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Monday, April 15, 2013

An inequal society!

Fresh from the 122nd birth anniversary celebrations of the founder of the constitution of the nation, I wonder whether all that was said in the honor of the great man indeed came from the heart. If it had, perhaps the society would not be where it is and the nation would have been much ahead of its present ranking in the international human development index.

Baba Saheb Ambedkar lived and died for a singular cause, that of equality amongst human beings. For him this cause was bigger than any other including the freedom of the nation and rightly so, citizens of a nation that practised inequality perhaps had no right to be free when the freedom that they desired was not meant to be shared equally. For Gandhi, the cause of freedom was supreme followed very closely by the cause of emancipation of dalits. He also believed in the equality of mankind, a concept as alien for his followers as the liberation of our nation was then for the ruling britishers.

If it was not for the conviction and humanity of Gandhi and Ambedkar, perhaps the lives of dalits would not have improved to the extent it has, if only in the literate pockets of urban areas. Yes, the emancipation of the lower classes is still a mirage in our nation of over a billion souls.  

Social inequalities will exist wherever societies exist. Yet the extent of inequalities and differences that we witness in the hindu society of ours is indeed unacceptable.  Inequality in rank, hierarchy and social status often overshadow the age old caste based differences, especially amongst the educated classes and that leads us to the fundamental question of whether our educational system indeed meets the requirements of the twenty first century. And the answer apparently is a big NO.

Mere parroting of good intentions will not take the nation forward, nor will routine remembrance of personalities who showed us the true path in the past. Yet it is sad that mere rhetoric is what one witnesses on all such occasions that should indeed instil in all of us an enhanced feeling of national pride. Almost a decade and a half ago I had been actively and intensely involved in organizing an annual river based festival that was appropriately christened as the festival of national pride, and now I wonder whether mere festivals can indeed rejuvenate national pride in a populace devoid of the same. Pride follows accomplishment and accomplishment alone, and not mere noises that one makes about accomplishments of the future.

A true homage to Baba Saheb and also to the father of the nation would be to ceaselessly strive for establishing a just and equitable society in a reasonable time frame. The past almost seven decades of nothingness if merely wished away would lead to many more decades of a stationary existence and our impeccable constitution would continue to fail to have a sobering effect on the nincompoop governance machinery that we inherited and are continuing with.


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