Anant Hedge’s call that the BJP has been elected to power to change the Indian constitution
- Transcript of an interview with Prof Apporvanand from Delhi University.
If this was just the desire of a single Minister we would not give any attention to it, but we know that this is the grand old dream of RSS. When the Constitution of India was written, at that time itself, the RSS had explicitly conveyed a lack of faith in the Constitution. This is evident from the virulent writings of M S Golwalkar and Deendayal Upadhyay the RSS stalwarts. Deendayal Upadhya was very critical of the Indian Constitution. This disenchantment with the Constitution of India of the RSS is the root cause of the outbursts regarding rewriting the constitution that we are seeing today.
The BJP is the political avatar of the RSS, and if they are really keen on changing the constitution why do they not spell it out in the election manifesto. Since Independence, there have been instances where it is very evident that the RSS is not wholeheartedly devoted to the constitution or the national flag. It was only out of a sheer compulsion of avoiding a ban that RSS fell in line. Adherence to the constitution of India is not a token acknowledgement but a complete submission to the fundamental duties spelled out in the constitution. Secularism is foremost in the duties outlined in the Constitutional duties. The duties enshrined in the constitution are not just the responsibility of the State but of every citizen of this country.
The anti-minority stand of the RSS has never toned down as was evident in the recent run-up to the Gujarat elections. The utterance of the central minister Anant Hegde is a new expression of a longstanding wish of the RSS to tamper the Indian Constitution. In the coming days, the Central government has no choice but to disown the statement of the minister and distance itself from it considering the political and social ramifications. In a country like India were almost 80 percent of the people practice the Hindu faith and the other faiths and the faithless comprise the remaining 20 percent. All of them are equal and have the right to practice their faith. India gives us the freedom to express our faiths through external signs such as the type of dress that one can wear or other accessories such as tilaks, caps, cross, bangles, rings, and other religious symbols. The underlying message in this is that the faith of the majority will not be imposed on everyone and the Hindu way of life is not the Indian way of life. Just because a group of people are vegetarians, vegetarianism does not become the food habits of Indians. It is this freedom of faith and other personal habits that are guaranteed in the Constitution of India to her Citizen and this is the pain area for the fundamentalists led by the RSS. This is the root cause of their discomfort with secularism and the constitution does not mandate that the faith, views, habits, and way of the life of the Majority be not imposed on everyone. The constitution of India clearly states that no one can dictate to another as to what they should believe in, what they should eat, and what they should wear and so on and so forth.
All this talk about changing the constitution is meaningless because the Constitution is a dynamic and live set of principles that is continuously evolving. The Panchayati Raj, the Right to Education, and the right to Information are some examples of the results of an evolving constitution. RSS is not concerned about such changes there are only concerned about manipulating the constitution. Majority and minority communities are not determined by mere numbers. The constitution guarantees some protection to the minorities not because there are relatively a small number but to ensure that the minority rights should be recognised as they do not have political power and it is the constitution that guarantees political empowerment to the minority communities. Any democratically elected government which does not protect the rights of the minorities is a dishonest government, and it is immaterial with what majority they are voted to power. The purpose of the drumbeat to change the constitution is only to create confusion in the minds of the people. This confusion will render the people thoughtless and the minds will be so foggy that the people become incapacitated and lose the ability to think. This is the strategy of the fundamentalists.
We should learn from our neighbour Nepal that is rewriting her constitution, who till the other day was a theocratic country is now a secular country and ironically India that has always been a secular country and some people want her to become a Hindu nation or a theocratic nation. By nature, we are not secular or democratic and it is only by law or Constitution guideline that we are secular and democratic. It should only be reiterated again that what is written in the Constitution is sacred and has stood the test of time.
Acknowledgement: This transcript is from an interview by Prof. Apoorvanand given to The Wire.in and published on December 27, 2017. This transcript is under the terms of the Open General License agreement and this is not a verbatim transcript. The original interview is available at: