Rahul Gandhi was invited to the UK to take part in a lecture and his comment “India is a Union of States sparked a storm among the right wing.
Rahul Gandhi is in London as part of a week-long visit to the UK for a lecture as visiting fellow at the University of Cambridge and is scheduled to interact with the Indian diaspora on Sunday. Rahul Gandhi will be in London for three days, speaking at British Parliament and meeting the Indian diaspora, and he also addressed a press conference organized by the Indian Journalist Association.
He is also being hosted at an event in the House of Commons complex on behalf of the UK Opposition Labour Party and will address the Chatham House think-tank in London on the Russia-Ukraine conflict and wider geopolitical issues before concluding his visit to Britain.
Is this why the right-wingers are reacting so vociferously to his comment, “India is a Union of States”? Whatever the reason for these reactions, his statement is crucial made for India at such a time as this.
Rahul Gandhi’s comment “India Union of States” was met with resistance from the right-wingers both in the West and in India.
Rahul Gandhi in London as part of a UK tour, told reporters here that there are conversations ongoing within the Opposition to unite around an alternative vision for the country and act upon an “undercurrent of anger” over pressing issues such as unemployment, price rise, the concentration of wealth and violence against women.
Gandhi also hit back at the government’s criticism that he had maligned the country on foreign soil during his lecture at Cambridge University earlier this week, where he had first raised the issue of Indian democracy being “under attack”.
He said: “I have never defamed my country, I’m not interested in it, I will never do it. The BJP likes to twist what I say… the fact of the matter is the person who defames India when he goes abroad is the Prime Minister of India… saying there was a lost decade, and nothing happened in the last 10 years – so what about all those people who worked in India, who built India in those 10 years? Is he not insulting them? And, he’s doing it on foreign soil.” The Congress MP added that there are billions of dollars behind a certain narrative being presented and pointed the finger at Gautam Adani, the Adani Group Founder, and Chairman.
“Mr Adani seems to win every auction he takes part in,” Gandhi said.
“The BJP wants India to be silent. They want it to be quiet… because they want to be able to take what is India’s and give it to their close friends. That’s the idea, to distract the population and then hand over India’s wealth to three, four, five people,” he said.
Was Rahul Gandhi factually incorrect to call India a Union of States: Let us look at it:
Here is how India is Defined Constitutionally:
The government portal defining the Constitution of India opens with this statement “India, Bharat, a union of states, is a Sovereign, Secular, Democratic Republic with a Parliamentary system of Government. The President is the constitutional head of the Executive of the Union. In the states, the Governor, as the representative of the President, is the head of the Executive.
Why is India Called a Union of States?
There were officially 565 princely states when India and Pakistan became independent in 1947. There were sixteen kingdoms that had coalesced into four major ones by 500/400 BCE, by the time of Gautama Buddha. These four were Vatsa, Avanti, Kosala, and Magadha. The life of Gautama Buddha was chiefly connected with these four kingdoms. India from the ancient past was always composed of many kingdoms, kings, and queens.
Due to the vast diversities, different languages, and thousands of rich cultural ethnicities all unique in flavor in different states, the constitution in its federal form, Article 1 of the Indian Constitution refers to the nation as a “Union of States”.
Dr. BR According to Ambedkar, the term “Union of States” has gained favor for the following two reasons: First, the Indian Union, unlike the American Federation, is not the result of an agreement between the States. And second, the states do not have the right to secede from the federation.
Because it included both territories under the British administration and several princely states, India became a federation of states. Some of the sub-political units of India have a unique status. The territories ruled by France and Portugal received the designation of Union Territories. Jammu and Kashmir entered India under very unique circumstances.
To become a sovereign state, many units were too small. They became union territories. The states of the Northeast have received unique treatment as they are home to many tribes that have their own history and culture.
The President oversees the Union Territories through an administrator whom he has nominated. Each state/union territory of India, from largest to smallest, has different demographics, language, history, and culture as well as clothing, festivals, and languages.
Why is it important now that India be defined as a union of states?
In the heat of all these arguments going on in India, it turns out Rahul Gandhi is right, constitutionally India is indeed defined as a Union of States. Thus, he follows the Constitution by his declaration and the forefathers thought it out very carefully, thus to ridicule him is, in reality, mocking the makers of our democratic republican constitution, and how anti-national can that get? Here, the Union can create new states and/or merge existing ones, and redraw boundaries, but in all this, India, Bharat, is a sovereign nation consisting of states.
Our present situation is bordering on the rule of a central dictatorship. With an aim of weakening regional states to dead power, the stamp of dictatorship will be embedded in Indian institutions in such a way that would wipe out the exotic flavors of diversity in our nation. This will make the state governments dead not only in spirit but in fear, which is why stressing “the Union of States” is important.
India is presently battling through a stormy climate of intolerance, be it the language Hindi versus South Indian languages, cultural clashes, or whether one is a staunch worshipper of Kali, Shiva, or Ram, there are arguments. The mood is sensitive, like walking over landmines and thus brute force in centrality will not work. while it may seem that an absolute central rule nullifying the powers of state governments would unify everyone, it will instead bring more disharmony, resistance, and chaos.
The ethics of tolerance is very low with caste wars, religious battles, insults, slurs, and lynching all cloistered in an atmosphere of insecurity and to crush states will only trigger more fear and unrest. India has to evolve to greater acceptance and change of mindsets.
Centralization will weaken some states: An atmosphere of security and peace will allow each state government to enrich itself and share its fruits harmoniously across India and empowerment and freedom of chief ministers is a must. If the CMs depend on the Central government for everything, their growth can be hindered if the Central government chooses one state over another. Recently, Indians do feel that Gujarat and Uttar Pradesh are being favored by the Central government with new complexes and projects going to them.
Rahul’s focus on India as a Union of States was to highlight that each state should retain its originality and ethnicity as its uniqueness due to the vast diversity of ethnicities in India. This will retain Bharat as a whole beautiful harmonious nation, the theme of our Preamble, Unity in Diversity.