Sunday, June 27, 2021

Jalandhar – Citadel of Dalits of Punjab


Jalandhar – Citadel of Dalits of Punjab

Jalandhar is one of the important ‘smart cities’ of Punjab. Immediately after partition in 1947 and in the run up to building the capital city of Chandigarh, Jalandhar enjoyed the status of un-official capital of Punjab as well as a centre of excellent educational institutions and a hub of print media for northern India. Jalandhar boasted of cultural glory with Harbalabh Sangeet Sammelan, educational excellence with DAV and Doaba Colleges, media

Att the Hall of Fame of DAV College Jalandhar

presence with the Hind Samachar, Vir Partap, Milap, Ajit and Akali Patrika group of publications and State Headquarters of almost all political outfits, industrial development and manufacturing of sports goods and hand tools, sports excellence with village Sansarpur for the game of hockey, frontline air defense with Air Force base at Adampur among others.

With this background, of late, Jalandhar has acquired yet another silent distinction as the citadel of dalits, socially and otherwise sections of the society. I wrote sometimes ago in one of my blogs about the secular credentials of my native place Bootan Mandi in

Guru Ravidass Dham at Bootan Mandi

Jalandhar, the nerve centre of dalit awakening in Doaba and beyond, which may boast of – a Sangatpura Sikh Gurdawara, Guru Ravidass Dham and Guru Ravidass Mandir, a Masid, a Budh Vihar and a Church coexisting in one vicinity  without any animosity and ill-will.

At Ambedkar Bhawan
 I also wrote about Ambedkar Circuit or Arcade which has come up unnoticed and without any fan-fair over the years. Let me elaborate a bit. One of the important state highways historically called Nakodar Road (about 20 km. road from Jalandhar to Nakodar) has been officially named as Ambedkar Marg since 1980s. Starting from one of the important Chowks, Maharishi Balmik Chowk (earlier called Nakodar/Jyoti Chowk) up to the city limits at around Eldeco Estate/Khambra, important symbols of dalit assertion in the area are located on this road namely; Guru Ravidass Bhawan on Link Road, Satguru Kabir Mandir at Bhargo Camp, Bhagwan Balmik Mandir at Abadpura, Ambedkar Bhawan- the hub of dalit socio-cultural and political awakening, Guru Ravidass Chowk, Satguru Ravidass Dham
at Bootan Mandi, Seth Kishan Dass’s Chaubara (Building) which was visited and adorned by Babasaheb Ambedkar in 1951, Ambedkar Municipal Park, Community Centre at Sidharath Nagar, Ambedkar Girls College at Deol Nagar, Satguru Kabir Chowk (Wadala Chowk) and Sant Ramanand ( revered Sant of Dera Sachkhand Ballan who was assassinated in Vienna) Chowk at Khurla Kingra. More recently, the BMC Chowk situated in the heart of the city and leading to the district courts has been officially named as the Savidhan Chowk dedicated to Babasaheb Ambedkar. Besides this many residential habitats on both sides of the road are named after Guru Ravidass, Bhagwan Balmik, Satguru Kabir and Babasaheb Ambedkar. One may easily see, from these details, the ground situation with regard to the presence of dalits in the region.

Today, I will add yet another feature which is silently emerging in and around another area called Bastis – starting from the cross-junction of Basti Sheikh, Basti Nau and Basti Danishmanda. Just a couple of days ago on June 24 on Satguru Kabir Jayanti, a huge project of a complex to be built in honour of Sant Kabir was announced by the Punjab Government to built at the famous

MLA Sushil Rinku announcing the Kabir Complex

thorough-fare ‘120 Footi Road’.  This ‘120 Footi Road’ starting from Babrik Chowk (a symbol of strength from the Hindu mythology) already houses important landmarks, fully supported and aided by the Government, pertaining to dalits, in the city – Bhagwan Balmik Complex, Babu Jagjivan Ram Chowk, Guru Ravidass Complex and some more projects leading to Master Gurbanta Singh Road, named after one of the senior Ministers in the Congress Party Governments who belonged to village Dhariwal Qadian adjoining Basti Danishmanda.  All political outfits are falling on each other to do something or the other to attract and win-over dalits for political gains. I think the magic of ‘one vote-one value’ unleashed by Babasaheb Ambedkar is showing its efficacy in empowering the weaker sections of the society in a democratic polity.

