Society

Ek Bharat, Shreshth Bharat

ABSTRACT

Since inception of the Constitution, through its Preamble, “We, the people”, we have solemnly resolved that Unity and Integrity of the Nation should be assured, and hence the aim towards achieving One India Excellent India is not the duty only of Government and policy makers, rather “We” i.e. all citizens are under obligation to unite together to reach the goal of “Ek Bharat Shreshth Bharat”.

The author, through this paper tries to mark out the elements and factors responsible which are not letting the achievement of above enshrined goal. Beside other factors, the communal tension arising at various places among various religious groups and insecurity with respect to misuse of gender discriminating laws are most prevalent factors which are grossly affecting the integrity of excellent India.

It is to be taken into consideration that communal tension can be cured by adopting a Uniform Civil Code, which may not discriminate among the personal laws of other religion and every individual will be same in the eyes of law, be it of any religious belief. Similarly Misuse of Gender Discriminating laws which were enacted with the object to provide justice and security to females should not jeopardize the male sect and it should be implemented cautiously.

Thus, the paper aims to highlight the factors which will ultimately make “Ek Bharat, Shreshth Bharat”.

PROLOGUE

This is my state that is your state these are the conceptions of narrow souls, to the liberal minded the whole country is a family and this is what we call “Ek Bharat”.

India is a vast peninsula with a total land area of about 33 million sq. kms, and a population exceeding 125 crores. Its length from North to South is about 3,200 kilometers and breadth from East to West is nearly 3,000 kilometers. It provides almost every type of climate. India is a plural society. It is repository of multiplicity of cultures. Indian civilization, stretching over five thousand years, provides the most distinctive feature in the coexistence of unity in diversity.

Herbert Risley, Census Commissioner[1] has rightly observed, “Beneath the manifold diversity of physical and social type, language, custom and religion which strike the observer in India there can still be discerned a certain underlying uniformity of life from the Himalayas to Cape Comorin”.

The more we change, the more we remain the same, that’s the magic of Indian culture.

India has never lost the ideal of unity. From time immemorial it has found noblest expressions in the thoughts of our sages and poets. The entire country is referred to as ‘ Bharata varsha’ and the people are referred to as Bharata ‘Santatih’ (progeny of Bharata) to emphasize the oneness of the country and its people.

India is said to be a synthesis of diverse social and cultural elements and is known for its unity in diversity. The diversity in India is unique. It is only in India where the people profess all the major religions of the world or India is “the epitome of the world”. The vast population is composed of people having diverse creeds, customs, race, color, languages.

The idea of unity of India is inherent in all its historical and sociocultural facts as well as in its cultural heritage. India has one Constitution[2] providing guaranteed rights to people belonging to diverse religious, cultures and languages. The term ‘Preamble’ refers to the preface to the Constitution. The significance of the Preamble lies in its components. It embodies the source of the Constitution i.e., the people of India. The terms sovereign, socialist, secular, democratic, republic in the Preamble suggests the nature of the state.  It very well reflects the dreams and aspirations of the founding fathers of the Constitution. It covers people belonging to all socio-economic strata.

India is a vast country and is considered as a sub-continent for its vastness.  During the Medieval age the writers called this land as Hindustan or the land of the Hindus. The extra ordinary characteristic of this land is that in-spite of all diversity in different fields-physical, social, linguistic, cultural and religious, there is a fundamental thread of unity in the history of India.

The following are major diversities in India which make India an incredible India:-

Physical Diversity:

Undivided India is as large as Europe without Russia. India contains about one fifth of the total population of the whole world. Geographically India can be divided into four regions. The first is the Himalayan region The second region is the great and big Northern Plains .The third region comprised of the plateau of the Central India and the Deccan and the fourth one is the region between the Arabian Sea and the Western Ghats known as the Konkan up to Goa beyond which it is known as Kanara or Karnataka. Thus, the physical features of the country with its numerous rivers and lofty mountains favour a speculative bent of mind among the people living in these geographical regions. This geographical feature promoted the growth of composite culture of the country.

