Protection for Marginalised & Right to Dissent: This Independence Day, Voices from Across the Country Share Their Idea of India
From access to the justice system to an increased emphasis on constitutional values, here's what students, professionals and change makers News18 spoke to had to say about their idea of India.
A kitemaker makes 'tricoloured' kites ahead of Independence Day, at a shop in Jammu. (Image: PTI)
New Delhi: As India celebrates its 73rd year of Independence, a lot has changed. The country has moved beyond rudimentary technology. We are now aiming for the moon. Our traditions have remained intact, while our aims have gone higher. The political ambitions of a country, which once used to be called the land of snake charmers, have renewed under a robust young electorate. The aspirations of this young country are soaring high.
On this momentous occasion, News18 spoke to students, professionals and change makers from various background about their idea of India. Here’s what they had to say.
Ramandeep Singh, farmer rights activist
“An India that serves its farmers well is my idea of India. According to the input costs, a farmer should get the right price for his crops. He should have a respectable income. Even if you can’t fully implement the recommendations of the Swaminathan Report, the country should ensure he should have a decent income. The farmer's children should be able to enjoy good education and avail a decent education. In the race towards a new India, we should not forget the old India. Farmers are not interested in Hindutva or any form of politics of religion. He only hopes that he receives his rightful due.
Sai Balaji, President, Jawaharlal Nehru University Students Union
“The idea of India lies somewhere between Ambedkar, Periyar, Savitribai Phule, Mahatma Gandhi and Bhagat Singh. Unfortunately, today there are people in Parliament who believe in (Nathuram) Godse - Gandhi's assassin. The idea of India that I envision is one of equality, justice, liberty - a country that fights oppression with the Constitution. Today, our Constitution, on a being destroyed on a daily basis. The battle to fight justice is portrayed as a crime. Today's India is the India we don’t want.
I want my India to be a place where people like Rohit Vemula don’t have to be institutionally murdered for what they believe, for what they are.”
Nidish Anand, Dalit businessman
“In the India that exists today, ground realities are different from what actually exists. Make in India was launched in the country as the dream idea of the government, following which the GST regime was introduced. The industry today is not very satisfied with how these programs have fared. The required change for growth and development is yet to be achieved. My idea of India is that of a country that is able to harness its fullest commercial potential.
When young entrepreneurs and businessmen go to banks and NBFC, they should be given working capitals and loans to run their businesses. They ought to be further encouraged to manufacture in India. The proper implementation of many national schemes is what new India's businessmen hope for. The process of availing the benefits under a scheme is another thing businesses are looking forward to. Our country will become a big economy when financial institutions trust us. That is the India I dream of as a businessman."
Eenakshi Ganguly, child rights activist, Haq Foundation
“I envision an India where there is a right to dissent, where there is a place for marginalised voices, where nationalism is not defined by religion. As a child rights activist, I wish children grow up in that India. I wish they grow up understanding non-discrimination and tolerance. Children must perceive and live by these principles.
My idea of India is to be a country that has faith in the youth and invests in them. Don’t think they are not watching or thinking. We may take their time- but they will get there.’
Sanjay Gupta, anti-drug and anti-trafficking activist, Director Chetna NGO
“It is the 73rd year of Independence, and as a country India has come far ahead. However, there are a few things that still restrict our growth and development. My idea of India is to move past those challenges.
As a country we have to think beyond corruption, any form of slavery and any form of discrimination. We have to think beyond the rampant consumption of drugs. These practices push back the country’s progress. Earlier, we were enslaved by the British. Today we are enslaved by temptation, need and greed. Child labour, malnutrition, trafficking and drugs have enslaved us in a free India.”
Mehmood Pracha, Senior Advocate
“My idea of India begins at the point when justice reaches the weakest person in the country. But today it is just the opposite of this. Justice is collectively available to people who can afford it. There is no access to justice for the weak and the poor.
People who are rich are able to invest in a lawyer and get their cases presented in the most effective manner. Our judiciary is not untouched by bias. The division of the haves and have nots is most accentuated in the judiciary also. There are lawyers who are known to be result oriented because they charge a hefty fees. There are firms that guarantee results for money. The poor of the country are being pushed to the Lok Adalats and alternative dispute resolution methods like mediation. The increasing popularity of these methods tell us that the one whole side of justice is inaccessible to some.”
Sunil Kumar Suman, tribal rights activist
“The Adivasis are a community who have kept our forests safe. But have we been able to keep them safe? My idea of India is one that also looks after its marginalised tribal population. The tribal population of India has contributed a lot to the growth and development of the country. They have contribute their hard labour and sweat in coal mines, tea gardens, agricultural lands etc. They have played their part in the story of states like Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Assam to name a few. What the Adivasi faces is what constitute today’s India. I envision an India where the Adivasi is not stuck between the conflict of the Naxals and the security forces.
In the past few years, there have been so many fake cases against Adivasi people. Even children have been framed as Naxals and taken to police stations. If their lives are saved, then humanity will be saved. The only hope for the Adivasis of India is good education. Those educated must empower them, while those educated among the Adivasis must help spread the message of schooling, nutrition and the need to engage in their own social upliftment.”
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