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Mainstream, Vol XLVI No 35

Independence Day Special - August 16, 2008

Monday 18 August 2008

We have achieved political freedom but our revolution is not yet complete and is still in progress, for political freedom without the assurance of the right to live and to pursue happiness, which economic progress alone can bring, can never satisfy a people. Therefore, our immediate task is to raise the living standards of our people, to remove all that comes in the way of the economic growth of the nation. We have tackled the major problem of India, as it is today the major problem of Asia, the agrarian problem. Much that was feudal in our system of land tenure is being changed so that the fruits of cultivation should go to the tiller of the soil and that he may be secure in the possession of the land he cultivates. In a country of which agriculture is still the principal industry, this reform is essential not only for the well-being and contentment of the individual but also for the stability of society. One of the main causes of social instability in many parts of the world, more especially in Asia, is agrarian discontent due to the continuance of systems of land tenure which are completely out of place in the modern world. Another—and one which is also true of the greater part of Asia and Africa—is the low standard of living of the masses.

India is industrially more developed than many less fortunate countries and is reckoned as the seventh or eighth among the world’s industrial nations. But this arithmetical distinction cannot conceal the poverty of the great majority of our people. To remove this poverty by greater production, more equitable distribution, better education and better health, is the paramount need and the most pressing task before us and we are determined to accomplish this task. We realise that self-help is the first condition of success for a nation, no less than for an individual. We are conscious that ours must be the primary effort and we shall seek succour from none to escape from any part of our own responsibility. But though our economic potential is great, its conversion into finished wealth will need much mechanical and technological aid. We shall, therefore, gladly welcome such aid and co-operation on terms that are of mutual benefit. We believe that this may well help in the solution of the larger problems that confront the world. But we do not seek any material advantage in exchange for any part of our hard-won freedom.

(From a speech in the House of Representatives and the Senate, Washington D.C., October 13, 1949)


Best Tribute to Freedom Fighters


9 You Disrobed the Temple

Suhas Borker

11 A Betrayal of India’s Constitutional Vision

V.R. Krishna Iyer

13 Sikhs in the Freedom Struggle

K.S. Duggal

From N.C.’s Writings

19 Thirty Years After

20 Left Must Do its Utmost to Protect Parliamentary Democracy

A.B. Bardhan

23 Role of the Left in the Changing Political Scenario

T.J. Chandrachoodan

26 Whither Washington Consensus?

Girish Mishra

29 US’ Grand Game in Central Asia

Ash Narain Roy

31 Political Economy of Rural Distress

Kripa Shankar

38 Calibrating Change

Uttam Sen

39 Political Scene in the Wake of Trust Vote

Amitava Mukherjee

41 Book Review : Quest for Justice

Avijit Pathak

45 Hindutva Movement and Politics: The Case of Vishwa Hindu Parishad

Geeta Puri

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