The following are the excerpts from the Directive Principles of the Constitution promulgated in 1950. One can see what the Constitution enjoins upon the State and what those who manage to get control of the State machinery have been doing.
(1) The State shall strive to promote the welfare of the people by securing and protecting as effectively as it may a social order in which justice, social, economic and political, shall inform all the institutions of the national life.
(2) The State shall, in particular, strive to minimise the inequalities in income, and endeavour to eliminate inequalities in status, facilities and opportunities, not only amongst individuals but also amongst groups of people residing in different areas or engaged in different vocations.
The State shall, in particular, direct its policy towards securing –
(a) that the citizen, men and women equally, have the right to an adequate means of livelihood;
(b) that the ownership and control of the material resources of the community are so distributed as best to subserve the common good;
(c) that the operation of the economic system does not result in the concentration of wealth and means of production to the common detriment;
(d) that there is equal pay for equal work for both men and women;
(e) that the health and strength of workers, men and women, and the tender age of children are not abused and that citizens are not forced by economic necessity to enter avocations unsuited to their age or strength;
(f) that children are given opportunities and facilities to develop in a healthy manner and in conditions of freedom and dignity and that childhood and youth are protected against exploitation and against moral and material abandonment.
The State shall secure that the operation of the legal system promotes justice, on a basis of equal opportunity, and shall, in particular, provide free legal aid, by suitable legislation or schemes or in any other way, to ensure that opportunities for securing justice are not denied to any citizen by reason of economic or other disabilities.
The State shall take steps to organise village panchayats and endow them with such powers and authority as may be necessary to enable them to function as units of self-government.
The State shall, within the limits of its economic capacity and development, make effective provision for securing the right to work, to education and to public assistance in cases of unemployment, old age, sickness and disablement, and in other cases of undeserved want.
The State shall make provision for securing just and humane conditions of work and for maternity relief.
The State shall endeavor to secure, by suitable legislation or economic organisation or in any other way, to all workers agricultural, industrial or otherwise, work, a living wage, conditions of work ensuring a decent standard of life and full enjoyment of leisure and social and cultural opportunities and, in particular, the State shall endeavour to promote cottage industries on an individual or co-operative basis in rural areas.
The State shall take steps, by suitable legislation or in any other way, to secure the participation of workers in the management of undertakings, establishments or other organisation engaged in any industry.
The State shall endeavour to secure for the citizens a uniform civil code throughout the territory of India.
The State shall endeavor to provide, within a period of ten years from the commencement of this Constitution, for free and compulsory education for all children until they complete the age of fourteen years.
The State shall promote with special care the educational and economic interests of the weaker sections of the people, and in particular, of the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes, and shall protect them from social injustice and all forms of exploitation.
The State shall regard the raising of the level of nutrition and the standard of living of its people and the improvement of public health as among its primary duties and, in particular, the State shall endeavour to bring about prohibition of the consumption except for medicinal purpose of intoxicating drinks and of drugs which are injurious to health.
The State shall endeavour to organise agriculture and animal husbandry on modern and scientific lines 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.
The State shall endeavour to protect and improve the environment and to safeguard the forests and wild life of the country.
It shall be the obligation of the State to protect every monument or place or object of artistic or historic interest, declared by or under law made by Parliament to be of national importance, from spoliation, disfigurement, destruction, removal, disposal or export, as the case may be.
Madhya Pradesh minister of home and jails Babulal Gaur belongs to the rare breed of politicians. He contested his first Assembly election in 1974 as an independent supported by the parties which later formed Janata Party to dislodge Indira Gandhi and the Congress from power at the Centre and in several States. Gaur revealed at a public function a few years ago that he had won that election mainly because of the help from Congress leader Arjun Singh. As a Minister in the BJP government of Sunderlal Patwa in the early 90s, Gaur had displaced thousands of Muslim families from old Bhopal and dumped them at inhospitable terrains near Gandhinagar outside the city. He was in the forefront of the welcoming party when the Kar Sevaks returned from Ayodhya after demolishing Babri Masjid that resulted in communal riots in several part of the country, Bhopal being one of the worst-hit with 192 recorded killings. Still Gaur continues to be more popular among Muslims than any other BJP leader and more popular than most of the State Congress leaders also.
Patwa hated his guts but had to induct him into his cabinet at the insistence of (then BJP president) Lal Krishna Advani. When Uma Bharti was declared BJP’s chief ministerial candidate and had her absolute say in selection of candidates, she had convinced almost the entire party leadership that Gaur would better serve the party in Lok Sabha than in the Assembly. She had even selected Lok Sabha constituency for him – Bhopal. It was Atal Behari Vajpayee at the Central Election Committee who vetoed it down and said that Gaur, being a senior leader, should be allowed to contest for the Assembly if he so desired. Then, Uma Bharti trusted only Gaur to hold the chief minister’s post when she was made to resign in the wake of the non-bailable warrant against her from the Hubli court. Shivraj Singh Chouhan’s manoeuvrings have failed to keep Gaur out of his cabinet.
