Wednesday, March 22, 2023
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Are we really equal?



It is a fallacy that the Indian Constitution guarantees/gives/provides equal rights to all citizens.

Yes , the equality of rights granted by Constitution is a complete fallacy. Some people are more equal than others. The country is divided along various lines and the list is endless. The differences in rights of haves and have nots are very apparent whether it is right to education, speech, equality or right to constitutional remedies.

Poor do not get even basic education whereas rich have access to the best. There is inherent discrimination in the treatment of people. When a constable uses his lathi on a rickshaw wallah to clear the way for a VVIP car, the fallacy of constitutional rights becomes evident. When a poor has to keep running to courts for years for even simple cases but rich are able to get faster remedies by hiring eminent lawyers, the fallacy becomes evident. When poor are not able to get their complaints registered, are forced to live in highly un-civic conditions and are treated like animals by government officers, the fallacy becomes even more evident.

The constitution lays down the rights in letter but the spirit of the same is not captured in their enforcement.

Next in line is the scourge of reservation. The benefits of reservation to people of certain castes is clear indication that all are not equal in the eyes of the constitution. Again, the benefit is continuously cornered by the privileged ones of the reserved class and the ones who really deserve it are denied the benefit. Nobody has realized that Reservation is causing a distinct division in society. After a few generations, the divisions would become quite distinct and would cause a serious rift in society.

The equality of rights, as enshrined in our constitution are not spelt out in terms of where the granting of rights translates to its clear transmission to all. Therefore Equality of rights has remained only in the books but the reality is horribly different.

Although the constitution specifies equality of rights, but all the systems are skewed in favour of the haves as far as the enjoyment of rights is concerned. Exploitation of poor is rampant. They are denied their basic rights, they have to struggle to get their quota of welfare measures and they have no recourse to remedy of their grievances. The authorities who are supposed to redress their problems are insensitive to their plight and have no accountability. Therefore the poor continue to suffer and the constitutional guarantee of equality of rights remains only on paper.

So where does it all lead to? What is required is a change of mindset. People have to accept that equality of rights is not just some lip service but important for the long term growth of our society. If we want to lead a peaceful life and also want to bequeath the same peace to coming generations, we must start practicing the equality of rights in their true spirit.


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