Diversity in Climate:

India is a big tropical country and is famous for its diverse climatic features. The extreme diversity of physical features presents different kinds of climatic conditions for the inhabitants. India has high mountains, and deserts, plateaus, fertile plains, rivers, valleys and vast sea coasts. There are also varieties of temperature and climate in this country. India is home to an extraordinary variety of climate regions, ranging from tropical in the south to temperate and alpine in the Himalayan north, where elevated regions receive sustained winter snowfall. The Nation’s climate is strongly influenced by the Himalayas and the Thar Desert.[3]

Racial Diversity:

Race is a social concept, a group of people who share similar and distinct physical characteristics.[4] [5]“A race is a large biological human grouping with a number of distinctive, inherited characteristics which vary within a certain range.” A race is a group of people with a set of distinctive physical features such as skin, color, type of nose, form of hair etc. Indians are very-very different from each other. We are majority Hindus but we have the second largest population of Muslims in the world. Parsis left their homeland of Iran about hundreds of years ago just so that they could practice Zoroastrianism in peace, here in India.

“We may have different religions, different languages different coloured skin but we all belong to one race.”[6]

Linguistic Diversity:

 1961 Census listed as many as 1,652 languages and dialects. Since most of these languages are spoken by very few people, the subsequent census regarded them as spurious but the 8th Schedule [7]of the Constitution of India recognizes 22 languages.

It is said that India is a “Veritable Tower of Babel”. In the words of A.R. Desai “India presents a spectacle of museum of tongues”. But all these languages are rich in literature.

Religious Diversity:

Religion in India is characterized by a diversity of religious beliefs and practices. Throughout India’s history, religion has been an important part of country’s culture. India is not religiously a homogeneous State even though nearly 80 per cent of the population profess Hinduism. India is a land of multiple religions. Here we find followers of various faiths, particularly of Hinduism, Islam, Christianity, Sikhism, Buddhism, Jainism Zoroastrianism. We know that Hinduism is the dominant religion of India which is professed by 80.05 per cent of the total population.[8].

Caste Diversity:

India is a country of castes. Caste or Jati refers to a hereditary, endogamous status group practicing a specific traditional occupation.

Diversity is always a boon. India has made great progress because its various people do things in their own way. India is interesting because it is diverse. It is because it has always been multicultural, multi lingual and multi religious. Despite these positive aspects, India also faces many challenges because this diversity sometimes creates disparity among Indians and when it creates disparity it must be curtailed.

CHALLENGES AND REMEDIES:

Linguistic Diversity Aspect:

In India we find a number of languages. India has also been called a “Tower of Babel”. This multilingual nature of the country affects every aspect of her national life. In 1950, the States in India were reorganized on linguistic basis. As a result, the domiciles of a particular state speak a particular language. At present the language problem has become so acute that it has posed a major threat to national integration. The evils of linguism are as follows:

  • Increasing Regionalism and Parochialism
  • Formation of Regional Political Parties
  • Persecution of the Linguistic Minorities
  • Demand for Separate States
  • Erosion of National Feeling
  • Inter-State Border Dispute

Following measures may be taken for the eradication of tensions between different linguistic groups.

  • Development of a National Language
  • Development of Common Script
  • Ban on Political Parties and other Organisations
  • Beside all these, the Sarkaria Commission[9] was appointed to examine the problem of languages in India. The commission made a couple of recommendations for the solution of the problem.
  • First, it suggested that the styles, forms and expression of English along with other regional languages are to be retained in the process of development of official language.
  • Secondly, the three language formula, such as regional language, Hindi and English should be properly implemented.

Gender Determination Aspect:

“Let us give a salute to the late emperor of India, Iltutamish; for being the first ever king of the world, to transfer his empire to his daughter Rajia; even though he had sons.” This is a strong example of women empowerment, in the deep past.

