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India

This Independence Day is different. For the first time in 70 years, the high constitutional positions are all held today by individuals subscribing to a non-Congress ideology.

 

India at 70 has changed radically. It is not as if communal conflagrations did not happen in the past. Communal frenzy has, however, never been expressed with such violence at the level of the individual.

 

As we approach our 71st Independence Day, one cannot help but reflect on where we stand as a nation.

 

Until popular unrest and voter fatigue broke the Congress party’s overwhelming grip on political power for the first time in 1967, India’s political cartography was very similar to what it is today except that the BJP has replaced the Grand Old Party of India to gain virtual monopoly of power.

 

India’s ambitious experiment with freedom of religion has failed. Our insipid brand of secularism, based on states’ active engagement amid stated religious neutrality, has led to the appeasement of a few, but empowers none and brings injustice for all.

 

The Prime Minister makes an interesting observation in his Mann ki Baat program this month. Evoking the 75 th anniversary of the Quit India movement, he calls upon the Indian citizens to imbibe the message of this great political event. He says:

 

Article 80(3) of the Constitution authorises the President of India to nominate (on the advice of the Government) 12 members to the Rajya Sabha. These members are people from outside the realm of politics and elections.

 

“Modijikemukablemein koi nahinhai (Modi has no challenger).” Thus spake Nitish Kumar, chief minister of Bihar, the neo-convert to the NDA camp when asked about the possible outcome of the 2019 Lok Sabha elections. But come 2019 or even earlier, the Chief Minister may have to eat his words if not his hat.

 

The first thing to know when talking about privacy in India is that a majority of the population does not always understand what it means.

 

It took less than 15 hours for Nitish Kumar to resign and return as Chief Minister of Bihar with his old partners as his new allies.

 


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