Now let us come to the flip side of the situation and the ground reality. The Doaba region of Punjab in particular and Punjab itself is the state with 35-40% dalit population, the highest as compared to the other states of India. There are 34 reserved seats out of the total of 117 in the Punjab Assembly. Dalit community has always been strong in Punjab since independence in 1947, in terms of socio-economic and political well-being with the Ad-dharam Mndal and spiritual Deras like Dera Sachkhand Balan and Dera Chak Hakim among others. In the process, political lineage of dalit leadership have also been impressive with names like Prthivi Singh Azad, Master Gurbanta Singh, Buta Singh, Dhanna Singh Gulshan, Piara Ram Dhanowalia, Chaudhary Jagjit Singh, Darshan Singh Kaypee, Chaudhary Sunder Singh, Vijay Sampla, Som Parkash among others who tasted power under various governments and also leaders like Seth Kishan Dass, Kanshi Ram, Lahori Ram Balley, inter alia, who

A Firebrand Leader of Dalits, Lahori Ram Balley

remained in the fringes of power. Thanks to the political reservations provided in the constitution, these political worthies could make it to the echelons of power. But, let me say my mind somewhat candidly. These arrangements (political reservations as against separate electorates) have reached the ‘dead end’ and outlived their utility. Dalits need to stand up on their own and grab power. If it could not be done with 35-40% share in the population when will it be done? How long dalits would remain sitting in the fringes? The major reason for this situation is that dalits are a divided lot and it suits to their opponents to keep them divided.  It is not understandable that a party like BSP, said to be a party of dalits who are 35-40%) succumbs to the dictates of Akali Dal or of some other party and made to play a second fiddle with 20 seats in the forthcoming elections in 2022. I leave it here with the question – Will it not be appropriate for dalits to float a new regional outfit, for Punjab alone, to represent the dalit interests on the basis of their share in the ‘vote kitty’? Let the dictum of ‘one vote – one value’ work as stipulated in the constitution. Some brain storming is definitely called for in this regard.

Zindgi to apne hi dam se ji jati hai;

Dusron ke kandhon per to zanaje hi utha karte hain.






Sunday, June 20, 2021

Milestones – India’s Soft Power Diplomacy


Milestones – India’s Soft Power Diplomacy

Even before independence of India from the British rule in August 1947, Indian intelligentsia remained engaged and active in spreading the message of oneness and solidarity based on the traditional wisdom “Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam” Soft power essentially refers to
a country’s ability to attract other nations through its culture, foreign policy and political values, rather than the use of military might. Home to one of the world’s oldest surviving civilizations and religions – Hinduism and Buddhism, its biggest ideological export, India's spiritual, artistic, and cultural impact make it a soft power.

The soft power of India has scattered her extensive social and civilizational heritage over millennia – Swami Vivekananda’s message of love and fraternity, Rabindranath Tagore’s international humanism. The Gandhian concept of non-violence, Nehru’s five postulates of Panchsheel (Peaceful Coexistence), Sarvapalli Radhakrishnan’s teachings of Indian philosophy, Dr. B.R. Ambedkar’s untiring efforts to establish a domain of equality and eradication of caste based discrimination and instill the values of ‘liberty, equality, justice and fraternity made India an important player in the comity of nations with considerable clout as a soft power globally. The religious leader of the Tibetans, His Holiness Dalai Lama explained, “India’s great tradition of religious tolerance can be a role model for the entire world”. The soft power has now been graced as the essential factor of the overall power of a nation. Soft power has also become an important and essential element in determining India’s foreign policy and strategic decisions.

