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THIS COUNTRY IS FOR ALL: Indian Constitution And Guru Granth Dev Ji

Guru Nanak vehemently criticized the religious bigotry of both Hindus and the Muslims. How beautifully Guru Nanak said, “Sabhe sanjhi wal sadayan, Koi na dikhe bahar jivo.  This country is for all.  Nobody is an outsider here.

 

By Zile Singh

 

Three Stars shining above in the Sky,

Illuminating the Earth without a Shy!

 

 I am talking about Sant Ravidass, Sant Kabir and Baba Nanak (in the sequence of their birth) as the three shining stars in the social, spiritual and economic domains of the Indian sub-continent.  From Guru Granth’s point of view, their sequence changes to Baba Nanak, Kabir and Ravidass. (their hymns in the Granth).  If Guru Arjan Dev is the face (compiler) of the holy Granth, these three enlightened souls plus Sheikh Farid  are the backbone of the Granth. They cobbled, weaved and ploughed respectively.

 

The Constitution thus explains Indian identity.

Republic, Democracy, Secular, Socialist and Sovereignty.

And  Justice – Equality, Liberty and Fraternity.

 

Dr. Bhim Rao Ambedkar,  Chairman of the Drafting Committee is the face of the Indian Constitution.  The above-mentioned identities- sovereign, secular, socialist, democratic republic with justice, equality, liberty and fraternity are the backbone of the Indian Constitution.  Dr. Ambedkar scored a point because he  was three-in-one in a sense that by birth he was from a low caste as  was Sant Ravidass,  while growing up he had a great influence of Kabir because his family was Kabir Panthi and by education he was an ‘enfant terrible’ like Baba Nanak.  For the convenience of the readers, the Oxford dictionary meaning of ‘enfant terrible’ is ‘a person who causes embarrassment by indiscreet questions and unruly behaviour.  So in this respect Nanak and Ambedkar are akin.  Dr. Ambedkar had to show this behaviour  at the Round Table Conference in London  when he sought justice for the lowest of the low in India.   Nanak also put his teachers and the priest in such a dilemma on several occasions.    Both had their upper hand in the fight for a genuine and just cause.  Be it a matter of a ritual of wearing a  Janeu or seeking the rights for the  Dalit Janta.

 

Part IV of the Indian Constitution enshrines the Directive Principles of State Policy directing the State to enact and implement laws that are for the welfare of the people.  In a prominent hymn recorded in Guru Granth, Sant Ravidass envisioned a place or a country called ‘Begampura’ where there should not be any pain, fear, hunger and sorrow.  People should be free from the burden of tax and there should be eternal peace and freedom of movement. Everyone should have enough for his livelihood.  All should be equal – no high and no low, no rich and no poor.  There should be such a spring of water where a lion and a goat can drink together.

Article 15 of the Indian Constitution states that no person shall be discriminated on the basis of religion, race, caste, sex or place of birth. In this context Sant Kabir said in the Granth:

Awal Allaah noor Upaaya Kudrat ke sab bande.

Ek noor te sab jag upjaya, kaun bhale kaun mande.

Kabir logically emphasized that everyone is the creation of God. All are equal to Him. The division and classification of the society are man- made and are in violation of the Law of the Supreme. How beautifully Kabir said on gender equality: Nari ninda na karo, nari ratan ki khaan. Nari se nar hot hai, Dhurv, Prahlad samaan.

Furthe,r the Constitution enumerates the Right to Freedom of Speech and Expression. Kabir, throughout his life, practiced the freedom of thought and expression. He took the liberty to exhort both the Hindus and the Muslims:

Pathar puje Ram mile to mein puju pahar. Ghar ki chakki koi na puje, pees khai sansar.

Kankar pathar jor ke masjid lai banai. Uppar chad mulla bang de bahra hua khudai.

Guru Nanak also vehemently criticized the religious bigotry of both Hindus and the Muslims. How beautifully Guru Nanak said, “Sabhe sanjhi wal sadayan, Koi na dikhe bahar jivo.  This country is for all.  Nobody is an outsider here.  It is an attitude of respect and reverence towards all human beings. He said, “I am neither a Hindu nor a Musalman.  I am the lowest of the low.”  Guru Nanak preached “ Ek Onkar Satnam.” The whole universe is One.  Diverse in their form, all religions are arrayed under a universal rule. Intolerance is a proof of incomprehension.

“Nanak naam chadh di kala.  Tere Bhane sarbat  da bhala.”

There is no doubt that if implemented properly ‘Sabh ka saath, sab ka vikas and sab ka vishwas’  is a cardinal principle of good governance.

On the occasion of the Adoption of the Constitution on November 26, 1949,  Dr. Rajendra Prasad, President of the Constituent Assembly said, “…the welfare of the country will depend upon the way in which the country is administered.  …If the people who are elected are capable and men of character and integrity, they would be able to make the best even of a defective Constitution.  If they are lacking in these, the Constitution cannot help the country….”

 

Mr. Zile Singh is much respected Link Columnist, writer, a Vipassana Meditator and has a Post-Graduate Diploma in Human Rights.  He can be reached at zsnirwal@yahoo.ca

 

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