In order to combat the persistent gender determination from society and to bring woman to the centre stage of development by ensuring their better participation in the developmental efforts of the nation, the following steps must be taken:-

  • Compulsory Education
  • Gainful Employment
  • Credit facilities
  • Action against women violence
  • Formation of Self-Help Groups
  • Mental Revolution

Apart from these measures, provisions for financial assistance during emergency, maternity leave, provisions of crèches, provisions for part-time jobs, special arrangement for transportation from office to residence and vice versa etc. should be made available by both the public as well as the private sector. Such Provisions should not be merely exercised on pen and paper but must be implemented effectively. The problem of gender disparity can be solved to some extent provided all the above measures are given serious attention not only in theory but also in practice. The ongoing process of globalization, liberalisation[10] and privatization will be a grand success with the attainment of perfect gender equality.

Gender Discriminating Laws:

Discrimination based on gender or sex is a common civil rights violation. Discrimination on the basis of gender takes many forms including sexual harassment, pregnancy discrimination and unequal pay for women who do the same job as men. Sexual harassment is one of the forms of sexual discrimination which typically involves unwelcome sexual advances, request for sexual favors and other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature. Equal treatment for men and women under the law is necessary for women and girls to realize their full potential and enjoy equal rights and opportunities with men.

Although socially women have been at a disadvantage, Indian laws are tilted towards women to overcome the prevalent social disparity. Hon’ble Supreme Court enacted specific legislations for women:

  • The Immoral Traffic (Prevention) Act[11]
  • The Dowry Prohibition Act, 1961[12]
  • The Incident Representation of Women (Prohibition) Act, 1986
  • Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act, 2005
  • The Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Act, 2013
  • The Criminal Law (Amendment) Act, 2013

If a husband commits adultery he will be jailed but a woman cannot be jailed for adultery and neither will she be punished by the courts. There is no recognition of sexual molestation of men and rarely the police stations lodge an FIR; men are considered the culprit by default even if it was the women that committed sexual abuse against men. Both men and women are equal in the eyes of law. Male and female both are equally important for wheels of progress. For the protection of one, if we violate the rights of others then it is not possible to make an incredible India.

Religious Diversity Aspect:

The Constitution of India declares the nation to be a secular republic that must uphold the rights of citizens to freely worship and propagate any or no religion or faith[13], [14]. The Constitution of India also declares the right to freedom of religion to be a fundamental right and abolished the practice of untouchability[15]. The citizens are free to adopt any profession and move in any part of the country. Untouchability has been declared to be an offence. Articles 27 – 30 [16] dealing with the right to freedom of religion make India a secular state. The Indian Constitution has made a notable contribution to the secularization of Indian life, in this connection caste system got a blow and the views in regard to caste based untouchability also underwent a change. Various laws like The Widow Remarriage Act, 1856, Caste Disabilities Removal Act, 1850, Special Marriage Act, 1872 were enacted which attacked the orthodox beliefs of the Indian people. In modern times the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955, the Hindu Succession Act, 1956, the Hindu Widow Remarriage Act, 1956, the Maintenance Act, the Adoption of Children Act[17] have led to the secularization of the Hindu institutions of marriage and family.

PERSONAL LAWS  AND UNIFORM CIVIL CODE:

In this context Uniform Civil Code in India is a debate to replace the personal laws based on the scriptures and customs of each major religious community in the country. The Supreme Court for the first time, directed the Parliament to frame a Uniform Civil Code in the year 1985. In a case popularly known as Shah Bano Case[18] a penurious muslim women claimed for maintenance from her husband under Section 125 of Code of Criminal Procedure after she was given triple talaq from him. The Hon’ble court held that Article 44 of the Indian Constitution has remained a dead letter. The Uniform Civil Code has once again come to the force in the Parliament recently. In a recent judgement in July, 2014, Supreme Court termed the ‘Fatwas’ as illegal and said that it has no place in independent India and cannot be used to punish the innocent. The verdict triggered a debate on muslim personal laws and the necessity of having Uniform Civil Code. Some people say that the Uniform Civil Code interferes with Article 25[19] which guarantees citizens Right to Freedom of Religion but Article 25 clearly says that “nothing in the Article shall affect the operation of any existing law or prevent the state from making any law regulating or restricting any financial, economic, political or other sector activity which may be associated with religious practice.” Like many developed countries India needs a Uniform Civil Code, so that citizens across various religions have the same set of rules to adhere to. This will do good not only to the plight of women among muslims but also among Hindus and other communities.

