#AyodhyaDiary: State holidays, dry days & Directive Principles of India

Who's shut down and to what extent on 22 January for the consecration of the Ram Mandir in Ayodhya?

Hindu litigants rejoice after the Supreme Court verdict in their favour in the Ramjanmabhoomi–Babri Masjid case (photo: National Herald archives)
Hindu litigants rejoice after the Supreme Court verdict in their favour in the Ramjanmabhoomi–Babri Masjid case (photo: National Herald archives)
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NH Political Bureau

Tripura just declared a dry day tomorrow, 22 January, to mark the consecration of the Ram temple over in Ayodhya, in Uttar Pradesh.

If not any of the other Directive Principles in the Constitution, the one on prohibition seems to at least enjoy considerable support. Marking the Ram Mandir inauguration as a dry day are 16 states and Union territories: Delhi, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Assam, Maharashtra, Chhattisgarh, Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Haryana, Tripura, Goa, Odisha, Rajasthan, Gujarat, Chandigarh and Pondicherry.  

Uttar Pradesh, Assam, Chhattisgarh and Madhya Pradesh are going one better—there's a ban on the sale of meat and fish as well as liquor.

In Assam, chief minister Himanta Biswa Sarma also put non-vegetarian restaurants on hold till 2 p.m. in addition to shops having to wait till 4 p.m.

One only wonders why garlic and onions are spared, when a curb on those could have made for a truly sattvik celebration all round.

Offices, schools, colleges shut down as Ram arrives

Maharashtra and Pondicherry declared public holidays, as well as ground zero, Uttar Pradesh.

Government offices are getting a state holiday in Madhya Pradesh, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Chandigarh. In Jammu & Kashmir, it's a half-day state holiday.

In Assam, Tripura, Chhattisgarh, Gujarat, Delhi, Odisha, Rajasthan, Uttarakhand it's a half day, with government offices re-opening at 2:30 p.m.

However, for educational institutions, also on a half holiday in Delhi, Tripura, Assam, Haryana, this seems to be more of a token concession—surely, it is unlikely that schools and colleges will open up that late in the afternoon?

In addition, all central government establishments, public-sector banks, insurance companies, financial institutions and regional rural banks (RRBs) across the country will remain closed for half the day on 22 January.

So are Jamia Millia Islamia and its affiliated schools, and other central institutions such as Delhi University.

In Maharashtra, the Shinde government's public holiday declaration makes for a 2-day weekend at the BSE and NSE too.

Now, if we could get to the rest of those elusive Directive Principles that elude easy enforcement, we would truly be living in a Ram Rajya—and not just in the sense that Hindutva adherents make of it, but the land of 'justice—social, economic and political'. Those being, just for a refresher:

38. [(1)] The State shall strive to promote the welfare of the people by securing and protecting as effectively as it may a social order in which justice, social, economic and political, shall inform all the institutions of the national life.
[(2) The State shall, in particular, strive to minimise the inequalities in income, and endeavour to eliminate inequalities in status, facilities and opportunities, not only amongst individuals but also amongst groups of people residing in different areas or engaged in different vocations.]
39. The State shall, in particular, direct its policy towards securing—
(a) that the citizens, men and women equally, have the right to an adequate means of livelihood;
(b) that the ownership and control of the material resources of the community are so distributed as best to subserve the common good;
(c) that the operation of the economic system does not result in the concentration of wealth and means of production to the common detriment;
(d) that there is equal pay for equal work for both men and women;
(e) that the health and strength of workers, men and women, and the tender age of children are not abused and that citizens are not forced by economic necessity to enter avocations unsuited to their age or strength;

[(f) that children are given opportunities and facilities to develop in a healthy manner and in conditions of freedom and dignity and that childhood and youth are protected against exploitation and against moral and material abandonment.]

[39A. The State shall secure that the operation of the legal system promotes justice, on a basis of equal opportunity, and shall, in particular, provide free legal aid, by suitable legislation or schemes or in any other way, to ensure that opportunities for securing justice are not denied to any citizen by reason of economic or other disabilities.]
40. The State shall take steps to organise village panchayats and endow them with such powers and authority as may be necessary to enable them to function as units of self-government.
41. The State shall, within the limits of its economic capacity and development, make effective provision for securing the right to work, to education and to public assistance in cases of unemployment, old age, sickness and disablement, and in other cases of undeserved want.
42. The State shall make provision for securing just and humane conditions of work and for maternity relief.
43. The State shall endeavour to secure, by suitable legislation or economic organisation or in any other way, to all workers, agricultural, industrial or otherwise, work, a living wage, conditions of work ensuring a decent standard of life and full enjoyment of leisure and social and cultural opportunities and, in particular, the State shall endeavour to promote cottage industries on an individual or co-operative basis in rural areas.
[43A. The State shall take steps, by suitable legislation or in any other way, to secure the participation of workers in the management of undertakings, establishments or other organisations engaged in any industry.]
44. The State shall endeavour to secure for the citizens a uniform civil code throughout the territory of India.
*[45. The State shall endeavour to provide, within a period of ten years from the commencement of this Constitution, for free and compulsory education for all children until they complete the age of fourteen years.]
46. The State shall promote with special care the educational and economic interests of the weaker sections of the people, and, in particular, of the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes, and shall protect them from social injustice and all forms of exploitation.
47. The State shall regard the raising of the level of nutrition and the standard of living of its people and the improvement of public health as among its primary duties and, in particular, the State shall endeavour to bring about prohibition of the consumption except for medicinal purposes of intoxicating drinks and of drugs which are injurious to health.
48. The State shall endeavour to organise agriculture and animal husbandry on modern and scientific lines and shall, in particular, take steps for preserving and improving the breeds, and prohibiting the slaughter, of cows and calves and other milch and draught cattle.
[48A. The State shall endeavour to protect and improve the environment and to safeguard the forests and wild life of the country.]
49. It shall be the obligation of the State to protect every monument or place or object of artistic or historic interest, 2[declared by or under law made by Parliament] to be of national importance, from spoliation, disfigurement, destruction, removal, disposal or export, as the case may be.
50. The State shall take steps to separate the judiciary from the executive in the public services of the State.
51. The State shall endeavour to—
(a) promote international peace and security;
(b) maintain just and honourable relations between nations;
(c) foster respect for international law and treaty obligations in the dealings of organized peoples with one another;
and (d) encourage settlement of international disputes by arbitration.

Of the ones that might be considered measurable, the least disputable successes are the partial ones on:

'47. The State shall regard the raising of the level of nutrition and the standard of living of its people and the improvement of public health as among its primary duties and, in particular, the State shall endeavour to bring about prohibition of the consumption except for medicinal purposes of intoxicating drinks and of drugs which are injurious to health.'

and

'48. The State shall endeavour to organise agriculture and animal husbandry on modern and scientific lines and shall, in particular, take steps for preserving and improving the breeds, and prohibiting the slaughter, of cows and calves and other milch and draught cattle.'

A more even-handed focus on getting there might be welcomed by citizens, perhaps—after all, who wouldn't wish to live in Ram Rajya again?

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