Whither the ‘socialist’, ‘secular’, ‘scientific, and ‘humane’ India?

The BJP is going against the basis of India’s Constitution

Dr Subramanian Swamy, a member of the Rajya Sabha (Council of States, or Upper House of IndianParliament) has filed a writ petition to get the words “socialism” and “secularism” deleted from the Preamble to the Indian Constitution. This petition along with a similar petition (WP(c) 645/2020), is listed for hearing by chief justice of India’s Supreme Court on 23 October.

India is neither “socialist” nor “secular”. Socialism postulates “to each according to his need, and from each according to his ability”. Does India care a fig for this socialist principle? “The top 10 of India’s richest control Rs 31.71 billion of the Rs 66.36 billion wealth owned by 142 dollar billionaires. India’s dollar billionaires are equivalent to 26.67 percent of the country’s fiscal year 2022 GDP. Gautam Adani rules the chart, breaking into the top five globally, ahead of Bill Gates. Long reigning No.1 Mukesh Ambani is the second richest in India. The Indian tycoon Gautam Adani has been named the world’s third richest person with an estimated $137 billion (£117 billion) fortune and becomes the first Asian person to break into the top three of world’s wealthy (Indian tycoon Gautam Adani named world’s third richest person, The Guardian, August 30, 2022). Whither Marxian “dictatorship of the proletariat” and class struggle between “classes and masses”?

With a net worth of Rs 30.7 million, India’s prime minister Narendra Modi, portraying himself as a former tea-serving waiter, is no pauper. (Prime Minister Modi’s net worth has jumped to Rs 30.7 million as per his latest declaration from Rs 28.5 million last year). Narendra Modi owes his electoral victory to financial support by the rich. The yearlong farmers’ uncompromising protest was actuated by the perception that “crony capitalism” is hands in glove with Modi.

Another bitter reality that caricatures the Indian Constitution is Article 51A of the Indian Constitution. This unique provision stipulates that it is a fundamental duty, the eighth one, of every citizen in India “to develop a scientific temper, humanism, and the spirit of inquiry and reform”. But, it appears that even after seven decades of independence, Indians are still mired in superstition. Just recall India’s Defence Minister Rajnath Singh emblazoning a Rafale fighter jet with an‘om and decking it with flowers, coconut, and lemons, purportedly to ward off evil.

Yogi Adityanath, saffron chief minister of India’s most populous state,Uttar Pradesh, equated cows with human beings. India’s Uttarkhand Assembly passed a resolution for “declaration of the cow as Rashtra mata, national mother.”

India claims to be a secular, socialist, enlightened country. But, reality caricatures its constitution, society and polity.

Muslims and dalits run cow slaughter and small-scale beef trade. To deprive the beef-eating minority of a cheap source of food, Uttar Pradesh Hindu-monk chief minister Adityanath launched a crackdown on them in June 2020.

He directed his administration to book the “offenders” under India’s National Security Act. Simultaneously, he approved an ordinance to increase the penalty for cow slaughter up to 10 years imprisonment and a fine up to Rs 500,000.

In October, even the Allahabad High Court expressed ennui at the “frequent misuse” of provisions of the Uttar Pradesh Cow Slaughter Act, 1955, and noted that it was being used to implicate innocent people. Adityanath adamantly responded that his government will “protect cows at any cost” as if the cow were a citizen.

Besides cow-related NSA cases, during the last year 2020, until August 26, a total of 1716 cases were registered under the Uttar Pradesh Prevention of Cow Slaughter Act and over 4000 people were arrested.

The NSA was legislated to detain a person without a charge for up to 12 months if he or she was a threat to national security or law and order. The Yogi wants to convert Ayodhya into a Vatican, a Mecca.

The National Crime Records Bureau omits data on burning Muslims alive, cow-related lynching, and offenses committed for a religious reason. Hindus believe that Lord Krishna took along a cow from the heavens when he descended on earth.