People today think that the Uniform Civil Code supersedes the rights of citizens to be governed under different personal laws based on their religion or ethnicity. Right to worship or to religion is not to be confused with personal issues relating to inheritance, marriage, etc. which are secular in nature. Uniform civil code should derive from the constitutional rights accorded to every citizen and not from any religious or traditional custom. If the Constitution says that all citizens are equal in the eyes of law, then all their rights regarding marriage, divorce, inheritance, etc. should be equal and uniform. Goa is the only state in the country which has a Uniform Civil Code.

Merits Of Uniform Civil Code

If a Uniform Civil Code is enacted and enforced:

  • It would help and accelerate national integration;
  • Over-lapping of laws could be avoided;
  • Litigation due to personal laws would decrease;
  • Sense of oneness and the national spirit would be roused; and
  • The country would emerge with new force and power to face any odd finally defeating the communal and the diversionist forces.

Achievement of a Uniform Civil Code will make Indian society more homogenous.

ROLE OF DIFFERENT SECTORS :

As our Hon’ble Prime Minister said “If 125 crore people work together, India will move forward 125 crore steps” in this connection under Make in India I would like to mention how different sectors are acting as helping hands in the development of India because development is the only way by which India, a developing India will become “Ek bharat Shreshtha bharat”.

Role of Judiciary and Legislature in Development of India:

The Hon’ble Supreme Court of India issued various guidelines for the development of India. The Legislature has enacted many laws for the same. The Pollution Prevention Act[20] focused on industry, government and public attention on reducing the amount of pollution through cost-effective changes in production and operation. The Environmental Protection Act, 1986 was enacted with the objective of providing for the protection and improvement of the environment. In Dust Pollution case (a historic case)[21] 212 stone crushers were shifted out of Delhi to a Crushing Zone set up in Haryana by an order of the Supreme Court on May 15, 1992.Emission daily in the atmosphere has been eliminated. In a landmark case[22] by raising the issue of exploitation of child labour in Sivakasi (Tamil Nadu) match and fireworks factories, more than one million children working in hazardous industries in Tamil Nadu and other States in India were benefitted. Thus ambit of the case was widened to include child labour in the whole country.

The Supreme Court directed all the states to identify children forced into labour and come out with schemes for their rehabilitation. Child labour in hazardous industries has been banned. The Juvenile Justice (Care & Protection of Children) Act, 2000 was amended in 2002 with the U.N. Convention protecting the rights of the child. By inserting Article 21-A[23] in the Constitution of India and by enacting Right to Education Act, 2009 government provides free and compulsory education to all children between the age of 6-14 years. In addition to this, enactment of Right to Information Act, 2005 has now become a weapon in the hands of common people to fight for their rights and powers. The Right to Fair Compensation & Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabiliation & Resettlement Act, 2012 ensures owner of the land for adequate compensation even when his land is taken-over. Recent amendments in The Companies Act, 1956 i.e., the new Companies Act, 2013 highlights the importance of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) which plays a vital role in the development of India. This law will help in controlling frauds and malpractices in private sectors and save the rights and interest of the investors and now the most sensitive issue on which Indian Judicial System has focused is strengthening the law for women safety. For this Government has amended the existing Criminal Law.

Role of Education in Development of India:

Development of Education in India has attained new level after the independence of India. Development of Education in India brought about a transformation and the concept of education got modified. The higher education of India is the 3rd largest in the world.

