70 Years of Republic

India has undergone many changes since it became a Republic on 26/1/1950; some major, some minor.
India’s borders have changed. Pondicherry, Karaikal, Mahe, Yanam, Dadra, Nagar Haveli, Goa, Diu, Daman and Sikkim became parts of India. India lost some territory to China though India’s official map does not show that.
States Re-organisation took place on 1/11/1956. Before that India had states in Parts A, B, C and Territories in Part D of First Schedule of India’s Constitution. Distinction between states disappeared and Union Territories were introduced. States like Hyderabad, Coorg, Cutch, Bhopal, Ajmer, Madhya Bharat, PEPSU, Travancore-Cochin and Vindhya Pradesh disappeared. States like Delhi, Manipur, Tripura and Himachal Pradesh became Union Territories. On 1/5/1960 Bombay was split into Gujarat and Maharashtra.
New States like Nagaland, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Jharkhand and Telangana came into existence later on. Some Union Territories became states. Some states had name changes. Madras became Tamil Nadu. Mysore became Karnataka.
Jammu & Kashmir was split into two Union Territories; 1) Jammu & Kashmir 2) Ladakh.
Cities had name changes. Bombay, Calcutta, Madras, Baroda, Poona, Calicut, Trivandrum, Allahabad and some other cities changed names.
Roads had name changes. Esplanade Road, Churchgate Street, Lamington Road, Mount Road, Cathedral Road, Allenby Road, Baird Road, Curzon Road, Dalhousie Road, Minto Road, Reading Road and many other roads changed names.
Many buildings, museums and gardens changed names.
When India became independent one American dollar was equal to3.36 rupees, on 26/1/1950 it was 4.76 rupees, on 6/6/1966 it was 7.50 rupees, now it is around 72 rupees.
On 26/1/1950 India’s President’s salary was Rs.10,000/- p.m. Now it is Rs.5,00,000/-. Similarly salaries of Vice President, Governors, judges, MPs, MLAs and others have gone up. That shows how much inflation has been there.
In 70 years Constitution was amended more than hundred times. Constitution (126th Amendment) Bill was the last amendment. It is said to be 104th amendment as some amendment bills were not passed. 42nd Amendment inserted the words SOCIALIST SECULAR in the Preamble.
Constitution had 8 Schedules. Now it has 12.
There were 14 languages in 8th Schedule. Now there are 22.
India did not have television in 1950. The number of TV channels telecast in India is said to be more than 1,000 including Indian and foreign channels.
India has progressed in computers and telecommunications. Cars, phones, fridges, washing machines are common.
India’s judicial system has become slow. Most people get date after date and no justice.
In sports India needs to do better.
Films and TV serials are plenty. Serials on historical persons have more fiction than fact.

Right to Internet

Supreme Court on 10/1/2020 ruled that access to internet is constitutionally protected under Article 19 of the Constitution which deals with Fundamental Right for protection of certain rights regarding freedom of speech etc. The judgement was in response to two petitions against Union of India. One was by Anuradha Bhasin, Executive Editor of Kashmir Times. Another was by Ghulam Nabi Azad, Congress leader. Justice Nutalapati Venkata Ramana is the author of the judgment. Justices Ramayyagari Subhash Reddy and Bhushan Ramakrishna Gavai were other justices of the bench.
The judgment begins with an introduction which has a quotation from Charles Dickens novel A Tale of Two Cities.
“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times,… in short the period was so much like present period, that some of its noisiest authorities insisted on its being received, for good or for evil, in the superlative degree of comparison only.”
Internet in Kashmir was discontinued on 4/8/2019. It was expected to be restored after a few days. That did not happen. Months passed.
After that there was internet suspension in some parts of India due to anti-CAA protests. This did not last beyond a few days.
In Western countries there was concern about internet suspension and other restrictions in Kashmir. China was happy and sided with India saying this is what sovereign countries do.
Internet is a tool for speech and expression and for trade and commerce. Internet shutdown affects communication and business. Terrorists also use internet. Banning internet to prevent terrorists from using it affects large number of innocent people.
Supreme Court has ruled that an order suspending internet services indefinitely is impermissible under the Temporary Suspension of Telecom Services (Public Emergency or Public Service) Rules, 2017. Suspension can be utilized for temporary duration only.

CAA 2019

Law of averages catches up some times and nullifies previous unmerited advantages and benefits.
Law of unintended consequences brings about events not foreseen which may be good or bad.
Remonetisation, wrongly known as demonetisation, and introduction of GST without proper preparation caused hardship to people but did not cause loss in popularity or votes to Narendra Modi. Citizenship (Amendment) Act 2019 was expected to further Modi’s popularity but the opposite happened.
CAA gives citizenship to Hindu, Christian, Buddhist, Jain, Sikh and Parsi immigrants or refugees from Pakistan, Afghanistan and Bangladesh which are officially Muslim countries. Cut-off date is 31/12/2014. Muslims are excluded. In Afghanistan there is death penalty for conversion from Islam to another religion. In Pakistan Non-Muslims are targets of Blasphemy law. There are reports of abduction and forcible conversion and marriages of Non-Muslim brides in Pakistan.
CAA does not deprive Indian Muslims of their citizenship. Wrong to say CAA divides Indian citizens in two categories.
Unforeseen protests erupted in Assam, West Bengal, Delhi and other parts of India. CAA was mainly to give citizenship to Bengali Hindu immigrants from Bangladesh. Assamese people don’t want Bengali Hindus in their midst. They say they are a minority in their state and citizenship to Bengali Hindus threatens their language and culture. Many voters say Modi betrayed them. Previous cut-off date for Bangladeshi immigrants was 31/12/1971.
West Bengal has many Muslims who have come from Bangladesh. Mamata Banerjee supports them.
Shinzo Abe’s visit to Guwahati was cancelled. Bangladesh Foreign Minister Abul Kalam Abdul Momen cancelled Delhi visit.
Strange is the stand of USA. It is concerned about religious freedom in India. In 2016 Donald Trump talked of Muslim ban. India’s Foreign Minister S. Jaishankar should remind USA’s Ambassador at Large Sam Brownback about that.
Some CMs have said they will not implement CAA in their states. It is not for them to do that. States have no authority to overrule Centre or Union for India is officially a Union of States.
Modi said Congress and allies are behind violent protests against CAA. No surprise in doing politicians doing such things.
Now onwards it is damage control for Modi and Amit Shah. In August central government was ready for events after bifurcation of Jammu & Kashmir. In December it expected positive response in Assam. That did not happen.