In the recent years, it is a matter of great satisfaction that India, has and rightly so, demonstrated its worth as a ‘soft power’. Obviously, India’s foreign policy is fully geared to meet the challenges and demands of emerging international scenario. The first Education

International Day of Non-violence in Minsk ((Belarus)

Minister of India, Maulana Abul Kalam Azad founded the Indian Council of Cultural Relations (ICCR) in April, 1950 immediately after India becoming a Republic in January, 1950 on adopting and embracing the new constitution of India. ICCR, under the Ministry of External Affairs, has been doing a good job in establishing, promoting and nurturing cultural and educational relations with India’s counterparts internationally. India, in 2007, initiated the idea of promoting Non-violence - a ‘lofty Gandhian philosophy’ by declaring October 2, the birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi, as International Day of Non-violence under the aegis of the UNO. It was much appreciated in those days of ‘strife and tension ‘resulting in increasing violent
Inaugurating Yoga Sibar at Glasgow (Scotland) UK

behavior throughout the world. With a view to ward off dangers to our mental and physical wellness, India took another appreciable initiative in promoting the Indian traditional and time tested system – Yoga for the benefit and advantage of humanity and convinced the UNO to declare June 21 as International Day of Yoga in 2015.

Soft Power is about winning the hearts and minds of people. It has come a long way and has the wherewithal of offering more to the world as a soft-power – the largest functional and vibrant democracy, one of the fast moving economies of the world. India can boast of having one of the best constitutions to govern the unique conditions of ‘unity in diversity ‘under the lofty tenets of equality and equitable order not only for India but for the world at large.

In this regard, when we would be celebrating and observing the International Day of Yoga on June 21 and International Day of Non-violence on October 2, I would like to remind and awaken the Government of India of the proposal on April 14, birth anniversary of Babasaheb Ambedkar as International Day of Equality resting with Ministry of External Affairs since June 2015. Taking cue from this proposal and efforts of Indian Diaspora, particularly the followers of the greatest son of India, Babasaheb Ambedkar, the City

of Burnaby in April 2020 and the State of British Columbia of Canada in April 2021 proclaimed April 14 as Dr. B.R. Ambedkar Day of Equality. The Government of PM Narendra Modi is yet to take a decision in this regard and make a demarche to the UN to add yet another milestone in the journey of India as a ‘Soft power ‘and demonstrate strength of its diplomacy to support the “Millennium Goals” of the UN with regard to the equitable world order on one hand and to honour one of the greatest sons of India and messiah of dalits and weaker sections of the society and the world at large,  Babasaheb Ambedkar. India has been a proponent of freedom and equality throughout and stood against the scourge like Apartheid in Africa. Most of the countries in the under developed or least developed world are yearning for equality, social, economic and political. They would tend to support the Indian idea and proposal to flag the issue of equality through the UNO. In turn, India will gain in its stature as a ‘Soft Power’.

 It will only be befitting and appropriate to take an early decision and urge the world body to declare April 14 as International Day of Equality. It is all the more appropriate and relevant when, as said by the Tribune in its Editorial on June 18, 2021, “It is (BJP), in some ways, India’s biggest Dalit party, with highest number of Dalit parliamentarians in both 2014 and 2019 and a strong vote base

Dy. Speaker Charanjit Singh Atwal at UN on April 14, 2016

among Dalit sub-castes. Union Minister Ramdas Athawale has termed PM Narendra Modi a “real Ambedkarite” and predicted his return to power in 2024. PM Modi would stand to gain much in strengthening his position and stature by taking an early and positive decision with regard to International Day of Equality and promote and strengthen India as a “Soft Power” to reckon with.

Someone has rightly said, as accessed from the internet, “India should figure out its strengths if it wants to resurrect its national image. Its ancient wisdom and spirituality should encourage other nations to acknowledge that India can have a great leadership role in the world. India definitely has the potential and holds immense opportunities to elevate its position further as a ‘rising global soft power’ that can further pave way for the country to become a ‘soft power-superpower’ of the 21st century.”

Greetings on the International Day of Yoga, June 21.


