Know thy Constitution, Indian citizens!

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Knowing the constitution of the nation helps people to realize their rights as citizens. It also keeps them aware of the power and responsibility constitution grants. I say this with deep regret that, most of us in India hardly know the constitution of our nation. Often, we neglect it as something unimportant and unnecessary. Though overview of constitution is taught as part of primary education in India, for some reason unknown, it has failed to create awareness among students and grown-ups. Did you know, constitution of India orders every citizen to develop scientific temper? Did you know, it is the fundamental duty of every citizen to protect the natural environment around us? There are many such things within constitution that we hardly pay attention to. In today’s age, it is critical we understand the power that constitution of India grants each and every citizen.

clip_image002Digital copy of Constitution of India can be downloaded from website of Ministry of Law and Justice

(http://indiacode.nic.in/coiweb/welcome.html).

I would highly recommend each citizen of India who have access to Internet to download and read it. I am not a certified lawyer, so my opinion is from a common citizen point of view.

According to article 51A of the constitution, fundamental duties of Indian Citizen are

“It shall be the duty of every citizen of India—

(a) to abide by the Constitution and respect its ideals and institutions, the National Flag and the National Anthem;

(b) to cherish and follow the noble ideals which inspired our national struggle for freedom;

(c) to uphold and protect the sovereignty, unity and integrity of India;

(d) to defend the country and render national service when called upon to do so;

(e) to promote harmony and the spirit of common brotherhood amongst all the people of India transcending religious, linguistic and regional or sectional diversities; to renounce practices derogatory to the dignity of women;

(f) to value and preserve the rich heritage of our composite culture;

(g) to protect and improve the natural environment including forests, lakes, rivers and wildlife, and to have compass ion for living creatures;

(h) to develop the scientific temper , humanism and the spirit of inquiry and reform;

(i) to safeguard public property and to abjure violence;

(j) to strive towards excellence in all spheres of individual and collective activity so that the nation constantly rises to higher levels of endeavor and achievement.

(k) **who is a parent or guardian to provide opportunities for education to his child or, as the case may be, ward between the age of six and fourteen years.

** Ins. by the Constitution (Eighty-sixth Amendment) Act, 2002, s. 4 (which is yet not in force, date to be notified by the government)”

Each of the fundamental duties of Indian citizens is self-explanatory. However, I would like to highlight about the fundamental duty on developing scientific temper, humanism and the spirit of inquiry and reform. As per the values of Indian family system, children are told right from our childhood to accept whatever has been told to them. The same thing is echoed during primary education. The sense of enquiring and making a reform is never told or promoted. In fact, sense of enquiry and reform is crushed at every stage. This leads to a situation, where kids become non-creative. The non-creative child grows up and again preaches the same values to his/her children and this cycle has been continuing. That’s precisely the reason why we haven’t produced intellectual ideas and social reforms. To make things more clear, let me categorically state certain examples

– Existence of superstition in most parts of India is an example of the inability of people to enquire and reform. “My forefathers believed, so I believe it too” … That’s the answer you find from these people when asked.

– Glorification of works done by ancestors is another habit of Indians. Just because, people merely follow what has been told to them than doing something creative, some primitive work done by ancestors becomes so sacred that it can’t questioned and reformed

– Suppression of creativity and scientific ideas in the name of religion, culture and traditions is rampant in most part of the country. People still treat scientific advances as foreign invasion on their religion, culture and traditions.

I can go on and on giving these kinds of examples. Until and unless, citizens of India wake up realize the true fundamental duties defined by our constitution, things won’t change. Also, many of us who do realize this should take a hard stance, as constitution of India gives us that power. Compromising on scientific advances just because somebody’s religious and cultural sentiments are hurt is against our constitution. All citizens of India are ordered by the constitution to develop scientific temper; if they can’t then clearly they are violating Indian constitution.

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