On the occasion of celebrating the Sastipoorthy (Sixty years) of Indian Republic on 26th January 2010, it was indeed a matter of great pride and joy for India to celebrate the democratic nationhood within the given parameters of liberty, equality, fraternity, sovereignty and secularism. Sixty years of Indian Republic also coincided with the celebrations of the sixty years of Indian Constitution and the sixty years of ‘Janagana mana…’ as a national anthem, which further strengthened the patriotic spirit of Indiahood among its citizens. Thanks to the contributions of all our great Indian heros and sheros, for their relentless services for the cause of India as a nation and for the proud legacy they have left with.
The idea of nationhood not only has political overtones to it, but also has the social, economic and cultural fabric beguiled to it. According to Ambedkar, the idea of nation is still to be created, which implies that ‘nation’ as such is not static and lethargic, but which is in continuous momentum growing and keeps evolving. Therefore India as a nation is continuously evolving, for there is dynamism in the concept of nation for India. If we are content with the idea of nation, we have been blinding ourselves from the growing realities of our day.
He had a strong case at point to argue his idea, the reality of castes in India. People and societies divided into a number of castes and sub-castes cannot make a nation. A nation is one, which is over against divisions of any kind, specially divisions of caste, which is evil and oppressive. Jesus’ prophetic words come handy at this point. For Jesus said “Every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation; and every city or house divided against itself shall not stand" ( Mat 12:25) With the kind of caste hierarchies that exist in India, the divisions caste perpetuate, the discriminations caste flames up, I am afraid can India even become a nation without these divisions and discriminations? Unless caste is completely wiped of, the nation India cannot avoid an eruption, an eruption of revolution for transformation.
Though caste system is an age-old reality in India, unfortunately most of our Indian sociologists have not analysed caste as a factor that determines Indian society today. However when we are re-visiting the notion of nation today, I think it is immanent to realize that caste is the cruelest forms that exist to divide and discriminate people, which makes us India not be a nation in its fullest sense. It is time to overcome caste and all its forms, for only then our sixty years of India as a republic will have its meaning. As responsible citizens of this country we need to empathize with the margninalised, the oppressed, the discriminated and make equality, liberty and fraternity a reality.