A unitary State does not mean concentration of all powers in the Centre; just as the head of the family does not have all the powers with him even though all the transactions are carried out in his name. Others also share the executive power. In our body also, does the soul possess all powers?…
…Continuing from previous issue
If we examine our constitution from the point of view of the growth of the nation, we find that our constitution needs amendment. We are one nation, one society. That is why we did not entertain any special rights on the basis of language, province, caste, religion, etc. but gave every one equal citizenship. There are separate states. There is no separate citizenship of state and of Union. We are all citizens of Bharat. By the same token, we have denied the right to secede to individual state. Not only that the power to demarcate the boundaries of state and to choose their names, is vested in the parliament, and not in assemblies. This is as it should be; in tune with the nationalism and tradition of Bharat. However, despite all this, we made our constitution federal, whereby what we have adopted in practice, we have rejected in principle. In a federation constituent units have their own sovereignty. These voluntarily relinquish their sovereignty to the federation, by an agreement. It may be that they surrender all their rights and thereby the centre requires sovereignty. But these powers are given to the Union. It has no power of its own. Thus the federal constitution considers the individual states as fundamental power, and the centre as merely a federation of states. This is contrary to the truth. It runs counter to the unity and indivisibility of Bharat. There is no recognition of the idea of Bharatmata, Our sacred motherland, as enshrined in the hearts of our people.
According to the first para of the Constitution, “India that is Bharat will be a federation of States”, i.e. Bihar Mata, Banga Mata, Punjab Mata, Kannada Mata, Tamil Mata, all put together make Bharat Mata. This is ridiculous. We have thought of the provinces as limbs of Bharat Mata and not as individual mother. Therefore our constitution should be unitary instead of federal.
A unitary State does not mean concentration of all powers in the Centre; just as the head of the family does not have all the powers with him even though all the transactions are carried out in his name. Others also share the executive power. In our body also, does the soul possess all powers? Thus a unitary State does not mean a highly autocratic centre nor does it entail the elimination of provinces. The provinces will have various executive powers. Even the various entities below the provincial level, such as the Jana Padas, will also have suitable powers. The Panchayats too should have powers. Traditionally, the Panchayats had a very important position. No body could dissolve Panchayats. today, however. our constitution does not have any place for these Panchayats. There are no powers to these Panchayats in their own right. They exist at the mercy of the states only as delegated authorities. It is necessary that their powers be considered fundamental. In this way, the decentralization of power will be accomplished. The authority will be distributed to the lowest level, and will be fully decentralized. At the same time, all these entities of power will be centred around the unitary State. This arrangement will embody Dharma.
If we carry this concept of Dharma even further, not only the State and the nation but the nature of the entire mankind will have to be considered. In other words, the constitution of a nation cannot be contrary to the natural law. There are a number of norms of behaviour which are not found in any statute book, yet they do exist. At times they are even stronger and more binding than any statutory law. The precept that one should respect one’s parents is not written in any law. The present day governments which are turning out variety of laws, day in and day out, have not passed a law to this effect. Still, people respect their parents. Those who do not are criticized. If tomorrow there arises a discussion, even in a court. it will be generally accepted that as long as a person does not attain majority, he should accept his parent’s decisions and should respect them.
Adharma is a characteristic of weakness, not of strength. If fire instead of emitting heat, dies out it is no longer strong. Strength lies not in unrestrained behaviour, but in well regulated action. Therefore God who is omnipotent is also self- regulated and consequently fully in tune with Dharma
Thus the fundamental law of human nature us the standard for deciding the propriety of behaviour in various situations. We have termed this very law as’ Dharma’. The nearest equivalent English term for Dharma can be “Innate law”, which, however, does not express the full meaning of Dharma, Since ‘Dharma’ is supreme, our ideal of the state has been “Dharma Rajya”. The king is supposed to protect Dharma. In olden times at the coronation ceremony the king used to recite three times. “There is no authority which can punish me”. (Similar claim was made by kings in the western countries. i.e., it was said, “King can do no wrong”, and hence there too, nobody could punish the king). Upon this, the Purohit used to strike the king on his back with a staff saying. “No, you are subject to the rule of Dharma. You are not sovereign”. The king used to run around the sacred fire and the Purohit would follow him striking him with the Staff. Thus after completing three rounds, the ceremony would came to an end thereby the king was unambiguously told that he was not an unpunishable sovereign. Dharma was above him, that even he was subject to Dharma. Can the people do whatever they please? It may be contended that democracy means just that. The people can do what they please. But in our country, even in people wish, they are not free to act contrary to Dharma. Once a priest was asked: “If the God is omnipotent, can he act contrary to Dharma. If he does, then he is not omnipotent”. This was a dilemma. Can God practice Adharma or is lie not omnipotent? Actually God cannot act contrary to Dharma. If he does, then he is not omnipotent. Adharma is a characteristic of weakness, not of strength. If fire instead of emitting heat, dies out it is no longer strong. Strength lies not in unrestrained behaviour, but in well regulated action. Therefore God who is omnipotent is also self- regulated and consequently fully in tune with Dharma. God descends in human body to destroy Adharma and re-establish Dharma, not to act on passing whims and fancies. Hence even God can do everything but cannot act contrary to Dharma. But for the risk of being misunderstood, one can say that Dharma is even greater than God. The universe is sustained because he acts according to Dharma. The king was supposed to be a symbol of Vishnu, in as much as he was the chief protector of Dharma Rajya.
Dharma Rajya does not mean a theocratic state. Let us be very clear on this point, Where a particular sect and its prophet or Guru, rule supreme, that is a theocratic state. All the rights are enjoyed by the followers of this particular sect. Others either cannot live in that country or at best enjoy a slave-like, secondary citizen’s status. Holy Roman empire had this basis. The same concept was existing behind “Khilafat”. The Muslim kings world over used to rule in the name of Khalifa. After the first world war, this came to an end. Now efforts are afoot to revive it. Pakistan is the most recent theocratic state. They call themselves an Islamic State. There, apart from Muslims all the rest are second class citizens. Apart from this difference there is no other sign of Islam in Pakistan’s administration. Quran, Masjid, Roja, Id, Namaz etc. are same both in Bharat as well as in Pakistan.
To be continued…
(Excerpts of the Speech delivered on “Integral Humanism” in Bombay on April 22nd – 25th, 1965 by Pt. Deendayal Upadhyaya in the form of four lectures.)