Wednesday, June 16, 2021

2022 Punjab Assembly Polls – Akali Dal - BSP Alliance


2022 Punjab Assembly Polls – Akali Dal - BSP Alliance 

All political parties are gearing up for the forthcoming assembly polls due in the first quarter of next year, 2022. Akali Dal and BSP have taken the lead and announced their joining hands on June 12 to challenge the Congress hold on power with much hope and promise.

Congress Party and BJP are still in the process of finalizing their plans and strategies. Akalis severed its long standing partnership with BJP recently in the wake of Farm Laws and farmers’ agitation and was obviously needed additional support to unseat the Congress Party.  BSP was the only option with a view to attract dalit support in this regard. On the other hand BSP also required boosting their aspirations to grab power as their cadres were getting restless and disgruntled. Out of 117 seats of the assembly, BSP will contest 20 – 8 in Doaba, 5 in Majha and 7 in Malwa ( 12 reserved and 8 general seats) against their expectation of about 25 seats and Akali Dal will have the major share of 97 seats. This share of 20 and 97 seems fine as BSP has lost its share of votes over the years from more than 15% in 1996 to less than 2% in 2017. There are many ‘ifs and buts’ on the likely outcome of the alliance between Akali Dal and BSP, given the history of their political conduct in the past. In 1996, both the parties contested the Lok Sabha elections together and registered a huge victory by grabbing 11 seats (3 BSP and 8 Akalis) out of 13 seats. Manyawar Kanshi Ram himself was steering the wheels of BSP. Later, Akalis ditched the alliance with BSP and joined hands with BJP in the next assembly polls in 1997. It generated confidence deficit on both the sides. Now after 25 years, they have come around to join hands to capture power. But the distance between the proverbial ‘the cup and the lip’ is to be gulfed.

The leadership of both BSP and Akali Dal demonstrated to be ‘upbeat’ and expressed satisfaction on the alliance. BSP Supremo Mayawati termed the alliance as “a new political and social initiative’ while BSP’s senior leader, MP Satish Mishra who negotiated the alliance said, “Today is the new day in Punjab’s

politics; a historic day” President of Akali Dal, Sukhbir Badal said, The relationship which was formed by SAD Patron Parkash Singh Badal and BSP Founder Kanshi Ram 25 years ago has been revived”. Former CM Parkash Singh Badal blessing the alliance said, ‘It was the beginning of a secular, federal and democratic revolution in the state and the country for a total socio-economic and political revamp of polity”. Congress MP, Chaudhary Santokh Singh dubbed the alliance as “opportunistic” Another Congress MP, Ravneet Bittu created a ‘political storm’ by making a controversial and, prima facie, said to be ‘castiest’ remarks on leaving the said to be ‘pious or holy’ seats by the Akalis to the said to be a party of dalits, BSP. BJP appears to be watching the emerging scene carefully before jumping into the fray. Some political pandits feel that BJP might resort to arm twisting of Mayawati, if required, to torpedo the alliance to ‘teach a lesson’ to Akalis for divorcing BJP.

The political analysts and the media have shown considerable interest in the development. The main stream media gave  mixed reactions. The Times of India story done by a knowledgeable hack I.P. Singh titled it as “BSP cadres happy with SAD tie-up, peeved at leaving ‘good’ seats”. The Tribune in an editorial observed the alliance as ‘is an attempt by Akali Dal and Mayawato led BSP to revive their political fortune jointly in the state”. One of the senior most retired IAS officers of dalit community who also remained privy to important decisions of Manyawar Kanshi Ram and his politics, Tilak Sarangal candidly wrote in his timeline of Facebook and said, “The present alliance will also meet the same fate (referring to 1996). It may break even before 2022 election. Even if it continues, BSP is going to be big loser. Of these 20 seats which they have got, only 3-4 seats are winnable. They may lose heavily. SAD will be at advantage. They may regain the lost ground because of after effects of Bargari incident. BSP cadre may vote for SAD, but vice versa may not be true. SAD, may go with BJP after elections, if they will be anywhere near majority.”  The sister of Manyawar Kanshi Ram, has criticized the SAD-BSP alliance and blamed Mayawati for the downfall of the party founder so laboriously by his brother. I spoke to some of the Punjab leaders of the BSP. They were hesitant of coming out openly. One of them, anonymously, said that BSP might win 7-8 seats – three on Doaba (Kartarpur, Phagwara and Nawansehar) and 4-5) elsewhere in Majha and Malwa from General seats where the party will ask its senior ally Akali Dal to select and name candidates who will contest on BSP symbol as BSP may not find winnable candidates in these General seats from its own cadres.

