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Image courtesy: The Statesman

In such troubled times

More so than at any time in the past

The Constitution of India shall be our shield

Against all oppressive/repressive acts

 

Of communal/caste/racial hatred or bias

On religious minorities/ subordinate castes/tribals

On women/LGBTQIA community/differently abled

And on workers/farmers/toiling masses

 

I shall stand up for my constitutional rights

And of those less privileged

And shall always carry the Constitution (pocket sized)

In my right hip pocket

 

Rather than the kirpanas dictated by my faith

Since one sees religion no more

Than a personal equation with a Creator

And that’s all to it for me

 

Shall not use this document

To ‘shoot anyone from the hip’

But only to use it as a shield

Against all onslaughts

 

My non-violence will go beyond

The Gandhian concept of non-violence

Which allows exceptions in rare circumstances

However one shall always be non-violent till one’s end

 

Buddha’s non-violence inspires me but more so Mahavir’s

So too, Nanak’s Sufism

All these three – Buddhism, Jainism, Sikhism

Constitute the three rebellions against the then established order

 

The myriad diktats constantly being bombarded –

What to eat/what to wear/whom to marry

With violators qualifying for lynching,

Criminal assaults, public humiliation

 

Of being made to feel as second class citizens

Of day to day insecurity in all aspects of life

And externment from the local community

Even threats of deportation to a neighbouring country

 

The use of draconian laws stands perfected –

UAPA, NSA, PSA and provisions of IPC/IT Act

As also filing cases of defamation/sedition

Against those struggling for justice

 

Would the people submit to authority

Or would the people remember

The time tested tools for bringing about a change

Nay, a Sampoorna Kranti?

 

Then Paash’s poem “The Most Dangerous” shall reverberate all around

Coalitions, alliances, networking of organizations

Of workers, farmers, students, academicians

Poets, writers, artists, journalists, individuals

 

The good old struggle, mass mobilization, resistance and protest

Dharna, rally, hunger strike, satyagrah,

Court arrest, jail bharo,

Would get tested all over again

 

One remembers the slogan one had heard

For decades after independence

“Hindu Muslim Sikh Isai

Aapas me sab bhaibhai”

 

The bourgeois press would continue

To dole out party propaganda

About raids conducted by police

In houses/offices of activists

 

Where the only documents recovered

Would be copies of Constitution of India

Could this be adjudged prima facie incriminating evidence

For charges of sedition/anti-national activity to be proved?

 

But what if the Constitution is amended

And the words “secular”, “socialist” deleted

And its spirit all through made secular& socialist – mukt

Through brute majority in Parliament

 

Then the agents of PIL industry

Would move the apex court

What if the judiciary were to rule

Through a Constitution Bench of more than thirteen judges

 

That the basic structure of the Constitution has not been destroyed

By the constitutional amendment

Though de facto it would mean

That Kesavananda Bharati stood overruled

 

Would the usual sequence unfold –

Popular protests, mass arrests,

FIRs and disappearances

No bail or relief through habeas corpus?

 

If so then the charge sheet prepared by the police

Would be more voluminous than the Constitution

As one would confess voluntarily to have

Demanded implementation of every right guaranteed to all citizens

 

In prison one would still ask for a copy of the Constitution

Since the pocket sized Constitution would have

Been confiscated by the investigative authorities

During custodial interrogation or upon entry into the prison

 

Arun Ferreira wrote in his book

“Colours of the Cage – A Prison Memoir”

That a copy of the Constitution was denied to him

By the jail librarian for the reason – that it is too bulky!

 

If convicted and jailed and awarded capital punishment

Then unlike Udham Singh I would not spit on the judge

Who pronounces thejudgement

Since for me spitting on a fellow human being is a violent act

 

Rather I would respectfully bow my head and accept the verdict

I would not plead for mercy

Since you don’t ask for mercy

When you have done no wrong

 

With long years of incarceration in jail

Successively in and a cell

Waiting for execution in solitary confinement/death row

And cut off from developments outside the jail

 

When the D-day arrives

The last wish before the hangmen puts

The black hood over the head

And tightens the rope noose around the neck

 

Would be to check if the then Constitution

Still retains the words “secular”, “socialist”

Or worse has the Constitution been replaced

By an ancient document!

 

Dr. P.S. Sahni is a member of PIL Watch Group and AIDS Bhedbhav Virodhi Andolan. Email: pilwatchgroup@gmail.com.The poem – a maiden attempt – expresses his personal conviction.On 25th June the Internal Emergency was formally imposed in India in 1975.

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