Friday, February 25, 2011
Some of my Egyptian and Tunisian colleagues here tell me that I’m lucky to be an Indian…..Indian as in belonging to India, the world largest ‘working democracy’, India as in a country where you have rights to equality and freedom of speech and thought.
I had goosebumps ( I already have bad skin…but now I’m talking about the national pride kinda goosebumps) and was inspired to go back to one the subjects I hated back in school –‘civics’- to brush up on the 6 fundamental rights that I as an Indian have:
1.The right to equality:
Right.We’re all equally fed up with the system……with the corrupt cops, corrupt bureaucrats, corrupt judiciary and of course our consistently rotten politicians.We are all equally strong in condemning and bitching about the ‘system’ and we’re all equally good in acting impotent and doing nothing about it.
2.The right to freedom
Right again….as long as your freedom doesn’t cross roads with the freedom of a politically better connected idiot, to do anything he/she feels like.
3.The right to freedom from exploitation
Think of it this way…the previous right mentioned gives some guys the right to exploit..and they use it pretty well….so maybe we have a lil conflict of interest thingy on this one.
4.The right to freedom of religion
No comments.Any comment on religion in India is too sensitive……(so much for freedom of speech)!
5.Cultural and educational rights
I’m not really sure why culture and education were clubbed together.I suppose the fathers of our constitution assumed that the more educated that people got, the more their culture would grow..and vice versa.The term ‘cultural rights’ itself seems to be bit of an oxymoron…..what exactly is a ‘cultural’ right?Every regional culture in India has a bit of chauvinism embedded in its psyche….the mallus secretly feel that they are culturally superior to the the tamilians and vice versa….ditto with marathis vs gujjus, punjabis vs bengalis…..Maybe it is the right to this cultural chauvinism that this part of the constitution refers to?!
Education…well if you have money you have a absolutely have a right to good education…otherwise you have the explicit right to struggle through a competitive system to educate yourself!!
6.The right to constitutional remedies
Now even the not so bright ones among us (writer included) would realize that the first five ‘rights’ aren’t worth a single paisa as long as the last one is not exercisable in a proper way…..and there lies the whole problem with India.Basically right no:6 means that if some goon has done some wrong to you ,you can go for legal recourse – the police station or the courts.Ask any ‘aam aadmi’ who has some experience in seeking such legal recourse and you will hear repetitive and familiar stories of how the original ‘goons’ finally came out as the lesser evil when compared to the ‘goons’ in khaki and in black coats.The whole damn system has rotted at all levels, and we’re contributing whole heartedly (You will notice that the tense is ‘present continuous’) to the rot by greasing palms randomly to make sure that our work gets done somehow.Bribing someone is considered so natural that nobody really thinks of it as a major wrong….unless of course the ‘bribee’ is making unrealistically high demands!
The right to set things right
Obviously not part of the official 6 ‘rights’…but we do have this right…if only we used it in the right way at the right time!!For all my congenitall acquired sarcasm, I realize that compared to many places, India is like heaven on earth..but the problem is while other countries are crying hoarse for reform, we don’t realize the strength of the freedom and democracy we have….maybe we will do so only when we lose it……or have we already???