Now it will depend on the performance of both the alliance partners and their ability to successfully transfer their vote shares to the respective candidates. If they succeed in doing so, it will be further confirmed that both parties really believe in an egalitarian society as visualized by the Sikh Gurus and Manyawar Kanshi Ram who once

said that Guru Granth Sahib was his election manifesto. And if the SAD-BSP Alliance did not show good results, then dalits will need to sit and contemplate whether they should chalk their own way, independent of all others streams with about 40% dalit population of Punjab. The new entrants and smaller players like Azad Samaj Party o Chandrashekhar Azad (Ravan) and Jeevan Malla’s Bahujan Dravid Party among others would be there upset the applecart. BSP should not be oblivious of this. All said, obviously, it cannot be allowed any further that dalits sit outside the power structures and do the bidding of others whosoever they might be. I conclude:

Tu Pehle Baat; Phir Baat Ka Andaj Paida Kar,

Phir Duniya Mein Tujhe Koi Nazar Andaz Kar Nahin Sakta





Tuesday, June 8, 2021

My Friend Janak Raj Chauhan – An Obituary


My Friend Janak Raj Chauhan – An Obituary

We are passing through a difficult time. This is for the 5th time in a short span of about 2 months that I had to write an obituary of my friends and people of sterling worth for the community and the society at large. Today it is for my close friend and an active and untiring community activist, Janak Raj Chauhan, about 65 years,
who succumbed to various ailments like diabetes on June 7. For the last couple of months, he was confined to bed due to acute fallout of diabetes. Though he was suffering from the disease for a couple of years yet he remained active and participative in all sorts of community activities with lot of grit and sense of involvement. We all will miss him and his always enthusiastic approach to deal with matters at hand.

I came know Janak only recently on my return to Jalandhar after retirement from diplomatic career in 2010 through my friend Ram Lal Dass. Janak took voluntary retirement from his coveted position of an officer in the Bank of Baroda a couple of years ago. Janak was the Convener/Patron of Society for the Poors’ Economic Development (SPEED) and he invited me to join them in their endeavors to do something concrete for the empowerment of the weaker sections of the society. It was a pleasure to work with Janak. I found him a man of commitment and total engagement with cross sections of the civil society with regard to his work for the community. It was Janak who introduced me or revived my connection with his associates and well-wishers like Principal Dr. V.K. Tiwari, Principal Dr. K.C. Mohindru, Prof. K.K. Ghai, DGP

(Retired) Lubhaya Ram Jassi, IPS, Tax Commissioner (Retired) Joginder Baghe, IRS among others in the process. From this one can understand Janak’s level of engagement with the who’s Who of the civic society in and around Jalandhar.  Some years ago, Dr. Kshipra Uke and her husband Dr. Shankar Das, both scholars of the JNU, visited us in Jalandhar with regard to revival of Babasaheb Ambedkar’s unfinished task of establishing School of Politics in Jalandhar. Janak was very helpful in facilitating their work. With the help of one of his associates, Rajesh Virdi, he found a site in a close by village in Kale Bahian for the school and even made arrangements for the stay of interested students, who came from different parts of the country for the interview, at the Punjab Press Club. Janak, under the aegis of SPEED, arranged an introductory function for the visiting JNU scholars at Ambedkar Bhawan, a nerve centre of the community activities. Unfortunately, the school project could not take off, in spite of Janak’s unstinted support. Just to know a bit more about Janak, I spoke to our common friend, Ram Lal Dass before writing this obituary of our dear friend. Ram Lal Dass, who used to speak about some funny habits of Janak just in a lighter vein as a good friend, spoke very high of the departed soul. He told me that Janak was a gem of a man. He was a student activist, an alumnus of Jalandhar DAV College, from college days. They used to train poor students, particularly of dalit communities, for bank examinations for employment even after joining service in different banks. Janak Raj remained active during his service in the BoB as an office bearer of employees union to safeguard the interests of the employees. Janak Chauhan was a much respected person among his colleagues. I found that Janak was having and maintaining a close liaison with the media including Doordarshan and the community outfits like Desh Bhagat Memorial in Jalandhar. I recall that he invited me one day to his home near Maqsudan for recording an interview for a TV channel run by his close friend and associate Channa Sahib and enjoyed his hospitality over piping hot pakoras and masala tea.

