Quote 15: We are, when all is said, incorrigible optimists

I have drawn up the portrait of our plight with the sole objective to stimulate our great people to think of our sad comedown. I am sure that we can set our affairs right. If we assert with wisdom and creativity, we can prove our worth, and make our country great. Time has come to realize :

Uddhared atmanatmanam
Natmanam avasadayet
Atmaiva hy atmano bandhur
Atmaiva ripur atmanah.

[We can lift ourselves through our endeavours alone.
We must not degrade ourselves through our actions or inactions.
We are ourselves our friends, and are ourselves are our foes.]

Prometheus in Shelley’s Prometheus Unbound establishes the triumph of the moral order ensuring Hope despite all the sufferings of being bound on the wheel of fire. Demogorgon, who overthrew the tyrant Jupiter, whose wrath Prometheus suffered, comes to tell people to struggle to save what we cherish : the weal of all :

To suffer woes which Hope thinks infinite;
To forgive wrongs darker than Death or Night;
To defy Power which seems Omnipotent;
To love, and bear; to hope, till Hope creates
From its own wreck the thing it contemplates. . .

To decide what is ‘karyakarya-vyavasthiti’ (meaning prudence is to decide what should be done, and what should not be done), we must interpret our Constitution in accordance with ethics of a democratic republican polity. Joseph Storey had aptly said in The Miscellaneous Writings of Joseph Storey; Frame constitutions of government with what wisdom and foresight we may, they must be imperfect, and leave something to discretion, and much to public virtue.” Art. 20(4) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Germany goes to say:

“All Germans have the right to resist any person seeking to abolish the constitutional order, should no other remedy be possible.”

Though our Constitution does not say such a thing in so many words, such commitments are implied in our Constitution; also as this Constitution has been made by ‘We, the People’ in whom the unalienable ultimate political authority vests. Our Constitution makes certain high constitutional functionaries to swear to ‘uphold’ our Constitution. But it is the ever abiding duty of the political sovereign, ‘We, the People’, to keep even them under critical vigilance. Ultimately the people alone can protect, preserve, and destroy the Constitution they have framed through their representatives. Only time would judge us and our institutions whether our wisdom matches with the responsibility which our Destiny has cast on us. How infinitely wise was Sachchidananda Sinha, provisional Chairman of the Constituent Assembly, in quoting the words of the great Joseph Story who, after praising the features of his country’s Constitution, warned its keepers:

‘The structure has been erected by architects of consummate skill and fidelity;…. It may, nevertheless, perish in an hour by the folly, or corruption, or negligence of its only keepers, THE PEOPLE. Republics are created – these are the words which I commend to you for your consideration – by the virtue, public spirit and intelligence of the citizens. They fall when the wise are banished from the public councils because they dare to be honest, and the profligate are rewarded because they flatter the people in order to betray them.’

Shiva Kant Jha’s ON THE LOOM OF TIME The Portrait of My Life and Times Chapt. 21 at pp. 307-308


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