[dropcap color=”#008040″ boxed=”yes” boxed_radius=”8px” class=”” id=””]T[/dropcap]he curse first came when the pride of India, the Indus Valley Civilisation, 3300–1300 BCE, vanished mysteriously. The cause, allegedly, was the sudden acidification of the waters in the Indus basin, leaving behind a legacy of unbelievable structures, systems, coins, pots et al and, alas, an undeciphered script. To rub salt (and pepper) in the great tragedy, all we can boast of is the fact that 44 of the listed 65 modern sites of that vanished civilization — extending from northwest India to Pakistan and Afghanistan in the Indus River basin–are in India!
Then came hundreds of years of internal fiefdoms, serfdoms, individual empires, sultanates and interline wars in what was a vast land composite in the geographical territory but not in governance. Then came the Turco-Mongols, the Moghuls, and finally, the British traders with military officials — each group with the objective of milking and subjugating a country which was not a country on its own.
Fourty four of the listed 65 modern sites of the vanished civilization in the Indus River basin are in India!
Then, in 1784, even as the Moghul Empire began declining, we had the cruelest possible irony of the local Marathas officially becoming the protectors of the invading emperor in Delhi. It was just a matter of time before British trading skills, political cunning, and military skills combined with local naïve and treacherous entities.
[dropcap color=”#008040″ boxed=”yes” boxed_radius=”8px” class=”” id=””]B[/dropcap]y 1857 a considerable part of former Mughal India was under the East India Company’s control. After a crushing defeat in the war of 1857–1858 which he nominally led, the last Mughal, Bahadur Shah Zafar, was deposed by the British East India Company and exiled in 1858. Through the Government of India Act 1858, the British Crown assumed direct control of the territories held in our country by East India Company in the form of the new British Raj. In 1876 the British Queen Victoria assumed the title of Empress of India.
Came the blessing— in the form of many successive freedom fighters of India who were willing to sacrifice life for liberty. After nearly a century of violence and non-violence, often interspersed, India was blessed with freedom attained on August 15, 1947.
Had it not been for Sardar Patel’s foresight and forceful persuasion, India would have become a balkanized State, and an anarchic amalgamation of parallel lines.
But the curse soon came back. India was partitioned on the basis of the religious majority in British India provinces and on the individual preference of 562 Princely States which had long ruled over their royal States, small and big, by paying obeisance and “security insurance premiums” to their British masters. The first create permanent hostility between our two predominant religious communities. The second British “googly” has left our very own land of paradise in suspended animation and terrorism for most of the 70 years since freedom was attained by India the country. And had it not been for Sardar Patel’s foresight and forceful persuasion, India would have become a balkanized State, and an anarchic amalgamation of parallel lines.
[dropcap color=”#008040″ boxed=”yes” boxed_radius=”8px” class=”” id=””]B[/dropcap]ut despite securing for ourselves a strenuously debated Constitution, its over-emphasis on human rights, almost unrestricted fundamental rights and freedom of speech and expression in a lazy and cumbersome legal-cum-judicial system, the country’s governance system has made us the victims of the devil’s curse once again.
A conspicuous failure has been the absence of every Union Government to legislate on every element of our Constitution’s Article 51A which goes a follows:
“51A. Fundamental duties. — It shall be the duty of every citizen of India (a) to abide by the Constitution and respect its ideals and institutions, the National Flag and the National Anthem;
(b) to cherish and follow the noble ideals which inspired our national struggle for freedom;
(c) to uphold and protect the sovereignty, unity, and integrity of India;
(d) to defend the country and render national service when called upon to do so;
(e) to promote harmony and the spirit of common brotherhood amongst all the people of India transcending religious, linguistic and regional or sectional diversities; to renounce practices derogatory to the dignity of women;
(f) to value and preserve the rich heritage of our composite culture;
(g) to protect and improve the natural environment including forests, lakes, rivers, and wildlife, and to have compassion for living creatures;
(h) to develop the scientific temper, humanism and the spirit of inquiry and reform;
(i) to safeguard public property and to abjure violence;
(j) to strive towards excellence in all spheres of individual and collective activity so that the nation constantly rises to higher levels of endeavor and achievement
(k) who is parent or guardian to provide opportunities for education to his child, or as the case may be, ward between the age of six and fourteen years.”(Added by the 86th Constitutional Amendment Act, 2002.)
[dropcap color=”#008040″ boxed=”yes” boxed_radius=”8px” class=”” id=””]A[/dropcap]s a result of the above failure, we have lots of politicians and their student uttering ugly filth about our Army Chief and the Prime Minister also. In fact, our previous Prime Minister, Manmohan Singh, had the guttural gumption to describe the demonetization of November 2016 as an “organized loot and legal plunder” without evoking any sort of anger and disgust among fellow Indian citizens. Worse, if possible, was the Vice President of the Congress Party describing our Army’s surgical strike on Pakistan in September 2016 as khoon ki dalali (trading in blood). Pray what kind of a nation are we living in? Are we then truly cursed or should we consider ourselves as blessed to have such frank top political leaders?
Yes, the political parties can be held as guilty for leading us to a cursed situation. And there are just too many of them. Wikipedia says that “As of September 2016, the total number of parties registered was 1761, with seven national, 48 state and 1706 unrecognized parties.” And among the 50 recognized State Parties as on 5th May 2017, there were All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM) and Indian Union Muslim League — bearing blatantly communal names in what is ad nauseam called by the Congress and several parties as a “secular” country. Did Indira Gandhi (dubbed the greatest and most popular leader by President Mukherjee) have that in mind when she introduced the word “secular” in our Constitution’s Preamble through the 42nd Amendment of the Constitution of India enacted in 1976?
With one or two exceptions, all our political parties hold their own self-interest above national interest. That’s why, for instance, the only thing they have rebelled to do for the farmers of the country this year is to waive off their loans — of all of them at one go; and never mind the financial burden it will cause the state. That is why they do so many other acts without applying their mind — whatever they have — to national issues. They must be dubbed as a curse on our nation even as the people follow them with eyes and minds and ears closed.
[dropcap color=”#008040″ boxed=”yes” boxed_radius=”8px” class=”” id=””]A[/dropcap]s a result, we continue to have to deal with an unsustainable population growth, a large poverty-stricken population, a complex and inadequate education system which is a bizarre mix of foreign standards and illiteracy, and among other issues, a cumbersome, lengthy legal-cum-judicial system which is horribly outdated.
We have an economy spoilt by looters, cheaters, and defaulters. Apart from the likes of Vijay Mallya, even our farmers have been found to be cheating. They have been found depositing their zero-interest crop loans in Fixed Deposits of public sector banks and then claiming loan waivers from the government. And worse, we have politicians supporting their cause! In fact, they stop at nothing to get into the news and, if possible, into power.
But it must be admitted that there are pockets in our country who are blessed enough to think differently.
In the end, really, it’s a war between the good and the bad, between the blessed versus the cursed.
1. Text in Blue points to additional data on the topic.
2. The views expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of PGurus.
His freelancing career began in "The Times of India" with a sports article published when he was a month shy of 20 years of age. He was also a regular political affairs columnist first for rediff.com for five years or so and then shifted to sify.com. He also wrote extensively for niticentral.com "till it stopped publication."
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