A Reminder to Constitutional Nationalism

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India has completed its 69th year as a Republic. On the very day of 26th January 1950, the Constitution of India was enforced. The working of the constitution can be traced back from its very existence. The Indian Constitution is a compilation and mixture of different Constitutions. The framers of the Constitution referred to various constitutional provisions of different countries and after extensive deliberations upon it, modified and adopted the same as best suitable to the Indian condition. India adopted a democratic structure which stands incomplete without achieving both social and economic democracy. Even Dr. B.R. Ambedkar, the architect of the Constitution, relied upon the very notion to mark the successful working of democracy.

The Constitution of India is a codified document that envisages upon these very principles.

The Indian Constitution has certain characteristics that make it distinct from others. It is the lengthiest written constitution in the world. It has extensively elaborated upon every provision so as to demarcate the functioning of different institutions and has simultaneously propounded upon the Fundamental Rights and the Directive Principles of state policy,   equally fulfilling the obligation to withhold social, economic, individual and basic human rights of every citizen, equally stating the duties of a State to create an egalitarian and welfare imbibed society. The Constitution highlights the importance of participatory democracy. The principle that gave birth to the electoral system in the country and has since its adoption managed to uphold the democracy successfully. Elections are celebrated as a festival in a democracy; therefore, conducting free and fair elections becomes the most imperative duty as further course of governance depends majorly upon it.

The representation allows a large-scale political participation but the issue arises when the means to achieve the representation as an end, takes an ugly turn. The manipulation of the electorate has been widely witnessed in recent times. The religious conflicts emerged before independence, but the ugly turn here arises upon the use of the notion of “Nationalism” to gain political mileage. It not only has divided the society at large but also contradicts and disregards the constitutional commitments of every citizen. The journey of nationalism has taken a stark turn in its journey from Colonial to Modern India.

Nationalism during colonial rule was a unifying factor that mobilized huge crowds in fighting against the imperial exploitation. The leaders during the freedom struggle cherished nationalism as a unifying force against the common enemy. Several movements were launched under the garb of the idea, which managed to gain widespread support and mobilized people to unshackle the colonial chains. The freedom was ultimately achieved at a huge cost, i.e. division on religious lines. India managed to grow out of the religious divide due to the patriotism that was instilled during the struggle amongst every individual. But, in modern India, the same unifying force has been transformed into a dividing subjection. The nationalist ideology has taken an aggressive turn. Many recent incidents have led to the violent imposition of nationalism over the other. The foundation of nationalism in India was based on ‘tolerance’ but the very tolerance has diminished over the period. The idea causing violence cannot be the nationalism in its very true sense. India’s nationalism is based upon cherishing the democratic values of the country. And, it can only be successful when an institution is formed upon the principles such as acceptance, tolerance, individual dignity and freedom and upholding the rule of law.

The driving force to shower our commitment towards the nation must not be explicit through violent means, but the true sense of our nationalism could be determined by our obedience towards the Constitution of India. It would not only subjugate the overt violent expression but will also create a harmonious and progressive society. The framers of the Constitution provided us with a forward-looking document with periodic assessments contributing towards it progressive nature thus it is our responsibility to remind ourselves of the very same commitment and endeavor to achieve “constitutional nationalism” which in its true sense would lead India to greater heights.

We may still be a young democracy, but we have achieved milestones to maintain it in such a diverse atmosphere with mutual trust and harmony. The Republic Day every year is not only an occasion to present India’s military might to the world, but it also comes as a reminder to us, a reminder for upholding cultural and mutual harmony and a strong reminder of our commitment towards the Constitution of India.

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