India must be made Bharat
Sunil Shastri & SK Sharma
attained independence, the then leadership confronted with the problems
of partition and integration of princely states chose not to change the
system of governance then prevailing. Influenced by the perceived
success of Soviet socialism, it also adopted its centralised planning
and a controlled economy. During debates in the Rajya Sabha on September
Dr BR Ambedkar said that the centralised polity will not do good to
anyone. Dr Ram Manohar Lohia, Jai Prakash Narayan and many
others tried to institute political reforms but failed.
2. State of the Nation:
independence our population has grown from 320 to 1000 million! Our
forest cover has gone
down from 75 to 32 million hectares while wasteland has increased from
48 to 130 million hectares. Over 300 million people in over two lakh
villages do not have safe drinking water. Illiteracy has increased from
240 to 420 million, unemployment from 40 to 290 million. Malnutrition
may make our children below the poverty line virtual morons!
Criminalisation of politics and politicising of crime are ugly
realities. Reservations have fostered vote bank politics, further
dividing communities. Most states are facing bankruptcy. Violent
movements are pervasive, corruption endemic.
3. Facing bankruptcy:
India was forced to open its economy. An open economy In a faulty polity
is generating vulgar wealth alongside abject poverty and fostering
pervasive corruption, scams, crime, violence, degradation of land, water
systems and forests leading to starvation deaths, a shame in democracy.
Development economics has only developed poverty! We need Gandhi’s
housewife economics – local governments do housekeeping while the state
handles higher level functions!
4. The logic of democracy
is that the
sovereign people retain local resources at the local level to handle all
local matters such as administration of justice, police, education,
healthcare, land, water systems and forests, and devolve a fraction of
their revenues, one-sixth according to Hindu scriptures, to the state
for higher level functions and coordination, but not to interfere in
local matters. They ensure that their elected and appointed servants are
directly accountable to them, and through a higher level of functionary.
They institute their sovereign right to information, consultation,
participation and referendums. Derived from elementary logic, this
can be said to be the basic structure of universal democracy. While
allotting land to industry, local governments monitor that they create
dignified employment, produce goods and services useful to society,
generate wealth for expansion, and for philanthropy, but not for
ostentatious consumption. This nurtures an egalitarian economic
system, truly capitalism with a human face.
5. Rajiv Gandhi,
opening the dwar of Ram
Lalla, promised that he would institute Ram Raj. The political system
dillydallied and after his assassination promulgated the panchayati raj
amendments that retained effective power with the state and only
decentralised corruption! It too has not been properly implemented.
We need Gandhiji’s Gram Swaraj.
6. Digvijay Singh,
former CM, MP, said in a TV interview that he was convinced that
India needs Gandhi’s Gram Swaraj. He instituted District Governments.
Uma Bharati who succeeded him, announced in the state assembly that
she would institute Ram Raj. KS Sudershan, Head of the Sangh
Parivar through his letter dated April 16, 2003 to People First conveyed
his total support to its analysis and reforms through the referendum
process. In view of consensus across party lines, Gandhiji’s Gram
Swaraj should be instituted without loss of time.
7. People First
has conceptualised that contemporary democracy needs a new institution,
Sovereign Rights Commission with authority to direct referendums,
except on issues fundamental to democracy or the integrity of the
nation. Superior to the royal priest of bygone days, more like Gandhi,
it will function as the non corruptible conscience keeper of the state
based on the values of the society as a whole. Justice MN
Venkatachaliah praised it as a legitimate, non violent process for
transforming our society. As Speaker Lok Sabha, PA Sangma
circulated with his supportive message a document of Lal Bahadur
Shastri Memorial Foundation and People First in the golden Jubilee
Special Session of Parliament held in 1997 demanding reforms through
such a commission – and made a call for a second freedom struggle.
scientist of the last century, deeply concerned about the
destructive power of science, said that the relationship of the
individual to society constitutes the crisis of our times. Vivekanand
said, "India, philosophical and spiritual, will conquer the world, not
by conquest, but by spirituality". Gandhi expressed concern for
the smallest person. Upon Gandhi’s death Einstein wrote, "Generations to
come will wonder that one as him walked upon this earth".
Spirituality truly means relationship of the individual to society. The
long term objective of society should be to attain high level of human
development. Technology can change lifstyles but not necessarily the
quality of human existence.
9. While paying homage to Gandhiji and Shastriji on
October 2 this year, both the President and Prime Minister said that we
need to adopt Gandhiji’s ideology.
We the People of
Bharat urge them to forthwith institute a Sovereign Rights Commission
with authority to direct referendums except on issues fundamental to
democracy or the integrity of the nation, headed by a former Chief
Justice of India. Based on the wishes expressed by the people, it will
prepare a new Constitution and on its approval by the sovereign people
through referendum, authenticate it in the name of the people as the
supreme law of Bharat. It will then phase the reforms and
monitor that they are properly enforced. It will also
expeditiously review all existing laws and practices to bring them in
conformity with the needs of a democratic society.
10. To facilitate the process,
People First has based on (1) the book "Gandhian Constitution for Free
India" by Prof. Shriman Narayan with acceptance foreword by Gandhi
published in 1946, (2) tested details from the best contemporary
democracies, and (3) current concerns about sustainability, prepared a
proposed "Constitution for Free Bharat (India) 2004" published on
its website. The commission can use it as a reference document. India
will then become Bharat guiding a just world order.
Back to Contents