Justice - social,economic and political,
Liberty - of thought, expression, belief, faith and worship,
Equality - of status and of opportunity,
and to promote among them all,
Fraternity assuring the dignity of the individual and the unity and integrity of the Nation."
The opening words of our Preamble to the Constitution are clear that its the great People of India who have resolved to dedicate the Constitution to themselves and make India into a Sovereign, Socialist, Secular and Democratic Republic.
So are we fulfilling this Pledge taken by us at the time we dedicated this Constitution to our people? The events happening all around, don't subscribe to this view that we have taken this Pledge seriously. The Asish Nandy incident where he expressed his views in the Jaipur Lit Fest, the Salman Rushdie incidents where he was stopped from travelling to and fro freely in the Country because of some remarks he made in his youth. Painters being stopped from exhibiting their work. Groups of young boys and girls being hounded in the name of being a threat to our culture by self styled champions of society. More recently, the harmless music played on stage by some young school girls under the band name - Pragaash - sought to be banned by religious groups, and the amount of condemnation they got both on stage, and on their social media accounts.
It's therefore time to look inwards, where are we heading? Are we redeeming this Pledge, or we are going backwards every day?
We are a progressive democracy, claim to provide justice, liberty, equality and fraternity to each of our citizens but somewhere there seems to be a disconnect with all of this. The highlighted incidents, although stray in nature carry considerable weight. Maybe because these are highlighted and brought out into the media glare but there are tens and thousand of other incidents which don't see the light of the day.
One more thing I feel very concerned about is the manner in which the Kashmiri Pandits were forced to leave their homes, their State of Kashmir and settle elsewhere. Aren't they part of the State of J&K?
Shouldn't they be allowed, under the Constitution of India, a life of DIGNITY, and Fraternity as well as the Right of residence in their own State? Why has NO effort been made to get these people back to their rightful State?
The way the regressive forces, the Taliban is functioning in the Valley, is it possible for the culture and music, to flourish? The original inhabitants of Kashmir, the Pandits are also forced to stay out because of these fringe elements ruling the State and not allowing them to settle down.
The Panchayat members are being killed there in the name of progressive views. How long can the people of a democratically ruled State of India take all this lying down? The CM although a progressive young and dynamic person should show he means business and stand up for the rights of the oppressed in his State. The Talibanis, the fringe and regressive elements should not be allowed to hold the fray. The people's aspirations should be uppermost. Then only can we see the real fruits of development reaching Kashmir. Aman and shanti can prevail only if there is peace in the minds of the people, their creative talent is allowed to fructify and their is no fear of 'lumpen elements'
Lets wait for that to happen - let not there be an illusion of calm and prosperity in J&K.
Kashmir is indeed a paradise and any attempt to thwart its cultural traditions can be counter productive. Let Kashmir be as beautiful intellectually, as its cultural heritage and its natural beauty.
Cheers to that sentiment and to the brave and gutsy girl members of Pragaash!