Bahutva Karnataka, a civil society group and citizens’ rights forum, observed and celebrated this year’s Republic Day in a rather unique way in Bengaluru, using the slogan #ReclaimConstitution.
Groups of volunteers from the forum read out the Preamble to the Constitution of India in public places in Bengaluru.
This took place in five different locations across the city — Church Street, CMH Road in Indiranagar, Yesvantpur Junction, Jayanagar 4th Block (near the bus stand), and CBI bus stop in RT Nagar.
Following the reading, they took a pledge — both in Kannada and English — to uphold the constitutional values of equality, liberty, fraternity, and justice for all.
The thought behind it
The idea behind reading the Preamble in public spaces on an occasion like Republic Day was to create awareness about the existence of the Constitution and to also publicly pledge to come together to stand up for constitutional values.
Happy Republic day! ಗಣರಾಜ್ಯೋತ್ಸವ ದಿವಸದ ಶುಭಾಶಯಗಳು!
Today we are reading aloud the preamble take a pledge to work for a Bahutva Karnataka (image with tweet).
We request all to do the same and upload videos on your SM and tag us.
ಒಟ್ಟಿಗೆ ಸಂವಿಧಾನದ ಮೌಲ್ಯಗಳನ್ನು ಎತ್ತಿಹಿಡಿಯೋಣ! pic.twitter.com/YxcjL0Vu0d
— Bahutva Karnataka ಬಹುತ್ವ ಕರ್ನಾಟಕ (@BahutvaKtka) January 26, 2023
Organiser and volunteer Vishesh told South First, “I think one of the ideas behind reading the Preamble in public spaces this morning was to highlight how fragile and threatened these constitutional values have become.”
He added: “It’s important to stake claim to public spaces and stand up for the values together.”
He also said there were many young people in the crowds that gathered to hear the reading, and that it was important for them to participate.
‘Revive and reclaim’
Speaking to South First, Madhu, a senior volunteer with Bahutva Karnataka, stressed that it was absolutely essential to understand the true spirit and essence of the Constitution.
“We are all grown-ups. We mention the Constitution of India every now and then, but it has become like a dead document. Today, we have all taken the Constitution for granted, especially the constitutional values that are under threat,” she said.
“Equality, liberty, fraternity, and justice — these are the core of our Constitution, and I think all of these values have been systematically dismantled,” said Madhu.
“We feel that it is time to breathe back life into the Constitution and reclaim it. And I feel that this is our duty. Our prime minister talks about duty, and I feel that it is my duty as well,” she added.
Protect and improve
Another volunteer, Neeta, told South First: “With the constitutional values being eroded systematically and deliberately, I think it is important that we all understand what ‘constitutional morality’ means. It has not seeped into the conscience of society and that’s why we stand here.”
She added: “We haven’t learnt from world history either. We have seen how electoral politics can be misused when fascist forces come to power, yet we haven’t learnt anything from it.”
Neeta also said: “We have to appreciate the fact that several years ago, a bunch of men and women came together and drafted a document while keeping in mind people they would never ever meet. Essentially doing the best they could, they rose above their individual limitations.”
She added: “It is our time to do what we can to protect the work that they did and to actually do better than what they did. We have not done anything to improve that, and it’s time we remind ourselves about that.”
Unity in diversity
A supporter of the campaign, Arun Raman, said, “At one level, only the Constitution provides. Of course, religion provides in one manner; other social beliefs provide in another manner. However, the Constitution provides for society as a whole.”
He added: “The Constitution can be seen as a unifying factor. When we talk about unity, integrity, equality, justice — and the country moving together — the Constitution is an important document.”
Raman also said: “It’s not just in India. You see, globally, countries themselves are divided internally — Left versus Right, red versus blue. In India, you have the possibility of not only religious divisions, but also social divisions, caste division, gender division, rich versus poor, and so much more. There is a need to address these divisions and this is done in the Constitution, which provides the framework.”
Also Read: A touch of politics as South India celebrates 74th Republic Day
Postcards with a purpose
Venkat, a representative of the group, under the banner #ReclaimConstitution, was distributing postcards and other artwork.
He told South First, “This set of postcards features 22 magnificent works of art drawn from the original handwritten book of the Constitution that was adopted on 26 January, 1950. Overlaid with inspiring words from the framers of our Constitution, these are perfect for mailing or gifting to spread the idea of an India we can dream of.”
He added, “The images on these postcards take us on a pictorial journey spanning 4,000 years of India’s rich history, tradition, and culture. And this was also to celebrate Republic Day by spreading awareness about the inclusive India that our founding mothers and fathers had envisioned.”