Do Something For The Poor Correct Distortions

Once again Independence Day was celebrated. On every Independence Day, in the same manner as this year, various newspapers and magazines start giving articles on Independence and somehow or the other they go back to whether Partition should have taken place, or what could have happened if India had not been Partitioned.
While India’s Partition and the talks that were held with the British are very interesting, not much purpose is served today by discussing whether Partition should have taken place. Partition is now a matter of history, a matter of fact. India and Pakistan have to live as good neighbours and people can give suggestions on how to improve relations.
But more important than that is our internal situation in India. What does Independence means? All the political people and other people in authority  whether they are corporate leaders or people in public life or civil society  they must take a step back and think whether we have worked the Constitution as it was meant to be or over the years from 1952 to now we have slowly distorted every part of the Constitution in such a manner that while we are following it on paper, in reality it is quite different. For instance, the Constitution gives a certain method of how a Government is elected and what the Government is supposed to do.
The Government’s role or business are very clear : that any Government which is elected should lay down the policy  economic, political, social  what is its policy? But the implementation is to be done by the Civil Services. There are IAS officers and other services who have come up the hard way. They have appeared for competitive exams and only the most intelligent people are there. So you have a very competent group of people to implement your policy but are we using them correctly? No. Unfortunately, slowly, the parties that are now getting elected, they are interested in small things not in big things.
No party wants to change the basic anomalies that are taking place in the country. For instance, when Partition took place, unfortunately Mr. Jinnah did it on the basis of religion. Pakistan was made for the Muslims of India. But even on the day that the Partition took place it was clear that there will be more Muslims staying back in India than there would be in Pakistan. Still they did it. What does it show? And why did the Indians who stayed back here, why did they stay back? Because Mahatma Gandhi, Jawaharlal Nehru, Sardar Patel, Maulana Azad gave an assurance that Pakistan may be an Islamic country, but India will remain a secular country. Religion will not be a factor when the Government will deal with the people. Religion is a personal matter  it only means that you are calling god by a different name — whether you call him Bhagwan or Allah or Ishwar or Jesus Christ or Wahe Guru  it doesn’t matter. Have we followed that spirit?
Today unfortunately, I am seeing that if I were a Muslim, which I am not, if I were a Muslim staying in India I would feel let down because I feel the promises made by these great leaders have not been fulfilled by successive Governments. While it is true that we all try to vote to safeguard ourselves, everybody started using us as a voting block or a vote bank as they call it. What is the share  if Muslims are 15 per cent of the population what is their share? In the IAS  2 per cent, in IPS 2 per cent, among corporates, hardly 1 or 2 per cent. What have they got? They have not been treated equally. They are not being given equal opportunities. Education has eluded them. Most of the Muslims are illiterate, uneducated. This is the unfortunate state of affairs.
And to add insult to injury we have a leading Opposition party which always says we are appeasing them, we are giving them too many grants. This is not the reality. The reality is India is a secular country, a socialist country, a democratic country. And it is high time that the present Government or the new one which is going to come in 2014 starts following the Directive Principles of State Policy of the Constitution which are very clearly demarcated. We must work towards that  whichever Government comes in to power in Delhi  it doesn’t matter. But you must follow the Constitution, you must try to do something for the poor, you must try to do something for the people who are students, Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes, women, minorities. Instead of doing that everybody is going the American way or the corporate way. Poverty figures are coming which are making people like me hang their head in shame. I have never seen poverty. But I cannot understand how you start saying that somebody can fill his stomach in five rupees in a day or twelve rupees in a day. It is shameful. The figure is not important; the important thing is we must do something for the poor and we must be seen doing it. Of course, the Congress party has started schemes like MGNREGS and now Food Security. These are not very well structured or very well calculated steps. Too much money is being spent on these schemes. Of course, these are steps in the right direction but there is too much leakage of money in MGNREGS and the Food Security Bill will have such a strong financial requirement that it will not be able to implement it. Again I have to say the Prime Minister himself, the Planning Commission has got the Prime Minister’s most trusted man as the Chief. It is high time  they must make a viable policy  how we can uplift the lowest or poorest of the poor into a middle class. The rich are become richer that is no problem. The country’s GDP also registered a good growth. But the poor have remained where they are. Yes, the middle classes have done well  you have got some glittering things like motor cars, roads, malls, foreign brands etc., but it doesn’t help the man who doesn’t have land. The landless labourer is still a landless labourer, a poor man in a village is still a poor man  he can only see the things mentioned above on TV and feel worse. It is high time to start implementing the Constitution.

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