India is a land of festivals and republic day is one landmark official festival, in our calendar. The way we celebrate our national festivals is also on the same lines as other festivals, with the difference of our official machinery on display in full might; ceremonial, official pomp and show, some display of military prowess, social development and the age-old glimpse into our culture. Republic Day marks the birth of India as a Republic. The way our country has progressed on the blueprint and trajectory of democracy, is what we are supposed to celebrate on every republic day.
Behind the ceremonies and festivities, it needs to be day of stocktaking and also to cross check, if we have erred in the direction, we were mandated to go. A new country and a nascent republic are bound to falter, till the time it becomes so robust to declare to the world that it has become a democratic model. Do we have system of stocktaking? We have none. The declarations of our leaders have been the gospel truth on the progress from a legal republic to a real republic, as mandated by the constitution. The strength of constitution as the north star of the republic lies in its implementation, both in word and spirit. Declaring a republic and becoming a republic in word, spirit and mindset are two different things.
It needs to the validated too. We don’t have no mechanism to measure our march towards a full-blown republic. The constituent assembly is gone and parliament is handicapped in its own way, by day-to-day politics. Off and on the supreme court and high courts play their role. But is that enough? At the core of it all, is democratic mindset. A democratic mindset is one which sees this country through the prism of Preamble of the Indian Constitution. Rest would follow. If democratic mindset were to become all prevalent, the aberrations would become a point of mass criticism, of changing public opinion and consequent actions which happen in a democracy.
This would also help in challenging the versions of republic and its concepts /contexts /laws, given by political parties or anybody who matters, with most of them having an axe to grind, in the interpretations they provide. Lots of the them come up with their version, after getting caught in the eye of storm, either as a governmental or a political functionary, looking for a desperate escape route. They were divergent views depending on political loyalty, when the constitution is very clear in whatever it has mandated. But you need a democratic mindset to unravel, see and experience this with clarity. This should become our practice. Our strength lies in the strength of the republic and in no other way, for sure.
ONLY DEMOCRATIC MINDSET CAN USHER IN DEMOCRATIC PRACTICE.
Happy Republic Day