Rungsung Masakui | India – Celebrating shared values
For the constitutional history of a nation, 74 years is not a long time. But for a country as vast and diverse as India, weathering the initial countless challenges and adversities, which included high levels of poverty and illiteracy inherited from the long colonial rule, coming together as one nation remains unprecedented.
India celebrates its 74th Republic Day today, January 26, when the constitution, which was adopted on November 26, 1949, came into effect in 1950. The preamble to the Constitution of India begins with “We the people…” and ends with ‘’ … give to ourselves this Constitution”. The core value enshrined in India’s constitution is, therefore, one that upholds the supremacy of the people of India. The Indian constitution derives its core values and inspiration from the humanistic philosophy of the oldest living civilisation in the world. On the other hand, it continues to evolve and embraces new ideas that have emerged in the modern times. It is this wisdom of our constitution, which synthesises these two core values, that have made Indian constitution withstand the test of times over the last more than seven decades.
India remembers, on this day, the founding members of our constitution. Dr B.R Ambedkar, who headed the drafting Committee of the Constitution, had a critical role in giving it the final shape. The Constituent Assembly not only represented all regions and communities of India, but also included 15 women members.
Three years ago, more than 800 million people of India went to vote to elect the 17th Parliament of India. This was the first election when young voters, those born in the 21st century, contributed to electing a new Parliament.
India is the world’s largest democracy; today it has 2,858 registered political parties (eight national parties, 54 state parties and 2796 unrecognised parties). A vibrant media with 100,000 registered newspapers, 902 TV channels in English and vernacular languages; India boasts of 19,500 languages and dialects – and the list goes on. It is possible for India to accommodate such diversity because of our flourishing democracy. The unfaltering young democracy in India has shown to the world that humanity can be governed with freedom. That it is possible to achieve inclusive economic growth without sacrificing democracy and diversity, without compromising the values of pluralism and tolerance which are the core values of our society.
Resilience has been the hallmark of this young but growing nation. As the world recovered from the shock of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2022, India became the fifth-largest economy in the world. India, today, is also slated to become the fastest-growing major economy in the world.
As India holds the presidency of G20 (the Group of 20 countries, comprising 19 large economies and the European Union) nations for 2023 with the theme ‘One Earth, One Family, One Future’, it is natural that her aim is to amplify the voice of the Global South.
India assumed the presidency of G20 from Indonesia on December 1, 2022. While accepting this responsibility, PM Narendra Modi said that India’s G20 presidency will be “inclusive, ambitious, decisive and “action-oriented”. He said that terror, climate change, pandemic are the greatest challenges that can be best fought together.
India, with the assumption of the G20 presidency, has decisively signalled its emergence as a significant player on the global stage. While most countries in the world found it difficult to effectively handle the challenges thrown up by the COVID-19 pandemic and the Russia-Ukraine conflict, India, through its bold leadership and prudent policies, has been able to successfully navigate the headwinds it has encountered over the last three years.
The G20 is an international forum which represents the world’s biggest economies, encompassing both industrialised and developing nations. Its core mandate is to address the major challenges related to the global economy, developmental issues and financial architecture, such as international financial stability, climate change mitigation, sustainable development, etc.
Together, the G20 members represent 85 per cent of the global gross domestic product, 75 per cent of international trade, and two-thirds of the world population.
In a world which has increasingly become volatile and uncertain, India stands for three fundamental shifts that can create a conducive environment – from self-centred globalisation to human-centred globalisation, from being on the receiving end of technological patronage to deploying Global South-led innovation for societal transformation, and from debt-creating projects to demand-driven and sustainable development cooperation.
This day, on January 26, India stands for and celebrates these shared values as it continues to harness the power of her people – that of citizens in the country and the diaspora across the world.
Rungsung Masakui is the high commissioner of India to Jamaica. Send feedback to email@example.com.