According to India Today, a black-and-white-feathered pigeon was caught on 17 April 2015 after it perched on the shoulder of Constable Niraj Kumar, who was on guard duty at a post in Roranwala, 500 meters from the border with Pakistan. BBC reported a “spy Pakistan pigeon” was arrested and Xrayed in India.

Kumar “immediately caught the pigeon and informed Post Commander Ompal Singh”. The commander then searched the pigeon and found a paper with a number starting from 0302.

The BSF directed police to lodge a first information report (FIR) against the pigeon. The BSF could not decode the mysterious number, wrapped with adhesive tape on the pigeon’s left leg.

Senior Superintendent of Police Dhruv Dahiya replied to the BSF that “he did not think FIR could be registered against the pigeon as it was a bird, not a human being”.  However, he clarified, ‘We have referred the matter to our legal experts for their opinion’.

Last year, in May, BSF captured another “Pakistani spy pigeon” and handed it over to police in occupied Kashmir. A Pakistani villager later said he was the owner of the pigeon and refuted the allegation of it being “a spy or a terrorist”.

Earlier, in 2015, also, a pigeon was captured by Indian forces for crossing the Indo-Pak border into India’s Pathankot area.

Mr Justice Mahesh Chandra Sharma of Rajasthan High Court surprised reporters by saying, “all doctors are frauds and we could have all been cured of diseases with nothing more than cow’s milk.”

He urged the Centre to declare the cow India’s national animal and recommended life imprisonment for cow slaughter”. Physicians must have smiled at his assertion that “cow inhales and exhales oxygen”, and “a peacock is a lifelong celibate like Krishna”.

Subsequently, the Rashtriya Sevaksangh held a conclave distributing a pamphlet echoing Sharma’s sentiments. The RSS’s rising influence among all strata of Indian society cannot be ignored.

Huffington Post of 3 August 2017, published a detailed report on the benefits of cow-and-dung recipes. These recipes included (a) A cow-dung-and-urine beauty soap that could stall aging. Krishna looked like a 12-year-old as he used such soap. (b) Cow dung and urine (gao mutra and gau gober) could prevent radiation when used to construct a bunker or rubbed on a mobile phone. This compound can defuse even an atomic bomb. (c) Pregnant women should have cow dung-urine derivatives for normal delivery.

India’s prestigious Institute of Technology received about 50 proposals from top research institutions across the country to explore the benefits of panchgavya (mixture of cow urine, cow dung, milk, ghee, and curd).

India’s Union Ministry of Science and Technology has constituted a 19-member panel to conduct detailed research on cow derivatives and their benefits. Actor Akshay Kumar remorselessly admitted that he drinks cow urine daily. Cow dung is also used in Hindu religious fire (agni) yajna as an important ingredient.

The RSS’s ubiquitous influence in all realms of Indian government has warped gullible Indians’ minds. In a speech Mohan Bhagwat (RSS) asserted that “all Indians were Hindus, denying religious differences and thereby rejecting the multiculturalism inherent in the secularism set out in the constitution. Six months after Modi’s victory, he stated, “The cultural identity of all Indians is Hindutva and the present inhabitants of the country are descendents of this great culture.

A “Hindu religious assembly” exhorted people to arm themselves with the latest weapons to carry out Muslim genocide.

The US Commission on International Religious Freedom called for putting India on the religious freedom blacklist. Its report noticed: ‘In 2019, religious freedom conditions in India experienced a drastic turn downward, with religious minorities under increasing assault’.  Not only Muslims but also Christians, Dalit and other minorities are persecuted communities.

India claims to be a secular, socialist, enlightened country. But, reality caricatures its constitution, society and polity.

Amjed Jaaved
Amjed Jaaved
The writer is a freelance journalist, has served in the Pakistan government for 39 years and holds degrees in economics, business administration, and law. He can be reached at [email protected]

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