Republic Day of India or that of ‘Ram Rajya’?


While Modi government is gearing up to celebrate India’s 75th Republic Day on January 26, the context is different compared to previous occasions. For, following the consecration and inauguration of Ram Temple by him as Prime Minister of India on January 22,  Modi himself has laid down the basic orientation of this year’s Republic Day. He said that the scope of Republic Day celebrations have “widened” on account of the “auspicious festivities of January 22” since they “have also become part of this festival of democracy.” Among other things, he also related the events pertaining to January 22 as “inspirational to India’s belief, cultural consciousness, democracy and patriotism.” 

After all, Republic Day is the day when the Republic of India marks the date on which the Constitution of India came into effect on 26 January 1950. And, secularism is one of the core principles of this Constitution, i.e.,  India is a secular country where the State and religion are separate or that the State has no religion at all. Hence when the prime minister led the consecration of Ram Temple atop the demolished historic Babri Masjid on January 22,  backed by the entire administration and facilitated by India’s top judiciary, it was this core principle of the Constitution and the very structure of Indian State that are being violated. And, when Modi interprets the January 22 events as integral part of Republic Day celebrations, the political undertones become all the more self-evident. In that sense, this Republic Day festival is a historic turning point in the assertion towards a theocratic Hindurashra, based on ‘Sanatan Dharma’ as embodied by the Ram Mandir, thereby transforming the very character of the Indian Constitution and structure of Indian State.

Further, and more revealingly, the chief guest for this Republic Day Parade, French president Macron is to start his India visit by attending a ‘shobha  yatra’ in Jaipur, Rajasthan on January 25, along with Modi, before moving to the official ceremony at Rajpath (new name, Kartavya Path) on January 26. Those who are aware of contemporary Indian history fully know that the ‘shobha yatra’ has been a relatively new conceptualisation by RSS-led Sangh Parivar for effective imposition of Hindutva assertion, and so called Hindu unity and Hindu nationalism. Typical of every ‘shobha yatra’ in which participants in procession wearing saffron shawls and carrying saffron flags, is the expression of enmity and hatred towards Muslims. Now, it is presented as a display of national pride in India’s international relations before Macron, who is often criticised for ‘anti-Muslim’ French domestic policies coupled with his own usual Islamophobic hate speech over “war on terror”. No doubt, regarding ‘anti-Islam’ along with ‘anti-Communism’  neofascists of all hues have the same wavelength the world over.

While Rafale, the French fighter jet will be featured in Republic Day parade for first time before Macron, what unveiled once again, amidst rhetoric, is India’s abject dependency on imperialist arms manufacturers coupled with related notorious corruption scandals. Of course, even as there is no qualm regarding Hindutva claims on the existence of genetic engineering, stem cell technology, aeroplane manufacturing, etc. in ancient India, not only in respect of military technology, but in the case of all “frontier technologies” including AI, India’s dependence on international  corporate capital is already a much discussed topic. Even as Adani and Ambani like Indian junior partners of imperialism are skyrocketing their wealth under the corporate-saffron raj, with unprecedented unemployment, poverty, inequality and so on, and with largest number of absolute poor, India is continuing as a “citadel of global poverty”. No amount of rhetoric on concocted national pride backed by doctored statistics can cover up this horrific reality. 

At this critical juncture, the vast majority of working people and all  oppressed castes, minorities and oppressed women should realise that this Republic day is celebrated when even the basic democratic rights enlisted in the Indian Constitution are being systematically snatched away. The ultimate gainers of the ‘Ram Rajya’ that is being celebrated now is a handful of corporate -upper caste elites, who are the junior partners of imperialists, with whom the country’s wealth is increasingly concentrated in caste-ridden India.

 Therefore, on this occasion, it is up to the people of India, without falling prey to the propaganda blitzkrieg unleashed by “godi media”, to resolutely pledge  for moving towards a people’s democratic, and castless India.

P J James is General Secretary, CPI (ML) Red Star

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