“In India, innocent and poor children are victims of child labour.”[24]

The free and compulsory education provided to all children upto the age of 14 years will help in minimization of child labour. Mid-day meal scheme[25] is a great step towards the promotion of education.

In recent days education has travelled a long way and thus education system has introduced online education and distance learning in India. It is a major step taken by the education system because Padhega India Tabhi to Badhega India[26]. Children and students are not only the leaders of tomorrow but also today’s partners. Education is recognized as one of the most important and premier aspect of building modern, civilized society. Governing bodies of education like Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE), Council of Indian School Certificate Examination (CISCE), National Open School, University Grants Commission (UGC), All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) and Bar Council of India (BCI) play a vital role in the development of India and in nation building as well.

Role of Information Technology in Development of India:

Information is power and power is information. Information Technology has a great role in development of India. For making India a developed country, we will have to propagate Information Technology in rural India because 70% of India’s population still resides in rural areas. As we know Information Technology is not confined to a definition, it incorporates many things in itself. Beside news, entertainment, personal communication, educational material and other kind of verbal and non-verbal electronic information also comes under this category. If we are talking about development of rural India it is not possible without development of agricultural output. As we know, profit is a principal concern of rural people and maximization of profit may be possible through the help of Information Technology. In present circumstances there is an enormous need to know about pesticides and manures. There is also need to develop the effective irrigation system. Though many NGOs are working, schemes have also been launched by the government for rural people to minimize the pathetic situation. In this connection Tamil Nadu extends the process of Interactive Multimedia Compact Disc (IMCD). It has proved to be a valuable tool for rural development.

Many States in India have implemented E-Governance projects. It is also a contribution of Information Technology. Decentralization of power through Information Technology is common phenomenon. The people as well as local leaders are aware about the importance of Information Technology and are using its tools. The penetration of Information Technology is bridging the distinction between have and have-nots. However, latest developments in Information Technology are still not easily accessible to a majority of the rural populace. I believe that technology can provide access to resources that help spur economic, social and environmental sustainability and enhance the quality of life for its constituents. Cisco’s Smart+Connected Communities (S+CC) vision provides clear direction to realize a smart, connected and greener world: from office building and appliances to hospitals and schools. Citizens and businesses will enjoy unprecedented levels of collaboration, productivity and economic growth without compromising the environment. Thus Information Technology sector has a great influence on the development of India in each and every sector.

Government Schemes and Projects:

In this sequence the Government of India has come up with slew of schemes from time to time which play a very significant role in the development of an individual and society. Some of them are:

  • Banking for the pooreste. The Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yojna[27] which will give each family a bank account with a debit card and an insurance cover of Rs.1 lakh. Economic development must benefit the poor.
  • Adopt a villagee. The Sansad Aadarsh Gram Yojna[28] to usher improvements in health, sanitation, greenery and cordinality by adopting a village and turn it into a model village by using development funds.
  • Enter the digital age[29] by introducing E-Governance to connect every citizen through technology. E-Governance is easy governance, effective governance and economic governance. By this we have every village on a broadband platform. It is an idea to change India into an electronically empowered economy. These are the following three major components of digital India:
  • Digital Infrastructure
  • Digital Literacy
  • Digital Delivery of Services
  • Clean India Campaigne., Swachh Bharat Abhiyan[30] launched to provide toilet and sanitation facilities in all rural and remote areas to create public awareness of cleanliness, to clean roads, streets and make India one of the cleanest countries in the world. In this connection Bal Swachhta Mission was also launched to provide nationwide sanitation for schools.
  • Make in India[31] launched to attract the global world to invest and manufacture in India. Make In India has been initiated so that India has ample of job opportunities and economy gets a boost. Make in India seeks to make India a self-reliant country.
  • Pandit Deendayal Upadhyay Shramev Jayate Karyakram[32] has been launched to create an environment conducive to industrial development while also ensuring transparency in the labour sector.
  • Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao Yojna [33]helping in generating awareness and improving the efficiency of delivery of welfare services meant for women with an initial corpus of Rs.100 Cr.
  • HRIDAY (National Heritage City Development and Augmentation Yojna)[34] scheme launched for conserving and preserving the heritage characters of cities.
  • The Clean Ganga Projecte., Namami Ganga Yojna or Integrated Ganga Conservation Mission project basically launched for the purpose of cleaning up the holy river.

