Article 51 A (h) of the Indian constitution says, “It shall be the duty of every citizen to develop the scientific temper, humanism, spirit of inquiry and reform.” Dr. Ambedkar in his writings and speeches always emphasized on developing scientific temper in the country. Dr. B.R. Ambedkar was the chief architect of the Indian constitution. He was a great social scientist who understood Indian society methodically. In the prevailing poisonous atmosphere in the country, it is essential to maintain scientific temper. The respective Governments should promote scientific temper in order to save the country from further destruction.
In the last few years, we come to see that fundamentalism is gaining strength under the patronage of the political class. A fringe element has become a mainstream element. The members of the majority communities feel satisfied in attacking the members of the minority communities. Chritians, Dalits, Sikhs and Muslims are now vulnerable communities in India. The members of the majority communities also feel satisfied in disgracing and vandalizing statues of great leaders of the minority communities. Those who practice free speech and freedom of expression are the first ones to be attacked. Article 19(1)(a) of Indian Constitution says that all citizens have the right to freedom of speech and expression. Freedom of Speech and expression means the right to express one’s own convictions and opinions freely by words of mouth, writing, printing, pictures or any other mode. Registering First Information Report (FIR) by anyone against anyone has become a common affair in India.
The riots and demolitions in Jahangirpuri, Delhi have disgraced the country. It is unfortunate that the state police and administration under the pressure of the political class allow mainstream elements to carry swords, knives, iron rods and pistols during a religious procession. The videos show that a few policemen stood helpless during the religious procession in Jahangirpuri and the jobless boys misguided and misused by politicians went on targeting a mosque. The demolition of houses of marginalized and poor people in Jahangirpuri, Delhi, despite restraining orders by the Honorable Supreme Court of India, has not only lowered the image of the country in the eyes of the international community but also increased the workload of the Indian courts. The owners whose officially allotted shops were demolished are filing legal cases against the administration and demanding financial compensation. The sufferers would fight to achieve what they lost during the demolitions. The miscarriage of justice owing to favoritism and prejudice and discrimination would further diminish the trust level of the sufferers in the local administration and police force. The control over the judicial system and democratic institutions of the political class has made the body politics indisposed. Dr. Ambedkar was the First Law Minister in independent India, wrote, “Law and order are the medicine of body politics and when the body politic gets sick, medicine must be administered.”
In the past few years, we are witnessing that politicians and holy men are indulging shamelessly in an abusive language. We also see this kind of spectacle on television debates. Religion which was supposed to be inside the house or inside the heart of a believer has been dancing nakedly on the streets of India. German sociologist and economic theorist Karl Marx wrote: “Religion is the opium of the people.” A large majority of Indians irrespective of caste or community have tasted this opium and are addicted to this. We often find scholars talking about the economic rise of China. China has the highest number of women workforce whereas women (older and younger) in India are largely found engrossed in performing religious ceremonies. In comparison to Chinese women, Indian women do not contribute to the development of the country in any sense. For example, on every Tuesday, Indian women are found singing hymns in the temple, houses or in the society office. Their energy and precious time is wasted in calling God or praising God. It shows that the minds of the Indians are still undeveloped. Cicero rightly said, “Superstation is a senseless fear of God.” Indians must keep in mind that western societies had shifted from a mystic or traditional orientation to a more rational orientation (Max Weber, German Sociologist and political economist). Indians have to replace traditional and emotional thought with reason and practicality (Rationalization– a concept developed by Max Weber).
There is no denying the fact that India is making formidable progress in digital technologies. The leaders of the ruling party extol this achievement in foreign countries at every platform but they are intentionally insensitive about social and religious issues that are rotting the social base in every respect. Political parties and their leaders think that by polarizing the society, India would become a ‘Super Power’. They are absolutely wrong. India`s digital achievement cannot sustain for a long time unless or until we as Indians change our minds and hearts and make ourselves rational. Dr. Ambedkar has rightly said, “Cultivation of mind should be the ultimate aim of human existence”.
From historical records, we come to know that religion was used as a powerful tool by Emperors, Kings and Sorcerers to plunder the educated and uneducated people in the world. It still continues in the 21st century because the people who are benefitting out of ignorance and superstition are wealthy, resourceful and well-connected with the ruling class in the world, so in India. Educated and smart people make wealth out of religion whereas poor, innocent and God -fearing people live a life of penury and witlessness. In India, we find that religion has always been the bone of contention among various castes, classes or communities. Religion has become violent; it is no more a way of life. If we really want to save our country, we need to follow Dr. B. R. Ambedkar, the constitution of India and the Article 51A (h) and maintain scientific temper.
Dr. Rahul Kumar is a Ph.D. in Sociology from Jawaharlal Nehru University, Delhi (India), is an independent researcher. His area of interest encompasses foreign policy analysis for international relations. The views expressed in this article are personal.