My Rights, Your Duties

Last Modified Wednesday, 5 February 2020 (15:08 IST)
- Inderesh Kumar Jain
1 I have been an ‘objective bystander’ in the largely extremely partisan and hostile rhetoric that has erupted in the public space especially after the adoption of the and the ‘mention’ of the and the NPR by the powers that be; there is obviously a very toxic twist to even the best of intentions, and this too seems motivated.

2 While one can understand the current environment in the country, which has been to a large extent predicated on the aftermath of the bifurcation of Jammu and Kashmir on 05 Aug 19 and associated announcements and subsequent actions by the Government ostensibly to maintain law and order. Having been buoyed by the manner in which this was received by the country and the widespread support it engendered within and without, may also have prompted the announcement and the legislation of the CAA. The concurrent announcements of the NRC and the NPR may have probably catalyzed an outpouring of the presumably suppressed perceived grievances of a section of society. That this ‘movement’ was hijacked by the polity and certain inimical elements , who have an agenda detrimental to the wellbeing of the country, has been the cause of the eruption of violence and the loss of life and property , which could well have been avoided.
3 The right to protest is probably a given in any democracy, but the ‘right’ to violence when perpetrated, must be met in full measure by the State to safeguard life and property. We have been fortunate that the principle of ‘minimum force’ which forms the basis of all actions by the State, was followed to the hilt, which to an extent has ameliorated the situation. It is however, very disheartening that, what has now emerged in reportage and by the revelations by the investigative  media, that the entire, what may euphemistically be called a ‘movement’ has been held hostage to a very insidious and divisive political bill of fare. These protests are being funded by those whose interests transcend mere politicking and extend to ‘destabilization’, and beyond. I am not going into details of those likely to be involved in such machinations, I am sure that the country’s investigative and intelligence agencies will in their own time ferret them out. 
4 What is of concern however, is the fact that a large number of us talk only of our rights guaranteed to us by the Constitution but we very conveniently forget that the Constitution which empowers us with those rights also presupposes that we be educated on our duties as Citizens, which are preserved under Article 51A (these are statutory duties and are enforceable by law). In the duties which are listed, amongst others, are the two I would like all to concentrate on namely, 
- To uphold and protect the Sovereignty, Unity and Integrity of India.
- To safeguard public property and abjure violence.
5 Are we not ashamed of ourselves that in attempting to gratify our ‘perceived grievances’, we completely forget that we have a larger duty to the country, to others and to ourselves. I am not going to attempt to be melodramatic and invoke what President John F Kennedy had to say to his countrymen on the aspect of duty, but I will very strongly suggest that we not only educate ourselves on our duties as citizens but we also propagate them for all to know. That we are by and large, only selfish and inward looking is borne out by events of history. Let it not be that there are only ‘My Rights and Your Duties’.
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