The day the Indian constitution came in effect is celebrated as Republic Day on Jan 26th since 1950.
All that stands between tyranny and fascism is the republic. In our struggles against Imperialism, caste, poverty, and our oppressors, the leaders of our freedom struggle led by Dr. B.R. Ambedkar wrote the constitution of a Democratic, Sovereign, Secular, Republic of India.
A newly Independent India had to not only chart a new future, but it also had to leave behind traditions of oppression such as casteism, sexism, exploitation of the poor and downtrodden which we still grapple with to this day, where the same voices of the privileged continue to champion what we must leave behind.
Dr.B.R.Ambedkar The Chairman of the Constitution Drafting Committee, appointed by the Constituent Assembly to write India’s new Constitution had the first-hand experience of poverty and untouchability. This made him the ideal choice to frame a constitution of India that included who were marginalized and exploited and denied their human rights.
The women of the constituent assembly Sarojini Naidu, Hansa Mehta, Durgabai Deshmukh, Amrit Kaur, and Vijaya Lakshmi Pandit fought for our nation’s independence and spoke for those voices that have so often been silenced. They pioneered a path for all women to become emancipated and break the chains of the patriarchy. We still shoulder the responsibility to carry forward their work, to give women equal opportunities and rights.
In our times when these ideals are threatened and besieged by the slavish mind-sets of those who seek to oppress the free voices of the poor and downtrodden, we must remember what this country stands for. Now more than ever we must stand by those who are oppressed by the vicious grip of caste and poverty, of religious bigotry and corruption.
When the service men and women of the Indian defense forces march past the President of India and other dignitaries on Republic day, they defend these ideals of Secularism, Socialism guaranteed by the Democratic Republic, that assures its citizens’ justice, equality and liberty regardless of caste, creed or religion.
We the people must hold our representatives responsible for the safeguarding and implementation of these great ideals which are threatened by those who hunger for power and profit. There are many powerful voices today that speak for hate, that has forgotten our achievements and would rather fantasize about some fictitious infantile imagination of our history that insults both our freedom fighters and traditions. These would-be fortune tellers who always see a glorious future right after the next elections do not care for the actual future or the past.
Through the rights afforded to us by our Constitution and Republic, we the people must make our own future and ensure that the reins of power do not fall into the hands of totalitarians.