Gaur is not a stickler to the RSS/BJP code in the matter of his food habits. Still, the hard-core puritan like Kushabhau Thakre had tremendous affection for him. A retired executive of a private sector industrial unit tells me that in the 1980s he was assigned by his boss the task of giving ‘donations’ to important leaders towards their election expenses. When he reached Gaur with Rs 60,000 (earmarked for him), the BJP leader consulted a register where he had apparently noted down the amounts he was hoping to collect from companies and individuals and told the executive that he had counted on Rs 3,000 from his company. He refused to accept more, the retired executive said.
Gaur has had, by and large, a clean public life. The only black spot was the blatant manipulation to which he resorted, with the help of then State Election Commissioner A V Singh, to get his widowed and apolitical daughter-in-law Krishna Gaur elected as Mayor of Bhopal in 2009. A V Singh, who belonged to the IAS, never disturbed his conscience when it came to going against the rules and propriety to keep himself on the right side of the powers that be. Defeated Congress candidate Abha Singh’s supporters had alleged that then PCC president Suresh Pachauri had also betrayed the party.
Gaur occasionally displays a sense of humour which is not common among BJP leaders. One day he invited some journalists for dinner. He called me up to remind me. I said that I had no option but to obey his command because, being the home minister, he would otherwise send a police party to pick me up. Gaur was silent for a few seconds, then said quietly: ‘Yes. You know I am minister of jails also’.
Reproduced here is an editorial in The New York Times of November 10,2015 published under the heading ‘A Rebuke to India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi’
During a national election in India last year, Narendra Modi promised “development for all.” As prime minister, he has yet to deliver big economic improvements, but in the meantime, members of his government and political party have shredded his promise of inclusion by inflaming sectarian tensions. Now, voters in the country’s third most populous state have sent Mr. Modi a message: Put an end to the hatemongering.
Poisoning politics with religious hatred is bound to squander the country’s economic potential at a time when India should be playing a bigger and more constructive role in South Asia and the world. India’s history is filled with examples of religious and caste-based violence that set the country back. Those conflicts subsided during India’s rapid economic growth, but many Indians now fear a resurgence.
On Sunday, Mr. Modi and his Bharatiya Janata Party lost a legislative election in the northern state of Bihar, which has a population of more than 100 million. A “grand alliance” of secular parties united by their antipathy to the Hindu nationalist B.J.P. won 178 constituencies in the 243-member legislative assembly to the B.J.P.’s 53. Many political analysts see the loss as a repudiation of Mr. Modi because he and his top aides campaigned vigorously in the state and many ads carried his image, rather than photos of local politicians.
In the months leading up to the Bihar election, hard-liners in the B.J.P. and organizations affiliated with the party stoked India’s long-simmering sectarian tensions. The party’s lawmakers pushed for beef bans around the country ostensibly to protect the cow, which many Hindus consider holy, but really as a ploy to divide Hindus and Muslims, some of whom eat beef.
Mobs riled by the anti-beef crusade have killed four Muslims suspected of slaughtering, stealing or smuggling cows in the last seven weeks. And in August, unidentified attackers shot and killed Malleshappa Madivalappa Kalburgi, a scholar and vocal critic of Hindu idolatry. Hundreds of writers, filmmakers and academics have protested the growing intolerance by returning awards they received from the government-supported bodies.
Mr. Modi has not forcefully condemned the beef-related killings, despite pleas by Muslims and other minorities. He has tolerated hateful and insensitive remarks by his ministers and by B.J.P. officials.
During a campaign stop in Bihar, Mr. Modi tried to exploit sectarian divisions by telling voters that the secular alliance would reduce affirmative action benefits for lower-caste Hindus and tribes in favor of “a particular community” — an apparent reference to Muslims. And the president of the B.J.P., Amit Shah, one of Mr. Modi’s closest advisers, told voters that a victory for the alliance would be celebrated in Pakistan, the Muslim-majority neighbor that has fought several wars with India since 1947.
Voters in Bihar saw through the B.J.P.’s attempts to divide them. They, like most Indians, are looking for leaders who will improve their standard of living. Bihar is one of the poorest states in India but has grown fast in the last 10 years under the leadership of Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, who is credited for cracking down on crime, building roads and increasing the enrollment of girls in schools.
Mr. Modi and the B.J.P. secured a majority in the lower house of Parliament last year with promises of economic reforms. Now, to push through those reforms, the party needs to win the control of the upper house, which is elected by state assemblies. It won’t win those elections unless Mr. Modi gets rid of the officials in his government and party who are fueling sectarian culture wars.
Meanwhile, there are things Mr. Modi could do administratively to improve the economy, like investing in education and health care and building infrastructure. Voters in Bihar have sent the B.J.P. a clear message. Mr. Modi should heed it.