THE MEANING OF A NATION AND ITS APPLICATION TO BHARAT
Article 1 of the Indian constitution declares that India, that is Bharat, shall be a Union of States. We are different people, but we are fine together. That is the nature of this country. The beauty of this land is that it observes every identity into one common nation. When the Europeans came here, they did not understand how this could be one nation if nothing is binding it. The concept of a nation, should not be seen in the Indian context from a European lens, for if that exercise is done the concept of Bharat will cease to exist. The European concept of the nation-state will only operate if a state exists, if the state ceases to exist the nation will not exist. Despite Bharat’s diversity, every community is one as every community shares a common history and civilization.
As Dadabhai Naroji rightly puts it “Hindu, Muslim, Parsee, Sikh, Jain were one people”. What is important for a nation to stand is the common aspirations of the people towards one goal rather than the religion of the people.
THE WRONGS OF HISTORY
It is very unfortunate that history has been a problem then it has been a solution to move forward, one of the threats that Bharat faces today is that from minoritism. The term is in itself means a doctrine or a philosophy. Minority by itself means a part of a group, whereas minoritism as a doctrine believes that special concessions must be accorded as they constitute a small part in a group. Minority has been understood over the years as that group that has not been properly represented or either whose interests are not given due representation, the conclusion that one will draw is that the minority is a weaker group. It is very interesting to note here that this trend of minorities followed even in thepost-partition era where there was a demand for separate electorates in the constituent assembly, to which the iron man of India Shri Sardar Vallahbhai Patel replied “A minority that could force the partition of the country is not a minority at all.
Why do you think you are a minority?
If you are a strong well-knit and well-organised minority, why do you want to claim safeguards, why do you want to claim privileges?” It becomes very important therefore to understand in itself how minoritism emerged in Bharat a land which accepts diversity. The most important aspect a law student or for that matter any citizen must understand is that truth can never be hidden it will come out and haunt you one day even if one manages to hide it, it will emerge in different forms and harm you. One can trace the root cause of Minoritism in Bharat right from the partition of Bengal 1905 where it was fear among the Muslims that INC represented only the Hindu interest, which ultimately resulted in separate electorates being brought in the government of India act1909.
In the Lucknow Session of 1915 agreeing with the demands of a separate electorate by the congress should be considered as the beginning of appeasement of minority or start point of minoritism. The khilafat andolan the participation of congress in this movement should be considered as a failure to understand that the Khilafat initiated by the Ali Brothers was for the support of the Khilafat which was at the brink of collapse post world war 1 and had no links with the Indian freedom movement. While drawing lessons from history it is imperative to bear in mind that nowhere were the Muslims a weak group, it must also be understood that appeasement by the INC of the Muslim League and the Muslim league of the British was only done for political purposes, it will therefore be correct to infer that minoritism is nothing but appeasement of one group for ultimate Political gain which is very particularly being followed in modern Bharat and is also a reason for current communal conflicts.
The question before us, therefore, is what is a minority? Is it a special group solely on the grounds of religion, language or a caste, is it a vulnerable group? What constitutes vulnerability or what in law is called as positive discrimination is it only on the basis of caste and economic conditions? A common perspective that has been generated over the years in Bharat is that the minority is a special group that is vulnerable and whose demands are to be fulfilled, even subscribing to these notions is accepting those mistakes that were committed in modern history of Bharat. The effects that this type of mentality can have are unimaginable, the so-called Aryan Dravidian divide, the special identity claimed by the people of Jammu and Kashmir which was also legally enforced by article 35-A, all these communal conflicts revolve around the claiming special privileges based on nonsensical arguments.
Today the citizens of Bharat must learn and understand from what Dr B.R Ambedkar said long back in his book Pakistan or the partition of India “The first thing which the congress has failed to realize is that there is a difference between appeasement and settlement and that the difference is an essential one. Appeasement means buying off the aggressor by conniving at his acts of murder, rape, arson and loot against innocent persons who happen for the moment to be the victims of his displeasure”. Minoritism is thus a problem then a solution, it is a tool for political gain.
The larger question before Bhartias today is whether to reject minoritism or to accept it, if one argues that since the constitution guarantees safeguard for minorities we must accept it. If one has such an argument they have failed to understand the spirit behind article 1 of the constitution and the meaning of Bharat. Accepting minoritism is accepting the past mistakes, it is accepting that a certain group living under a society is weak, if such a belief persists national integration will just be a library thought. The very purpose behind writing this article was not to address the current communal conflicts that are existing in Bharat but rather to understand the genesis of this thought, to understand the effect it can have on the national integration process. The effects that minoritism has today have resulted in communal conflicts.
A way forward to this can be a truth and reconciliation based on the lines of South Africa, the spirit of this commission is spilling out the truth, reaching a common consensus on one objective of forming common aspirations towards our nation, eliminating the feeling of so-called majoritism embedded in the minds of Bhartiyas which is sponsored by those breaking India forces. One must also understand what must not be an adaptable solution, falsifying history and creating differences between communities leads to communal conflicts which will have a negative impact in the long run. To reimagine democracy, one must revisit what Dr Br Ambedkar said in one of his speeches, he believes that democracy is not a form of government it is rather a way of living together.
To make Bharat a working democracy, the Bhartias first have to remove their lens of minoritism, to build common aspirations as one unified nation, it is only then that article 1 of the Indian constitution will be in its true sense followed.
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