I close this with heartfelt condolences to the bereaved family of my friend Janak Raj Chauhan. Janak was an asset of the family and the community. His going has created a huge vacuum which would be difficult to fill.

Jis Dhaj Se Koi Maqtal Mein Gaya;

Woh Shaan Salamat Rehti Hai,

Yeh Jaan To Aani Jaani Hai;

Is Jaan Ki Koi Baat Nahin.

Thursday, June 3, 2021

Shaky Edifice of Indian Democratic Federalism


Shaky Edifice of Indian Democratic Federalism

In the 72nd year of India becoming a Republic in January 1950 after the promulgation of its constitution which declares India as ‘India that is Bharat shall be a Union of States’, it seems that the vision of our forefathers to make India a democratic polity is increasingly coming under stress. Of late, PM Narendra Modi’s government in its 8th year of governance with absolute majority in the Lok Sabha appears to be facing challenges which are bound to adversely affect the very edifice of Indian democratic federalism which might result in definite danger to India’s existence as an independent, sovereign and dignified member of the comity of nations. Without going into the details and blame game, it is time to sit and think to save India from ushering her into “Grammar of Anarchy” as feared by Dr. B.R. Ambedkar, the chief architect of the constitution. The political analysts both in India and abroad have already started terming our polity as ‘flawed democracy’ and ‘electoral autocracy’. It is a matter of concern and worry. India needs “Gyansheel” leadership, as advised by Babasaheb Ambedkar, with a sense of statesmanship to steer clear the mess which we have created for ourselves by placing our vested interests above that of the country. I have no hesitation in quoting Dr. Ambedkar again when he warned us in his speech in the Constituent Assembly on November 25, 1949 in which after explaining the history of how India lost her independence in the past and how it might be lost again. The visionary leader said, “Will history repeat itself? It is this thought which fills me with anxiety. This anxiety is deepened by the realization of the fact that in addition

to our old enemies in the form of castes and creeds we are going to have many political parties with diverse and opposing political creeds. Will Indians place the country above their creed or will they place creed above country? I do not know. But this much is certain that if the parties place creed above country, our independence will be put in jeopardy a second time and will probably be lost forever. This eventuality we must all resolutely guard against. We must be determined to defend our independence with the last drop of our blood.” It is time to wake up before it is too late. I am reminded of an Urdu couplet of Allama Iqbal: 

Chhupa Kar Ashtin Mein Bijlian Rakh Li Hain Gardu Ne;

Anadil Bagh Ke Gafil Na Baithen Ashianao Mein

I am not an expert political analyst and write this as a layman but somewhat concerned and worried citizen about the on-goings in the administration and conduct of our senior functionaries. The immediate provocation in this regard came from some recent happenings of which all enlightened fellow citizens must be aware. Let me elaborate a bit:

i)                  Handling of the Covid situation: - It is presumed that Modi Government is strong and decisive with a thumping majority in the parliament. Unfortunately, the Government could not register its hold on the situation. It could not take along the opposition in dealing with the challenge. Rather than generating a sense of confidence among the masses with regard to labour migration, providing beds, oxygen and other medical facilities, vaccination, the Government remained bogged down in a blame game and finding excuses. Even if there were some inadvertent slackness in the conduct of the situation, there was no harm in admitting it and trying to rectify the situation. The leadership could not show ‘statesmanship’ and succumbed to scoring brownie points which went against the tenets of good governance. The resultant slugfest and bickering undermined the basic principles of ‘cooperative federalism’ as stipulated in our constitution in its letter and spirit. The opposition also failed to show their involvement and sincerity in working with the Government in dealing with the situation. It did not go well with our democratic credentials.

