A Republic Day with 'duties'

by Monday, January 26, 2015 2 comments
An average Indian remembers only three things about our constitution. First-its the reason we celebrate Republic Day, second-we have fundamental rights and third-there are laws.

After good 67 years of independence the term 'Fundamental  Duties' is still a puzzle to a lot of people equaling the number of those ransacking their fundamental "rights". Frankly speaking how many fundamental duties do you remember?

The point here is not to lecture about fundamental duties. Its about being more enlightened and responsible towards our nation and society. Duties are not to bind you to law and order, but like any religious manuscript they aim at making one a better human. Remember an old TV advertisement about cleanliness - "Janwar banna aasaan hai, par kya insaan bane rehna itna mushkil hai?". As it turns out yes, its difficult. In a bid to achieve personal excellence we all have left some of these duties way behind and provide a cold shoulder to anyone who talks about change of character.

Republic DayLets take a look on the current state of some of the fundamental duties in India:

  1. Abiding by the Constitution and respecting its ideals and institutions, the National Flag and the National Anthem
    "Laws are made to be broken and if caught there is always a way out."
    "National flag and national anthem are to be used only in schools and on Republic or Independence day. For the rest of the days, who cares?"

  2. Cherishing and following the noble ideals which inspired our national struggle for freedom
    "Freedom struggle is only for the textbooks and on the walls of government offices. We are an independent nation now and the freedom fighters are history. And we are patriotic enough, we watch patriotic movies."

  3. Upholding and protecting the sovereignty, unity and integrity of India, promoting harmony and the spirit of common brotherhood amongst all the people of India
    "What!? Sorry boss! when it comes to me or my religion it does not matter to whom I am talking or what I am doing. Even my god-man baba says he's above all. I can forward messages hurting religious sentiments, I can block roads, break traffic rules and even engage in stone pelting. I can do much more. What's the sense of sitting and talking things over? What's law and order? Its religion."

  4. Renouncing practices derogatory to the dignity of women
    "Every thing that happens to a women is only because of her. They provoke men to do bad things. They are increasing competition for men."
    "MMSes and photographs are good for TRP."

  5. Valuing and preserving the rich heritage of our composite culture
    "I have my right to freedom. I can litter around, write on the walls, add to the beauty of monuments by spitting. And who is watching?"
    "Swacch Bharat Abhiyan is a political propaganda. Nothing will change"

  6. Protecting and improving the natural environment including forests, lakes, rivers and wild life, and having compassion for living creatures
    "I don't have time for my own problems, when should I care about the environment?"
    "The government is not able to do anything for saving flora and fauna. What difference can I make?"
    "Public transport? Its so hot, humid and dirty there. I'll be better off in my car alone with the A/C on. And the best part is that petrol is cheaper again. Acche din aa gaye!"

  7. Developing the scientific temper, humanism and the spirit of inquiry and reform; striving towards excellence in all spheres of individual and collective activity so that the nation constantly rises to higher levels of endeavour and achievement
    "What ever the religion says is right. We had planes in the age of 'Veds' and 'Ramayan'."
    "Jo jaisa hai waise hi rehne do. Apna dimag mat lagao!"
    "Lets purchase the project from market. Who will do all this hard work."

  8. Safeguarding public property
    "I pay taxes and I have the full right to use these properties as I like."(Commonly heard in the Indian trains and roadways buses while stealing or breaking something.)
    "In a bid to move this temple from the middle of the road we are in talks to take the playground of the government school across the road."(as said by a respected public representative in the latest case of the temple at Panchwati Circle, Raja Park, Jaipur)
This is nothing special that is required to be mentioned here. All this is readily available to be read and seen in the local and national news. The special thing here is your reaction to such occurrences. Deep down our gut we know that all of this is rubbish and the way such people act is not rational.

 We are Indians, firstly and lastly.
                                                      - Dr. B. R. Ambedkar

As a young Indian its our duty to show such people and ideologies the light of rationale. Turning a blind eye may be a good short term solution, but remember:"You reap what you sow". If you are successful in running away for once, this won't guarantee that you may escape again. Ultimately its a small world and a sole initiation can bring a lot of change.

You can do a wide range of small things like carrying your own garbage until you find a dustbin, follow traffic rules, not forwarding messages that may hurt religious sentiments, respecting our national anthem every time we hear it, not paying bribes to traffic police, keeping your surroundings clean and so on. This list can be endless and still so meaningful. We all struggle in keeping all of our new year resolutions why not do any one such simple thing this whole year for our country and set an example. Unlike other new year resolutions these don't require your full time dedication rather your "presence of mind".

If perfection had been a virtue would god be willing enough to create us?

No doubt that a lot can be done by the authorities. But if perfection had been a virtue would god be willing enough to create us? Why wait forever? Aren't we capable enough to take care of small problems? Will the authorities never do what the masses feel right? Is a well disciplined society an Utopian idea in India?

Lets do something new this Republic day, something that can make us proud of being an Indian and a human being, something that can make us feel pride in celebrating the constitution that gives us our rights. And that lands the ball in your court. Either sit back and enjoy the holiday or wake up from a long hibernation, the choice is yours. Anyway it will always remain a holiday.

Be the change you want to see in the world.
                                                                     - Mahatma Gandhi

Have a very happy Republic Day.

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