sunrise india photo

Today,  the Republic of India faces its gravest moment since it was born seventy years ago.

What has hit the second most populous nation in the world – just in the last few months itself – is nothing short of a crisis of Biblical proportions. An untreatable viral epidemic, a debilitating lockdown, a collapsed economy, hunger stalking every corner of the land, growing tensions on the border – and on top of all this a major attack from locusts!

Already for the last six years now India has been subject to rule by a government that is the most petty, communal, callous and incompetent regime the modern Republic has ever seen in its entire existence. The consequences are there for everyone to see – erosion of every universal value and principle, the complete emasculation of democratic institutions, increased oppression of minorities, dissidents of any kind and rampant violation of human rights. If the present is bad the future looks bleaker still.

It is true, no disaster happens overnight and every evil act or policy we witness today has a history perhaps as old as the Republic itself. There are many, many lessons to be learnt from the past, the most primary one being, the price of liberty is eternal vigilance. And we may add – the need for relentless organisation of the people of India also – in all their grand diversity, to safeguard their rights and that of everyone.

Where do we go from here? What are the most pressing issues that need to be addressed today? What can we do to regenerate hope? What can we learn from our own history as well as that of others around the world? What is the pathway to a future India where everyone can live in peace but also with justice and dignity?

How can we frame a  new manifesto for a Republic of India 2.0 that does not become yet another fancy wish list, just long on demands, short on details and clueless about achieving them? In response to that last question, we at the Countercurrents Collective, want to propose an exercise through which we can indeed come up with such a manifesto to shape the future of India.

It may not be a perfect process and we are completely open to suggestions but here is the proposal. The manifesto will  be put together through a three-step process:

A) First, we invite all our readers and anyone interested to send in their detailed comments, articles, suggestions, notes on the kind of India they want. Everyone is welcome to tell us their views on any topic, issue or concern they may have but for a broad guidance we list here some of these below:

  • Strengthening democracy – restoring integrity of our institutions and democratic processes.
  • Decentralisation of power – from the Center to States, from States to Districts or sub-regions
  • Social justice – how to effectively empower those at the very bottom of the Indian social ladder and ending the apartheid of the caste system.
  • Development – how do we create a model of development that serves the needs of the people of India and not the interests of global capitalism and its domestic lackeys.
  • Human Rights –  How can we arrest the human rights violations going on in the country
  • Communal Harmony– Concrete suggestions to ensure communal harmony in the country
  • Adivasi rights – justice and respect for the original dwellers of the Indian subcontinent
  • Rural-urban divide – restoring the rights of farmers and rural populations to a fair share of national resources and the right to live with dignity.
  • Dignity of Labour – those who work should rule over those who don’t.
  • Protecting diversity – asserting the rights of all ethnicities, linguistic groups, religious communities, local cultures.
  • Food security – how do we banish hunger from the Republic of India?
  • Redistributing wealth – overturning the obscene concentration of riches in the hands of the 1 percent.
  • Accountability in governance – to make public servants into real servants of the public.
  • Ecology – restoring the health of the soil, water, air and forests of India.
  • Energy – resolving the current crisis of both overconsumption by a few and under -consumption by the many, as well as  ensuring the greening of energy.
  • Gender – abolishing the usurpation of power and resources by men in every walk of life and restoring the rights of women and sexuality minorities.
  • Children – they are the future of India literally and it is time their rights, concerns and needs are put right at the centre of all policy making.

B) In parallel, we want to carry out case studies of struggles, radical reforms, policy and community initiatives that have transformed different parts of India. From the anti-caste Dravidian movement in Tamil Nadu, the Kerala model of development, the land struggles of Bihar, the cultural and literary waves of Bengal, the nationality assertions of the Indian North-east or Kashmir – to every local level initiatives on any theme of relevance to the well-being of the Indian people. The case studies will be compiled through both inputs from our readers as also field and desktop research, and use to illustrate the specific demands and suggestions in the Peoples’ Manifesto.

C) A panel, specially set up for this purpose, will compile the Manifesto, based on all these various contributions in terms of ideas, suggestions and analysis. The Manifesto will be released for national and global distribution formally on 15 August 2020. It will be a living document and continue to be updated till we achieve these demands through our various struggles.

We invite all our readers, well-wishers and others to consider our proposal and contribute to the compilation of this People’s Manifesto for India’s Future and begin the process of changing India for the better and forever. We look forward to your support with great anticipation.

We welcome all the readers of Countercurrents.org to participate in this process. You can submit your articles to editor@countercurrents.org with “People’s Manifesto” as subject line. If you have any doubts you can contact us in the above email address.

In Solidarity

Countercurrents Collective


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