Blaming politicians of playing divisive politics for electoral gains, Member Parliament and Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) President, Mehbooba Mufti today said the people of India, irrespective of their religion, caste and creed, continue to espouse the real spirit of inclusiveness and equality of the Indian Constitution. “Fortunately, the makers of India’s inclusive Constitution didn’t think in terms of electoral gains, they thought of country’s integrity and unity by charting out a path of inclusiveness and democratic norms which keep India binding together irrespective of its multiple diversities,” Mehbooba said while speaking during the special session of the Parliament devoted to the contribution of Dr B R Ambedkar in making of the Constitution. The special debate coincides with the adoption of the Indian Constitution by the Constituent Assembly on 26 November 1949. “India’s Constitution was created under extremely difficult circumstances as the formalization of the partition was associated with chaos and violence. In the initial phases of the work of the Constituent Assembly it was not clear whether the Muslim-majority areas of the country shall remain within the Indian Union or not. This, along with the prevailing uncertainty about the position of the princely states, created fears about the unity and stability of the country. The makers of the constitution knew India is a conglomerate of numerous minorities and therefore there was a deep concern to provide extraordinary constitutional protections for the downtrodden and minorities,” she said and added that several worth emulating features of the country’s Constitution have made it very unique and the same Constitution guarantees special status to J&K for having gone against the tide of religious divide and having acceded to India in the aftermath of the partition. Mehbooba said the architect of the Indian Constitution, Dr B R Ambedkar seems to have picked up the best virtues out of each religion including equality from Islam and tolerance from Hinduism to incorporate the same in the Indian Constitution to make it as comprehensive as possible. “That is why the fundamentals of the Indian Constitution are based on the principles of justice, equality, liberty and fraternity,” she said. “Today the failures, if any in running the country, cannot be at any cost attributed to the Constitution, but to the unwilling politicians standing between the Constitution and the country. The lack of will of the country’s political leadership in implementing several best provisions of the Constitution is the cause of all the ills the country is facing,” Ms Mehbooba said and added that except for the brief interlude of Emergency, the citizens of this country have enjoyed the fundamental freedoms enshrined in the Constitution and nobody can and should try to snatch that fundamental right from them. She said a common Indian has always raised his/her voice in a dignified manner against the scourge of communal violence, selective killings or incidents of intolerance. “While the role of the successive government’s has been mostly dubious during communal riots or selective atrocities, kudos to the common men and women of this country who came out in a dignified way to register their protest against such atrocious incidents,” she said and added that it is the forceful voice of these emancipated men and women that are real strength of this country. Mehbooba said every citizen of the country, irrespective of his/her religion, has a right to have his/her views on various issues and nobody can threaten or intimidate them by harping on “Go to Pakistan” rhetoric. “Indian Muslims, like their Hindu brethren are the biggest votaries of peaceful co-existence and they have time and again proved this fact by not getting lured by perilous phenomenon of religious radicalization and extremism which is of late sweeping throughout the Middle East, West Asia and the Europe like a deadly monster,” she said and added that by trying to fiddle with the very basic fabric of inclusiveness and tolerance, we may, unwittingly, become a part of the perilous conflict going on in other parts of the world, which may in the long run endanger the peace and stability in the country. “The divisive fringe elements need to be isolated before it is too late,” she said. Mehbooba said instead of getting bogged down by the despicable actions of some fringe elements, the country’s political leadership must rise to the occasion and work towards building new bonds of amity and cooperation, not only within the country, but the whole South Asian region to usher its people into a new era of peace and prosperity.
2015 Kashmir Despatch