Patriots, prepare yourselves for the coming Second Struggle for Independence in India.
The First Struggle for Independence culminated in political independence in 1947 and the end of British rule. It was followed by promulgation of our Constitution in 1950 which gave our people the political rights and civil liberties contained in Part 3 , called the Fundamental Rights ( like the Bill of Rights in the U.S. Constitution ), viz. freedom of speech, liberty, equality, freedom to practise one's religion, etc
However, 69 years of experience has shown to the vast majority of our people that without economic independence and economic security, political independence and civil rights are sham and illusory. Freedom of speech and liberty have no meaning for a hungry man. Formal equality has no meaning to a poor person.
There is massive poverty in our country, and poverty is destructive of all rights. There is massive unemployment, widespread malnutrition ( the official figures are that about 50% of our children are malnourished ), almost total absence of healthcare and good education for our poor people, who comprise over 75% of our population of 1250 million ( see my articles ' Malnutrition in India ', ' Healthcare in India ', ' Unemployment in india ', etc on my blog justicekatju.blogspot.in ).
Long term job security has largely disappeared even in the organized sector of the Indian economy, being replaced by contract employment for a fixed short tenure, making a mockery of the Industrial Disputes Act, 1947 and its humanitarian interpretation by the Indian Supreme Court. Unemployment insurance and old age pension are non existent.Skyrocketing prices, widespread well entrenched corruption, discrimination against women, minorities and the depressed sections, continuing farmers suicides, is all a classic mixture for a social explosion which is bound to take place unless something drastic is done.
It is.now evident that the political rights and civil liberties won by our First Struggle for Independence are insufficient. The present Indian Constitution has clearly exhausted itself. It has resulted in unchecked corporate power, massive deprivations and inequalities, widespread poverty,growing social insecurity, and lack of decent education, healthcare and housing for our masses. Freedom of speech, liberty, and equality ' guaranteed ' by our Constitution are seen to be a cruel hoax by our poor people.
In this situation Constitutional democracy is really impossible. A person on the subsistence level, as a vast majority of Indians are, can hardly make any effective use of his civil and political rights, as he cannot participate in anything even remotely equal to the rich in the polity of the nation in view of the savage economic inequalities prevailing in India today..
This therefore calls for a Second Struggle for India's Independence, whose aim must be to give our masses decent lives.
In perhaps the greatest speech of the twentieth century delivered in his State of the Union Address in January\1944, President Franklin Roosevelt called for a Second Bill of Rights in the U.S. Constitution ( see online and on Youtube ). Roosevelt explained that the original Bill of rIghts had clearly become inadequate to the new needs of American society. Now it was incumbent to provide for job security, decent incomes for those who work, old age pension, healthcare and good education, etc and abolish poverty, unemployment and vulnerability in illness and old age, and it was for the government to arrange all this. " A necessitous man is not a free man " said Roosevelt in his address, and added that old interpretations to the Constitutional rights were inadequate, since new conditions demanded new interpretations.
Patriots, so prepare yourselves for this coming struggle. It will not be easy, for there are powerful vested interests which wish to keep India poor and backward, and who will oppose you at every step.
It will be a long, arduous struggle, and great sacrifices will have to be made. Many of you ( me certainly, as I am already old ) will not live to see the day when a new prosperous India emerges, with its people enjoying a high standard of living. But your reward and consolation will be that you will have contributed to this great historical endeavour.
So, as Winston Churchill said, quoting the Bible ( when Nazi Germany was about to attack England in 1940 ) " Arm yourselves, and be ye men of valour ".