14th August, 2018
We here below reproduce the post from Lok Raj Sangathan website, on the occasion of the Independence Day.
Independence Day is not only an occasion to celebrate the end of colonial enslavement. It is also an occasion to think about what our forefathers fought for and what we have today.
Royal Indian Navy Mutiny protests in Mumbai
Our patriotic martyrs fought for an India that would be free from exploitation, oppression and discrimination on the basis of class, caste, gender, religion, race and nationality. They fought for an India in which we, the people, would be the master.
Seventy one years after the end of colonial rule, it is clear that the aspiration and goal which motivated the best of our freedom fighters is yet to be achieved.
Millions of farmers are organising mass protest actions demanding that the State must waive outstanding farm loans, guarantee reliable input supply and crop procurement at remunerative prices. They are demanding secure livelihood as a matter of right, which the State is duty bound to ensure.
Factory workers are protesting against the denial of their basic rights in the name of improving the “ease of doing business” for Indian and foreign companies.
Women are protesting against the blatant violation of their rights, including the growing incidence of rape and other forms of violence against them. Youth are demanding their right to education and right to work. People in villages and towns are demanding their right to food at affordable prices, right to housing, power supply, sanitation and safe drinking water.
Even the right to life is not secure given the rising incidence of communal and caste violence, army and police repression, lynching and other forms of terror in everyday life.
People of different religious beliefs are uniting to demand that those guilty of communal violence be tried and punished. People of different nationalities within the Indian Union are demanding that their culture and language be respected and allowed to flourish.
Seventy one years after gaining political independence, it is questionable if India is even free from the dominant influence of foreign powers. An envoy of the United States of America has the audacity to dictate whether India should or should not buy oil from Iran; and the Government of India does not raise its voice to oppose such blatant interference.
“Hum hain iske maalik; Hindustan humara!” (India belongs to us; We are her master!) – this was the slogan of our freedom fighters since 1857. The reality today is that the vast majority of people remain excluded from political power. People are not the master of India. A privileged minority has concentrated political power in its hands and uses it to divide and rule over the people. We, the people, are deprived of our basic rights and have no power to do anything about it.
The political process is dominated by parties which have the backing of big money power. The role of people is limited to casting their vote for one or another candidate selected by such parties. Extremely unequal money and media power determines electoral outcomes. Well entrenched parties which are officially “recognised” enjoy many privileges, including TV coverage and permanent election symbols. Elected representatives are accountable to their respective parties and not to the people who elected them.
We, the people of India, have a long history of fighting against injustice. We have always upheld the principle that it is the duty of the State to protect the people and guarantee their wellbeing. When the State fails in its duty, it is the right and duty of the people to take collective action.
We need to fight for a new political system in which it is the people who exercise power and set the agenda. The Constitution must vest sovereignty in the people and not in the President or the Cabinet or the Parliament. The political process must ensure that the will of the people prevails and not that of a minority of vested interests. People and not parties must have the decisive say in the selection of candidates prior to election. People must be able to hold their elected representatives to account. They must have the right to recall unworthy representatives at any time, as well as the right to initiate laws and policies. The State must finance the entire process of selection and election, and no other electoral funding must be allowed.
An India whose people are empowered and whose basic rights are guaranteed will emerge as a truly independent and civilised country, liberated from all forms of ignorance and enslavement. She will build relations of peace, friendship and cooperation with all other countries, and firmly oppose big power interference and unjust wars of any kind.
On this 71st anniversary of Indian independence, Lok Raj Sangathan reconfirms its commitment to the cause of completing the unfinished agenda – namely, the agenda of making the people the master of India and ensuring constitutional guarantees for all human and democratic rights.