We have begun the New Year 2023 with much enthusiasm and hope. We are looking forward to a number of major events this year the Procurators Congre- gation at Loyola in May, the Assembly elections in Karnataka, the Jesuit Family get-togethers in May and the Province Sammelan in December.
Very soon we will be celebrating our Republic Day. The Republic of India was founded on our Constitution’s resolve to secure justice, liberty, equality and fraternity for all its citizens. While we celebrate India’s democracy and thank God for the gift of the Constitution, we are filled with much trepidation at the way the country is heading. In the words of Dr Paul Farmer, “the idea that some lives matter less is the root of all that is wrong in the world.”
The poor in India become poorer every day; the rich and powerful continue to profiteer at their expense and amass scandalous amounts of wealth. The Adivasis are robbed of their jal, jungle and jameen. The Dalits, OBCs and other subaltern groups, are still denied the dignity, equality and justice, which are legitimately theirs. The minorities are targeted with hate speech and persecution, by a regime which systematically and continuously denigrates and demonizes them with a divisive and violent agenda. Unemploy- ment and spiralling inflation have greatly impacted on the lives of the poor.
Sushmita Dev, Congress MP of Assam, once said: “To my mind the evaluation of India as a nation cannot be merely on the number of villages electrified or toilets built or the allotment of gas connections. These parameters alone won’t do justice. What has set India apart is the way we uphold our Constitution and how those who don’t are made accountable, how our parliamentary democracy works in favour of allowing all possi- ble opposition, how our judiciary can fearlessly strike down legislation ultra vires of the Constitution, and how the fourth pillar of our democracy functions not just as a business but also as the conscience of the nation.” A great deal still needs to be performed to deliver the essence of a republic on equality, equity, freedom, diversity, inclusion, and creating opportunities for most people at the bottom of the social and economic pyramid.