Reproducing an old post on what might be a starting point for National Reconciliation. For the record let it also be reiterated that National Reconciliation will require interventions from many directions with political being just one of them. Lasting reconciliation will only come from social interventions like this 100 year project.
It is clear from the discussion in the last post on Freedom to Faith that at the heart of all angst in India are apprehensions about Culture Conflicts.
These apprehensions have two dimensions
#1 Apprehensions of the culturally conscious within the Majority on whether a State wedded to “secularism” (however flawed its definition) will always find it incumbent to bend over backwards to appease the Minority at the expense of the Majority so Minorities feel secure.
#2 Apprehensions of the politically conscious within the Minority and the progressives on whether a State that yields to the Majority on culture issues will deny the Minority its freedom to faith and appear to be illiberal or fundamentalist to the “non-believing progressive liberal” global community (however flawed such perceptions maybe)
We must recognize the Truth behind these apprehensions and must provide provide an ideological and political framework to resolve the conflicts that are an inevitable consequence of such apprehensions.
As a first step we must stand for recognizing the below Truths and stand for accepting the below reality.
#1 It is true that the communal fault lines in India have their roots in political mobilization on religious grounds during the Freedom movement on all sides.
#2 It is also true that partition of India on religious grounds further deepened these fault lines rather than erase them
#3 The geo-political reality of the Sub-Continent as it exists today is unlikely to change and we must come to terms with it.
#4 It is possible to envisage a future where borders could become irrelevant but that future aspiration should not be the basis for domestic political mobilization in the present times, we must accept that reality as well atleast for the next 10 years.
#5 We must also recognize the Truth that in the immediate aftermath of Partition, the Indian State went out of its way to make the Minority feel secure in India out of deep apprehensions of instabillity and violence.
#6 We must also recognize the Truth that in that attempt to make the Minority feel secure the Indian State made mistakes some of which came at the expense of the Majority
#7 We must also recognize the Truth that these mistakes coupled with 5 decades of political monopoly of one Party contributed to illiberal and anti-national policies getting Constitutional sanction via subversive ammendments.
#8 We must also recognize the Truth that these 5 decades of monopoly had empowered political power brokers within the Minority at the expense of the “aam Admi” within the Minority
#9 We must also recognize the Truth that these political power brokers within the Minority had no political incentive in eliminating the apprehensions and pursuing politics that would have genuinely benefited their socio-economic development
#10 We must also recognize the Truth that this practice of nurturing political power brokers within the Minority to make flawed decisions at the expense of Majority had lead to an inevtiable political backlash in the late 1980s and 1990s.
#11 We must also accept the reality that while the politics of the late 1980s and early 1990s provided an outlet to the Majority to express its rejection of the flawed politics of the first 5 decades it failed to provide a coherent alternative within the ambit of the Constitution
#12 We must also accept the reality that the political mobilization on Culture Conflicts that remained unresolved due to the flawed politics of the first 5 decades while ending the political monopoly of one party and making national politics competitive came at a collateral social cost
#13 We must also accept the Truth that the collateral social cost in the form of political violence from this political mobilization is no different from the collateral social costs from political violence from past abuses of power and social conflicts during the first 5 decades after Independence
#14 We must also accept the Truth that the first 5 decades of misgovernance lead to an Institutionalization of poor Judicial Performance leading to unacceptable delays in Justice Delivery at all levels of the Government thus contributing to an abject lack of Justice Delivery to the many victims of this collateral damage from abuses of power and political mobilization on culture/social conflicts
#15 We must accept the reality that the Constitution, the state of the Judiciary and the Executive at Federal, State, Local levels as it exists today does not have the necessary tools to facilitate a transparent and participative process of resolution to these Culture Conflicts while ensuring Justice to all Victims of Political Violence over the last 6 decades.
#16 We must accept the reality that the practice of the past 6 decades of ammending the Constitution to give more powers to the Federal Government via Parliament’s ability to legislate does not lead to satisfactory solutions and only further weakens the sanctity of the Constitution and Federalism while sowing the seeds for future conflicts on account of local/regional sentiments being ignored or deliberately sidelined.
#17 We must also accept the reality that this practice of Federally legislated solutions to socio-economic conflicts has lead to short sighted politics that have only encouraged opportunistic political mobilization based on identity and all its associated negative effects of corruption, nepotism, political violence and instability through dissidence.
#18 We must finally accept the reality that the pursuit of “self interest” via identity politics that thrives on historical greivances will not end with Constitutional ammendments forced top down
#19 We must also finally accept the reality that the Cultural Diversity of India is such that there will also be a multitude of such “identity determined self interests” which may not always be in harmony with each other leading to inevitable political conflicts
#20 We must also finally accept the reality that the only way to resolve such future conflicts is to allow for an Institutionalized Constitutional Framework within which such Conflicts can be resolved Democratically without the need for National Legislations that are forced on everyone and without succumbing to the blackmail of competitive Political Violence by Identity based Groups in conflict with each other
With the above as the basis we must create a Institutionalized Constitutional Framework guaranteeing that
#1 There will be ZERO TOLERANCE TO Political Violence and Identity based Discrimination
#2 The Rule of Law will be ruthlessly enforced on above
#3 Justice will always be delivered to every Victim of violence and discrimination in a timely manner
to promise the following:
#1 States will have the freedom to frame laws on socio-economic issues like Reservations, Labor Laws, Social Schemes, Entitlements and the Constitution shall be ammended to allow for this freedom to the States
#2 Local Governments will have the freedom to raise taxes and bear the responsibility for local delivery of services from public utilties, law enforcement, zoning etc…
#3 Direct Democracy at the Local level will allow the people to push upwards proposals on Socio-Cultural issues to allow the States to resolve conflicts on Cultural and Social Conflicts in a democratic way
#4 There is a risk of Direct Democracy resulting in paralysis of the kind we have seen in California or resulting in Constitutionally absurd proposals finding popular support. It is only in such extreme cases there should be a role for the Supreme Court to intervene and specify Constitutionally acceptable parameters or limits while sending those issues back to the State and Local Government for resolution.
#5 For issues that transcend State boundaries or impact National Frontiers (like SSP) the current method of Federal Parliament based legislations will continue
With the above framework an acceptable solution can be found for
#1 Justice to all victims of Communal Riots
#2 Justice to all victims of Discrimination
#3 Freedom to Religious Institutions with no government interference
#4 Culture Conflicts that have remained unresolved on account of apprehensions of above 3