ii)               Political expediency prevailed: - It has been observed that, of late, the tendency to grab power at any cost has taken the driving seat. Both the governing class and the opposition remained busy in gaining political power by hook or crook without showing any scruples and adherence to the constitution, morality and propriety. Amidst the corona crisis,

state elections were held without thinking of its repercussions. Unfortunately, the constitutional authorities like the Election Commission and so called free and fair media seemed to be towing the government dictates. Election Commission could have curtailed and streamlined the mindless election campaigns. The apex government agencies like the CBI, ED and others are used to settle political dissent. It is yet another area where we have miserably failed and the “Laxman Rekhas” crossed for political expediency. The constitutional coveted positions like Governors are unashamedly jumping in the arena to please their masters in Delhi. These are some of the disturbing trends for the democratic and federal polity which should be arrested, sooner than later.

iii)            The ‘Steelframe’ under threat: - The Civil Services, the so called ‘Steelframe’ and the permanent government of the country have increasingly come under stress and threat. It is not a good omen. The recent happenings in Maharashtra and Punjab involving senior police functionaries involved in slanging matches with their political bosses, the recent happenings in West Bengal involving extension, transfer to the Centre, and his appointment as an adviser to the CM stinks of rot which has set in the polity. Yet another example of insensitive conduct of the government has just come in Jalandhar itself – a senior functionary of the Enforcement Directorate, said to be an honest and straight officer, was handed over a charge sheet on the day of his retirement instead of a bouquet of flowers. Were the concerned authorities sleeping before, if there were serious charges against the officer? Can it happen without the nod of the Minister of Finance under whom the Directorate of ED functions? It is a disturbing trend which needs to be addressed immediately. Former Foreign Secretary, Shyam Saran has written, “There is a growing perception that the role and status of civil servants has diminished under the Modi government” in an article in the Tribune of June 2.

iv)            Judicial Overreach:- Of late, it has also been observed that the three principal organs of the state, as stipulated in the constitution, that is Executive, Legislature and Judiciary are loggerheads with each other; particularly the judiciary is trying to encroach upon the spheres of legislation and execution as the ‘High priest’ of the state. The case in point, to my mind, is the recent pronouncements and directions given by the courts in the matters pertaining to decisions and policies of the elected government with regard to dealing with Corona pandemic. It will be advisable to rectify the situation, before it gets too late. The system of ‘Checks and Balances’ in this regard is required to be adhered to scrupulously.


I have simply tried, as a novice, to underline and highlight some of the recent happenings which have undermined the principles and edifice of democratic federalism of our country. It was but obvious and natural that the tussle among the states vis-a-vis the Centre has generated avoidable heat and controversies detrimental to the smooth functioning in terms of the letter and spirit of the constitution. The

political leadership ought to be ‘Viveksheel’ and Gyansheel’ under the dictums of ‘morality and propriety’. Both the government and the opposition, political outfits, civil services, civil society at large need to look into this and have introspection to set the situation right before further damage is done. Let us once again visit Babasaheb Ambedkar and listen to what he said while cautioning the nation about the challenges ahead, in the Constituent Assembly, “I do not wish to weary the House any further. Independence is no doubt a matter of joy. But let us not forget that this independence has thrown on us great responsibilities. By independence, we have lost the excuse of blaming the British for anything going wrong. If hereafter things go wrong, we will have nobody to blame except ourselves. There is great danger of things going wrong. Times are fast changing.”