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By Dr. Vishwanath Kamath 

Indian culture is like an ocean. An ocean welcomes and absorbs all the rivers and remains calm in spite of hundreds of rivers joining it. It never crosses its boundary. That is called मर्यादा (Maryaada) in Sanskrit. Indian culture is literally so. Despite many cultural invasions it has faced, ultimately making the invading cultures to become one with the Indian Culture. This great tolerance of our culture has helped us remain what we are today.

The ancestral heritage, and the culture, however rich and great they might have been will have to flow with the time. It is like a river which keeps up over the ages its name, quality, attributes and whatever has been there to its credit.  The water in the river flows and changes   to make way for new water while the river remains the same.  Culture and Civilization are similar to the flowing rivers, which inherit all good traditions, attributes, customs etc., but they transform themselves with the flow of time to become more developed and refined without losing their basic values.

This aspect of greatness of our ancestors and heritage depicted from the Pre-Vedic period to Mohenjodaro to British India, has been illustrated through many pictures and illustrations in the background of various chapters of the Constitution. As depicted in the Original of the Constitution of India, the following are the details of Illustrations.

 

Period Illustration (Scenes)    Page
Part I Mohenjodaro Mohenjadaro 1
Part II Vedic period VedicPeriod 3
Part III Epic Period Ramayana 6
Part IV Epic Period KrishnaArjuna 17
Part V Mahanjanapada and Nanda period Buddha 20
Part VI –      do – Mahaveera 63
Part VII Mauryan Period MauryanPeriod 98
Part VIII Gupta Period GuptaPeriod 102
Part IX –      do – VikramadityaCourt 104
Part X –      do – NalandaPeriod 105
Part XI Medieval Period MedievalPeriod 106
Part XII –      do – DancingNataraja 113
Part XIII –      do – BhagirathaMahabalipuram 130
Part XIV Muslim Period MughalPeriod 132
 Part XV -do – AkbarShivaji 141
 Part XVI British Period RaniTipu 144
 Part XVII Indian Freedom Movement GandhiDandi 149
XVIII -do- GandhiNaokhali 154
Part XIX Revolutionary Movement for Freedom SubhasBose 160
Part XX Natural Features Himalayas 167
Part XXI –      do – RajDesert 168
Part XXII –      do – IndianOcean 181

After going through the above don’t we feel proud and elated for the magnanimity of the givers of the Constitution of India that is Bharath, who cherished recalling our great Heritage and Culture? The period covered is very vast in time from the time immemorial to the British period of recent History.

Indian culture is like an ocean. An ocean welcomes and absorbs all the rivers and remains calm in spite of hundreds of rivers joining it and losing their identity.   It never bulges and never crosses its boundary. That is called मर्यादा (Maryaada) in Sanskrit. Indian culture is literally so. So many cultural invasions it has faced, ultimately making the invading cultures to become one with the Indian Culture. This great tolerance of our culture has helped us remain what we are today.

Nobody is an alien to us. No faith is foreign to us. A country believing in crores of gods and god heads including the spirits and ghosts, can never think of showing intolerance towards a few gods which the invaders wanted to thrust upon us. For we people finding Divinity in every aspect of Nature, be it a mountain or river or desert, it is not difficult to digest the gods from other faiths, by whatever name they call them.

In brief, the vast canvas on which the illustrations  are depicted gives us a  glimpse of our “Unity in Diversity”,  from Pre-Vedic period to Freedom Movement period in time, from Vedic culture to  Muslim period to British  period   covering the flow of culture,  from Rama  to Krishna to Mahavir  to Buddha to Guru Govind Singh respecting various faiths, from Akbar and Shivaji to Jhansi Laxmi Bai upholding the virtues and values, the sculptural heritage, the geographical  variations of this vast country like oceans, mountains and deserts, Indians Independence Struggle and what not. Yet what has been depicted in our Constitution is only a tip of the Iceberg.

Such a great Country today is afraid of talking the name of any God, or God’s messengers. If you utter “Ram”, you are branded as “Communal”. No one considers “Ram” as part of our cultural heritage and “Ram Rajya” as an ideal State to be achieved. This trend has inflated to the extent that everyone except politicians are afraid of uttering any name, be it “Shivaji”, “Ram” or “Akbar”. What a pathetic situation we have let ourselves in!

THE DIRECTIVE   PRINCIPLES OF STATE POLICY

SAILING WITHOUT DIRECTIONS IS DANGEROUS!!!

The Part IV of the Constitution of India deals with the “Directive Principles of Sate Policy”. Art 36 to 51 (total 20) are there in the chapter.

About the application of the  principles  contained in this part  IV  it has been made clear  in the constitution  that the provisions contained  in this part shall not be  enforceable by any court, but the principles  there in laid down  are never the less fundamental in the  governance of the Country and it shall be the duty of the State to apply these principles in making laws.

The most contentious Articles as far as the politicians are concerned are regarding the “Common Civil Code” for the citizens (Art 44) and Prohibition of Cow Slaughter as envisaged in Art 48.  Art: 44 states, “The State shall endeavor to secure for the citizens a Uniform Civil Code throughout the territory of India”.

Art 48 states “the State……….. And shall in particular, take steps for preserving and improving the breeds and prohibiting the slaughter of cows and calves and other milch and draught cattle”.

While regarding other articles in the chapter there is no such hue and cry, the so called Secularists, Intellectuals and leftist scholars vehemently stand against bringing a Common Civil Code in the country and a prohibition on cow slaughter under the guise and garbs of secularism.

No doubt in Pannalal Bansilal Patil v the State of Andhra Pradesh, (AIR 1996 SC 1023) the SC had observed “Uniform law for all persons may be desirable. But its enactment in one go may be counter – productive to the unity of the nation….”

Here the irony is, there is a clear direction given in the constitution for the State to endeavor for both the above provisions.

SHALL WE TAKE A LESSON FROM ATATURK?

Some other countries, predominantly Muslim like Tunisia and Turkmenistan have undergone reforms long back.  Sharia courts were banned in 1956. There is a ban on polygamy and extra judicial divorce.

The Constitution of Turkmenistan under Art.11 declares the separation of religious from the State and the State Educational System.

It is not about any religion. It does not matter as to which religion when it comes to banning the regressive provisions and upholding the progressive one in promoting equality, justice and fraternity.

(The author can be reached at [email protected])

 

Source: Move With the Time, But …… Don’t Forget the Rich Heritage – Aseema