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Mainstream, VOL LIX No 35, New Delhi, August 14, 2021

Thoughts on the eve of I-Day 2021

Friday 13 August 2021, by SC

We are again on the eve of another Independence Day, this time our 75th. On this auspicious occasion, our thoughts go back to our valiant fighters countless of whom had been martyrs while fighting the alien British rule that bound this nation and its people in colonial bondage for 250 years till its freedom, as an independent and sovereign country.

On that day, i.e. August 15, 1947, our first Independence Day Jawaharlal Nehru had as the first Prime Minister of this free nation declared:

“We are citizens of a great county on the verge of bold advance. All of us, to whatever religion we may belong are equally children of India with equal rights, for no nation can be great whose people are narrow in thought or in action.”

These memorable words are most significant today when a majoritarian onslaught has been unleashed across the length and breadth of this vast nation following the coming to power of a group of people who are hellbent on weakening the foundations of our secular democracy, one of the most precious possessions of our independent nationhood.

In the last few years, especially since 2014, the country has been witness to a mounting assault by fissiparous trends on the essence of our secular democratic republic. We still do retain the tradition of being the world’s largest democracy but large sections of our citizens are asking the valid question: for how long?

Indeed, it is most alarming in today’s India that a social frenzy has gripped this nation with increasing attacks on the minorities as an integral part of the majoritarian onslaught which has grown phenomenally of late. A sense of insecurity has come to dominate the country at large, and the possible transformation of secular India into a Hindu replica of an Islamic Pakistan stares us in the face. This is all the more evident with the inclusion of die-hard Hindu communalists in the latest reshuffle of the Union Cabinet.

Unless well-meaning individuals and democrats of all persuasion come together for effective intervention it will be most difficult to salvage India which had emerged at the dawn of our Independence.

S.C. - August 14, 2021

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