to reject the Taleban ideology. Indian muslims are far more educated and far more integrated into the secular Indian society and are not as likely to fall prey to the Taleban ideology as the uneducated and impoverished youth of Pakistan. However, as has been seen recently, some of the young Indian muslims have been swayed by this deadly ideology on emotional grounds. India must redouble efforts to prevent the Indian muslim youth from falling into the clutches of these demagogs.

The values of Equality, Justice and Liberty as enshrined in the Indian constitution for all Indians benefit, regardless of caste creed or religion. Indian Republic is not a perfect republic and there is much work to be done to ensure that all Indians get to enjoy these values equally. On this Republic day, all Indians must think - how can we join hands with the Indian muslims to prevent the Taleban and its cohorts from sowing the seeds of destruction within India. And the Indian muslims must also think, how can they join hands with other Indians to prevent the Indian state and constitution from becoming a victim to the Taleban ideology.
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