Right & duty: which first? Fundamental Duties – Article 51A

 

Note: Both in politics and religion, all are concerned about one thing only: “What is in it for me?” It is because all of us are led by the strongest passion: Selfishness!

 

It takes a mature, rational human being to be guided equally by reason, the one thing that differentiates us from animals. Our friend George is stressing this, giving equal stress to reason, duties and not to rights only.

 

Once that is done, I think much of the conflicts  and fights will vanish from society. But will it ever happen on a daily basis, because it is said: Man is a rational animal; animal always and rational sometimes!

 

Humans can be made ‘rational’ only through disciplined education, definitely not through ‘Madrasa education’ or through any kind of education controlled by various religious groups with vested! james kottoor, editor ccv.

 

Please read below George’s comment CAA etc.

George Neduparambil

 

These days people of India are being bombarded with references to Constitution of India.  In Churches it is reported that Preamble to the Constitution was read. 

People are talking that one particular community has been targeted by the ruling dispensation in India.  I will not go into details of it as every reader by now would have some idea about the CAA and the protests that followed and still continuing in places like Kerala.   In the backdrop of these protests, everyone has been talking of Fundamental Rights,  Religious Freedom and Non Discrimination of any particular religious group or groups. But none bothered as much as move a finger to tell the citizens of their Fundamental Duties.

The purpose of this article is to highlight those Fundamental Duties of citizens and introspect how far they stand respected.   Fundamental Duties are covered by Article 51 A of our Constitution.  The following has been copied from the official website of Government of India relating  to our Constitution.

 

FUNDAMENTAL DUTIES

It shall be the duty of every citizen of India—

(a) to abide by the Constitution and respect its ideals and institutions, the National Flag and the National Anthem;

(b) to cherish and follow the noble ideals which inspired our national struggle for freedom;

(c) to uphold and protect the sovereignty, unity and integrity of India;

(d) to defend the country and render national service when called upon to do so;

(e) to promote harmony and the spirit of common brotherhood amongst all the people of India transcending religious, linguistic and regional or sectional diversities; to renounce practices derogatory to the dignity of women;

(f) to value and preserve the rich heritage of our composite culture;

(g) to protect and improve the natural environment including forests, lakes, rivers and wild life, and to have compassion for living creatures;

(h) to develop the scientific temper, humanism and the spirit of inquiry and reform;

(i) to safeguard public property and to abjure violence;

(j) to strive towards excellence in all spheres of individual and collective activity so that the nation constantly rises to higher levels of endeavour and achievement;

*(k) who is a parent or guardian to provide opportunities for education to his child or, as the case may be, ward between the age of six and fourteen years

(*Still not notified).

Now let me itemise the list of disrespects.

Constitution requires us to have reasonable knowledge of its contents.  How can one show “respect to its ideals" if one is completely ignorant of the contents?  The recent agitation, in my opinion, brought to light that many people did not know that Constitution of India is a document given by the citizens to themselves.  CAA did not violate fundamental rights of any citizen or particular religious group who are citizens of India.  The fact that it applied to non-citizens who illegally crossed over to India was carefully hidden by the organisers of the protests and public got carried away by the opposition slogan that it is against Muslims of India and there was a hidden agenda behind it.  Public believed their leaders, newspapers and TV anchors. 

 

It is a fact the government failed miserably to communicate the intent of the Act effectively in the first place but someone who has some idea of the Constitution would not have fallen for allowing to be misinformed.  On top of it, total disregard to National Flag was shown by the protesters by holding the National Flag during  protests.  National Flag is to be handled with utmost respect and decorum and should not be used in the manner it was as if the protests were against some foreign power that was ruling India. 

The duty  to promote harmony and the spirit of common brotherhood among citizens was totally ignored by the leaders of protesting groups and they tried their best to create a communal riot in India.  But those supporting CAA did not swallow the bait and showed considerable maturity by remaining on the side-lines. 

It is with regard to Article 51 (A) (h) that maximum disrespect was shown during the protests and is actually being perpetrated on an on-going basis in this country.  This Article calls upon Indians “to develop the scientific temper, humanism and the spirit of inquiry and reform; (i) to safeguard public property and to abjure violence”.  

Did anyone bother to abide by the requirement that it is the solemn duty of every citizen to safeguard public property and abjure violence?  Every bus, auto rickshaw, train or other vehicles burned were either public property or belonged to private individuals.  The leaders are answerable for instigating such wanton violence.  Having covered the last part of this Article, I turn to the first part, “to develop the scientific temper, humanism and the spirit of inquiry and reform”.  This is where disrespect to Constitution of India is shown on an on-going basis.  The nation is steeped in superstition.  

The government, I am afraid, is itself driving superstition to take precedence over scientific temper.  We have seen how fighter aircraft is run over a lemon before accelerating to take off.  Various religions are competing with one another to ensure their followers are not poached by others and that they remain completly committed to beliefs and practices that stand no chance of being scientifically proved.  India will always remain backward as long as its children are not inculcated into a culture of scientific temper, humanism, spirit of inquiry and reform.  The children should be encouraged to take the stand that evidence and reason should lead them and not superstitions.

As for woman’s dignity, the less said the better.  Women are still to derive the full benefit of Constitution.  Some have broken through the glass ceiling but for the most part,  women are second class citizens with men wielding absolute control over them as if they were some kind of an animal.  Our nation will never progress and realise its full potential unless the womenfolk take part in nation-building as equal partners with men.

In conclusion, I would like to state that it is time Fundamental Rights took a backseat and Fundamental Duties the drivers’ seat.  I urge all schools, churches, temples and mosques to read these duties to its members just as they did with Preamble to the Constitution.  The government should come up with an abridged Constitution of India and stipulate it as a compulsory study material.

 

Note from Isaac Gomes – Associate Editor:

Nowhere in the Citizenship (Amendment) Act, 2019 it is written that Muslims from other countries cannot apply for Indian Citizenship.  This Act is specifically for grant of Indian Citizenship to religious minorities i.e. those from Hindu, Sikh, Buddhist, Jain, Parsi or Christian community from Afghanistan, Bangladesh or Pakistan

(i)  who entered into India on or before the 31st day of December, 2014 and

(ii)  who have been exempted by the Central Government by or under clause (c) of sub-section (2) of section 3 of the Passport (Entry into India) Act, 1920 or from the application of the provisions of the Foreigners Act, 1946 or any rule or order made thereunder, shall not be treated as illegal migrant for the purposes of this Act. 

Let us including our Cardinals, Archbishops and Bishops read CAA first. It does not talk of taking away any Indian's citizenship. It talks of granting Indian citizenship to the religious minorities mentioned in the Act; it does not mention taking away anybody's citizenship. 

In fact anybody including Muslims, even atheists from other countries can apply for Indian Citizenship under the Citizenship Act, 1955 (hereinafter referred to as the principal Act).

Pakistan born Musician Adnan Sami, who was awarded Padma Shri this year, is a case in point.  He applied for Indian citizenship and was granted this in 2016.

   

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