NITI AAYOG:

Formation of National Institution of Transforming India (NITI) Aayog was done on 1st January, 2015.[35] The Prime Minister heads the Aayog as its Chairperson.[36] NITI Aayog is like a think-tank of government which aims to involve states in policy making. The new NITI Aayog some-how replaces the 65 years old Planning Commission because it cannot make India competitive in today’s global economy.[37] India is a diversified country and its states are in various phases of economic, social, cultural developments along with their own strengths and weaknesses and in this aspect the concept of “one size fits all” is obsolete.

For transforming “India, a developing India” into “Ek Bharat, Shreshth Bharat” development is the only way. NITI Aayog will seek to provide a critical direction and strategic input into the development process. It adopted bottom-up approach rather than traditional top-down approach. Through technical and strategic advices of experts, NITI Aayog aims to formulate or regulate policies and help in social and economic issues. NITI Aayog formulates plans to the village level as well as the higher level for developments.

CONCLUSION:

On going through various responsible factors and its outcome towards building excellent India, the author comes to the conclusion that the problem does not lie in the system nor in the implementation of policies, rather the real problem lies in the mindset of the people that they are at minimum level of tolerance towards others.

It is to be noted that communal tension among various religious groups mainly arise due to intolerance, which has the tendency to destroy the affinity and unity as a whole. The reason behind it is sense of biasness towards the other. The moment people and citizens of this country start taking their responsibility to make One India as Excellent India, the problem can be curtailed to a large extent. These centuries old problems may be tackled only with diverse set of skills and outlooks along with the ability of people to adapt any circumstance quickly, which the people of India already have in abundance. So the real change is required ‘within’, and the moment this change is adapted the day will not be so far when we can proudly acknowledge our nation as excellent nation, i.e. “Ek Bharat, Shreshth Bharat”.

                                                                                                                                            Jai Hind

By: Supriya Srivastava

[1] Census Commission 1911.

[2] The Constitution of India ,1950.

[3] Chang, J.H.(1967), “The Indian Summer Monsoon”.

[4] “The Race Question”. UNESCO July18, 1950.

[5] Sharma, R.N.; Sharma, R.K. (1997)” Race and Racism”.

[6] Kofi Annan.

[7] Article.344(1) and 351.Bakshi, P.M. ;The Constitution of India, 1950.

[8] Census of 2001.

[9] 1983, R.S. Sarkaria was the chairman.

[10] New Economic Policy 1991.

[11] 1956.

[12] Amended in 1986.

[13] The Constitution of India Article25-28.

[14] The Constitution (Forty-second Amendment) Act, 1976.

[15] Article 17, The Constitution of India,1950.

[16] The Constitution of India,1950.

[17] 1949

[18] Ahmed Khan v. Shah Bano, 1985

[19] The Constitution of India , 1950

[20] The Pollution Prevention Act,1990

[21] M.C. Mehta’s public interest environmental litigation cases

[22] M.C. Mehta’s public interest environmental litigation cases-Child Labour Case

[23] The Constitution of India(86th Amendment) Act, 2002

[24] Malala Yousafzai

[25] August 15,1995. MoHRD

[26] Slogan of Proctor & Gamble India Ltd.

[27] August 28,2014

[28] October 11, 2014

[29] August 21, 2014

[30] October 2, 2014; Birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi

[31] September 25,2014

[32] October 16,2014

[33] July 10,2014

[34] January, 2015. MoUD

[35] Government establishes NITI Aayog to replace planning commission

[36] NITI Aayog being decked up to welcome top functionaries.

[37] http;//www.openthemagzine.com/article

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