India needs a new Constitution

Progressive and patriotic Indians organise meetings in Britain

The Indian Workers Association (Great Britain) and Ghadar International organised meetings in Britain on the occasion of the 65th anniversary of the declaration of the present Indian Republic. These meetings were held in Ilford on January 31, 2015 and in Southall on February 1, 2015 respectively.

Progressive and patriotic Indians organise meetings in Britain

The Indian Workers Association (Great Britain) and Ghadar International organised meetings in Britain on the occasion of the 65th anniversary of the declaration of the present Indian Republic. These meetings were held in Ilford on January 31, 2015 and in Southall on February 1, 2015 respectively.

In these meetings, the participants discussed with great seriousness the fundamental law which is the foundation of the present Republic. The deliberations were initiated by Dr Satish Kumar of the Lok Raj Sangathan.

Dr Satish Kumar emphasised the need for Indians to reject the present constitution that protects rights of monopoly capitalists like Tata’s, Birla’s and Ambani’s.

He pointed out that the Constitution was adopted by a constituent assembly which was elected by only 10-15 % of Indian people and this Constitution was mainly the continuation of Government of India Act 1935, passed by the British Parliament to facilitate the exploitation and plunder of labour and resources of Indian people. The laws passed by the colonialists are still being used by the so-called republic of free India. One such example is the Land Acquisition Bill of 1894, which is the basis of the present law to forcibly acquire the peasants’ land by Indian government to give it to the big corporations, Indian and foreign. Sedition Act (1870) which is now Section 124A of the Indian Penal Code under which people are being prosecuted is the tradition of colonial rule. Like the British Colonial State the present Indian State suspects Indian citizens and considers them “insurgents” , “Baagis” unless proven otherwise.

The Constitution does not guarantee fundamental rights which are inviolable, but is based on the British colonial conception of privileges which the State of exploiters grants to its subjects but can withdraw any time it chooses. The right to life is considered a fundamental right, but the Indian state has given free hand to the army to kill, rape, and arrest without impunity under the Armed Forces Special Powers Act. Similarly, many black laws, like TADA, POTA, MISA, UAPA etc. have been enacted by the Indian state to drown the struggles of people for their rights in blood. These laws are not just used against so-called terrorists but actually have been regularly used against anybody who chooses to differ with ruling class. Workers, journalists and even retired judges have been put behind bars under these laws.

The Constitution does not recognise the rights of nations, nationalities and peoples. It legitimises the colonial territorial definitions of India. Similarly, religions like, Buddhism, Jainism and Sikhism, which preached alternative to practices of Brahmanism were declared to be sects of Hinduism.

The political process enshrined in the Constitution ensures that the working people are marginalised from power. During elections, people have the “right” to choose which amongst the parties of the ruling class should rule over them for the next 5 years. The party which wins the majority of seats claims to have the “peoples’ mandate” to implement the program of the ruling class.

The speaker concluded by giving out a strong message that India needs a new Constitution serving the needs of working people and the toiling majority!

In the discussion following the presentation, Salvinder Dhillon of Ghadar International pointed out that today thousands of people are languishing in Indian jails without trials and many have spent years without any charge.

Peasants are committing suicides because the big corporate merchants paying dismal prices for agricultural products and carry out hoarding to maximise profits through speculation. Discrimination and communal conflicts are fuelled through similar methods used by the British Colonialists.

Dalvinder Atwal of Indian Workers Association (GB) agreed with Dr Satish Kumar that a Constitution is generally written by the victorious people to assert their interests.  He pointed out that in 1947, the revolutionaries whose activities forced the British to leave India did not come to power. A great deception took place instead. Under the heavy blows dealt with by the revolutionaries who made ultimate sacrifices of giving their life for India to be free from the yoke of colonialism, the British colonialists hurriedly decided to transfer power to their most trusted lackeys, in the Congress party and the Muslim league. As a result the Constitution which came into existence kept intact the interests of the British and Indian capitalists who were groomed by the colonialists.

The preamble of the Constitution makes very lofty promises, like ensuring the dignity of the individual, but there are no provisions in the Constitution as to how an individual can defend his/her dignity if he/she is denied this.  The proclamation for India to be a sovereign, socialist, secular republic is not worth the paper on which these are written. Instead of Indian Republic being of the people, by the people and for the people, this State is of the rich, by the rich and for the rich. He concluded that the present Constitution deserves to be thrown into the dustbin of history and a new Constitution has to be written which guarantees the rights of workers and peasants.

All the participants were very much in agreement with the views put forward in the presentation and wanted to have further discussion on what should be done in order to bring about the situation where people are able to become masters of their own destiny.

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