Our Duties. Our Respect.

The Indian Constitution, which Prime Minister Narendra Modi deems as the only ‘Bible’ for his administration, contains several sections numbered from I to XXI. The part IVA contains the Fundamental Duties that every citizen of India must live up to and be guided by. Though not enforceable, its presence in the august body of guidelines assigns to it the status of a national calling, a mandate of the collective for what each citizen must ensure in his or her conduct in everyday life.

Even though the breach of laid fundamental duties by an individual is not punishable by law, perhaps to restrict the State from misusing such powers and to retain the liberal environment for all citizens, any transgression of such duties would automatically devalue the citizen in the eyes of the national mainstream. And such a devaluation cannot be considered to be discriminatory against the person or prejudicial to his right to equal treatment and place in society, especially if the deviant behaviour is perceived to be an act of will and not merely inadvertent.

The Fundamental Duties mandates that it shall be the duty of every citizens of India :

(a) to abide by the Constitution and respect its ideals and institutions, the National Flag and the National Anthem;

(b) to cherish and follow the noble ideals which inspired our national struggle for freedom;

(c) to uphold and protect the sovereignty, unity and integrity of India;

(d) to defend the country and render national service when called upon to do so;

(e) to promote harmony and the spirit of common brotherhood amongst all the people of India transcending religious, linguistic and regional or sectional diversities; to renounce practices derogatory to the dignity of women;

(f) to value and preserve the rich heritage of our composite culture;

(g) to protect and improve the natural environment including forests, lakes, rivers and wild life, and to have compassion for living creatures;

(h) to develop the scientific temper, humanism and the spirit of inquiry and reform;

(i) to safeguard public property and to abjure violence;

(j) to strive towards excellence in all spheres of individual and collective activity so that the nation constantly rises to higher levels of endeavour and achievement.

My felt need to direct a spotlight on this important section of our Constitution, that is treated almost casually and essentially as a mere afterthought, arose out this evidence of serious, willful and repeated breach of its provisions by groups of people and religious communities.

It is my attempt at letting the deviants know why they are looked down upon by the national mainstream. It is because, by their conduct, they themselves declare to the rest of us how little value they have for their citizenship, even while claiming and clamouring for all the rights it offers to them.

It is only by abidance to our essential and mandated duties can we deserve to be treated as no less and step up to meet others as honourable citizens of this great nation, which is on the move.

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