70 years ago today, a document detailing the principles to govern this Country was submitted by the Constituent Assembly. This document reflected the hopes and aspirations for a country whose freedom had required martyrdom and a long struggle against imperialism. The right to govern ourselves had been a hard fought battle and so the making of this document had taken almost three years of debate and dialogue to ensure justice to its diverse population, especially the minorities who had chosen this country over Pakistan.
The 299 members of this Constituent Assembly included not just Hindu Brahmins but also Dalits, Muslims, Christian, Parsis, Sikhs, it ensured regional representation as well. The Constitution committed itself to the values of justice, equality, fraternity and liberty.
How far have we succeeded in furthering the vision of the Constituent Assembly? Dalits and Muslims are being lynched in the name of the cow. The present government which won their second term with a majority, within weeks of coming to power abrogated Art 370 and placed Kashmir, the lone Muslim majority State in India under siege. Soon after came the Ayodhya Judgment which further eroded the confidence of Muslims in the judiciary and the Indian State’s secularism. The Home Minister’s election campaign promise was the application of the NRC to the rest of the country which read in conjunction with proposed Citizenship Amendment endangers the Citizenship status of Muslims.
In such an atmosphere, reminding ourselves of the Constitution and its values is the duty of every citizen. Urooj is an attempt to counter the feeling of alienation of Muslim youth by reaffirming our faith in the Constitution of the Country. We believe that the attacks to the secular fabric of the country can only be remedied by reminding the citizens of the Constitution. Hence the need to engage with the youth and talk about the Constitution.
For the second volume released on the 70th year of the Indian Constitution, it was no brainer that the theme would be the Constitution. With fellow comrade Sitaram Shelar of Centre for Promoting Democracy we did a series of sessions where we understood the Preamble word for word. We discussed our discomfort with the existing political scenario and the implication of our apathy to political processes. We went through the Sachar Commission Report to understand the status of Muslims in the country drawing comparisons with our lived realities as Muslims in Mumbra. We then began the process of researching and writing. The articles and poetry submitted speaks of our hope from the Country and the Constitution. The articles question the discrimination on account of the NRC, celebrate the 74th Amendment which made it possible for the large scale participation of women in governance that is seen in Mumbra, relook at Mumbra as a city and our hopes for it. Quite a few of the youth decided to express themselves through poetry. The Urdu poetry is presented also in the Roman script for those who are unable to read Urdu. We are thrilled to have a rap song which is available on the Urooj Blog, the lyrics of which are printed here.
Urooj aims to contribute to placing before the world thoughts of Muslim youth on governance, identity and all that is important to them. We hope to hear your feedback to make it better.
We wish to thank Coro for Literacy for the Samata Fellowship which has made this endeavour possible.