Times are calling for the Navnirman of the Indian Republic
Statement of the Central Committee of the Communist Ghadar Party of India, 10 January, 2019
On 26 January this year, the Republic of India will be 69 years old. It is an occasion for the people to think seriously about the huge difference between what this Republic claims to be and what it actually is. It is an occasion to discuss what must be done to fulfill the aspiration of our people to become the master of India.
The Oxford Dictionary defines a Republic as:
“A state in which supreme power is held by the people and their elected representatives, and which has an elected or nominated president rather than a monarch.”
Life experience shows that the Indian people do not hold supreme power. They have no control over their elected representatives, who do the bidding of their party leadership. Elected representatives do not represent the interests of workers and peasants, who make up the majority of the Indian population.
It is the capitalists, headed by the Tatas, Ambanis, Birlas and other monopoly houses, who wield supreme power. They use their enormous money power to influence electoral outcomes. Acting through their trusted parties, headed by the Congress and BJP, they set the agenda for Indian society.
The toiling majority of people produce more and more goods and services year after year, but the fruits of their toil enrich only a minority of wealthy capitalists. The big capitalists grow richer all the time while workers and peasants remain poor and many sink deeper into debt. When they demand their rights, they face lathis and bullets.
The Indian Republic stands exposed today as being virtually the dictatorship of about 150 capitalist monopoly houses over more than125 crore people. Supreme power is wielded by a tiny minority of exploiters.
When India was proclaimed to be a democratic republic 69 years ago, the majority of our people had high expectations. Sovereignty was formally transferred from the British monarch into the hands of the President of India, who is bound to act according to the advice of a Council of Ministers from among the elected representatives. Many people thought that this would lead to liberation from the oppressive rule of an exploiting minority. Such hopes lie shattered today. People are faced with the ugly and cruel reality of monopoly capitalist dictate and continuation of divide and rule, through the ballot and the bullet.
What and who is responsible for this state of affairs?
The BJP claims that the Congress Party is responsible for having corrupted the Indian Republic. The Congress Party claims that the BJP is responsible for the increase in communal violence and divisive politics.
However, the entire experience of the past 69 years shows that the problem does not lie with merely one or two political parties. There is a fundamental problem in the existing system of democracy and its political process. It is a system which requires criminal parties and communal divisive politics for its survival.
The 1950 Constitution gives the impression that people are sovereign in this Republic. However, the reality is that this Constitution empowers the Cabinet to decide on behalf of the entire people. Thus, for instance, Prime Minister Indira Gandhi did not need to consult the Parliament before declaring an Emergency in 1975 and formally depriving people of their “fundamental rights”. Prime Minister Narendra Modi did not need to consult the Parliament before announcing the Note Ban of 2016, depriving masses of people of their means of payment and source of livelihood. These unilateral actions had the backing of the most powerful economic interests. They had legal legitimacy under the existing Constitution.
The existing political process of representative democracy, in which parties take turns to wield executive power, is the mechanism through which the capitalist class wields supreme power and imposes its will on society. It is a political process designed to ensure that only parties which have the backing of the capitalist class can win elections. Thousands of crores of rupees are spent by the monopoly houses to ensure that one or the other of their trusted parties gets to form the government.
The government formed after each round of elections is declared to have the “people’s mandate”. However, it adopts such policies that enable Indian and foreign capitalist monopolies to enrich themselves through intensified exploitation of workers, robbery of peasants, loot of public funds and plunder of natural resources. Political power remains forever out of the people’s reach in this republic.
The fine words written in the Preamble of the Constitution, and in the chapters on Fundamental Rights and Directive Principles, are getting more and more exposed as useless words on paper. People have no way to ensure that the Directive Principles of state policy ever get implemented. Every clause in the chapter on fundamental rights is followed by an exception clause that permits the State to violate it. The right to speech, the right to assembly, the right to form organisations such as trade unions, and other such rights are repeatedly and blatantly violated by the State.
The power of preventive detention was incorporated in the Constitution in 1950. And over the past 69 years, numerous fascist laws have been enacted, under which people can be kept in prison without trial for indefinite periods.
India is a land of numerous nations and peoples, each with their own distinctive language, culture and pre-colonial political history. The Constitution does not recognize this reality. It justifies the use of armed might by the Union to crush the national aspirations of different nations and peoples. For the Kashmiri, Naga, Manipuri, Assamese and other peoples, the Indian Republic is a prison house in which their aspirations are throttled. Their rights are trampled in the mud with brute force.
Millions of people who have been born and lived in our country for generations are being treated as “illegal immigrants” in this Republic, with no rights whatsoever.
In sum, this Republic does not protect but tramples on human rights and democratic rights. It defends the “right” of capitalist monopolies, Indian and foreign, to plunder the labour and resources of our people.
The toiling and oppressed people are not willing to accept this state of affairs. They are demanding that the State must guarantee their rights. They want the State to ensure prosperity and protection for all. They want sovereignty to be vested in the people’s hands.
Organised in the Hindustan Ghadar Party, and other revolutionary organisations that followed it, including the Hindustan Socialist Republican Association and the undivided Communist Party, the revolutionaries fought with the aim of making a clean break with the colonial legacy. They fought with the aim of establishing an Indian Union that would respect and protect the rights of all its constituents and of all members of society. This aim was betrayed in 1947.
In 1947, there were two kinds of Republics that existed on the world scale. One kind was of bourgeois republics, as in France, Germany and the USA, which were organs of rule by an exploiting minority. The other kind was of proletarian republics, such as in the Soviet Union, which were organs of rule by the working class in alliance with toiling peasants and all other oppressed.
The Indian Republic that was promulgated 69 years ago is of the first kind. From being an instrument of rule by the British monopoly capitalists, the State became an instrument of rule by Indian big capitalists in alliance with big landlords and other parasitic elements.
The Constitution adopted in 1950 did not represent a clean break with the colonial past. It represented a continuation and further refinement of the State and political process established by the British colonialists to divide and rule over the Indian people, exploiting and plundering our labour and resources.
Capital has become more and more concentrated in fewer and fewer hands over the past 69 years. The concentration of economic power has been accompanied by the concentration of decision-making power in fewer and fewer hands. This is the fundamental reason why the inhuman and anti-democratic character of the Indian Republic has become increasingly exposed over time.
The empowerment of the Indian people, our liberation from all forms of exploitation and oppression, requires a clean break with the institutions inherited from colonial times. We, the people, must dare to lay a new foundation for Indian society. We must fight for the kind of Republic that was envisioned by our revolutionary forefathers during the anti-colonial struggle.
Those who toil and produce the wealth of India must wield supreme power. Only then can secure livelihood and prosperity be guaranteed for all. The toiling majority of people must take part actively in the decision-making process. Only then can they ensure that the fruits of their toil are not pocketed by an exploiting minority.
For those who work to become the ruler of India, we need a new fundamental law. We need a Constitution that vests sovereignty in the people. It must ensure that the executive is accountable to the legislature and the legislature is accountable to the electorate. All eligible voters must play an active role in selecting the candidates, before electing one of them. They must also enjoy the right of recall and the right to initiate legislation. All residual powers, including the right to reformulate the constitution, must vest with the people.
In sum, what is needed is the Navnirman of the Indian Republic. Only then can prosperity and protection be guaranteed for all members of society.