February 6, 2018
Kakoli Ghosh Dastidar speaks on the Motion of Thanks on the President’s Address
Madam, I stand on behalf of the All India Trinamool Congress to speak on the Motion of Thanks in gratitude towards the Hon’ble Rashtrapati ji for addressing a joint session of the Houses.
Madam, I am bemused at his self-contradictions. Whereas I agree to his statement on line number 12 of the printed speech that political democracy cannot survive without social and economic democracy, and I agree again with his last sentence when he stresses on equality and fraternity. But what I am confused about, along with many of my countrymen, my brothers and sisters, is whether the contradiction is in the rule of his government today, in the democracy at the personal level, at the social level, and at the economic and micro-economic levels that exist in today’s India. Doesn’t our Constitution grant each of us freedom of speech, and social, economic and political justice, gives us freedom of thought, expression, belief, faith and worship, equality of status and opportunity, of fraternity, assuring us dignity of the individual?
But it is challenged in his rule today. The President, in his speech, invokes Swami Vivekananda often. ‘Bohuroope shommukhe tomar chari katha khunjiche ishwar/ Jeebe prem kore jeijon sheijon shebiche ishwar’. Why are you searching for god in the temples, in the openly armed processions or in the rituals? God is in humanity, god is within you, god is in the human being in front of you. So isn’t it contradictory when Swamiji is quoted but not followed?
Naren, as was he was to be called when he was young, at the age of five or six, he pulled the hukkah meant for Muslims in his house to see whether that would make him lose his ‘dharma’ or religion or jaat. At the end he concluded, that, ‘dharma’ or caste is not such a vanity that would be lost so easily. Ramakrishna Paramhansa Deb is specifically quoted to have said that you practice religion in temples and mosques alike; and he found no difference in reaching God.
Today’s India is different.
Today’s India is difficult.
Today’s India is contradictory.
Today’s India is shortsighted.
Today’s India is myopic.
Today’s India is intolerant.
Honourable Rashtrapatiji has asserted his commitment to weaker sections. But let us define weakness. Who is weak? What is weakness? Whether the weakness is physical, whether the weakness is mental, whether the weakness is social, religious, demographic or ethnic. Which weakness is he talking about in today’s India? The weak have become more vulnerable.
Children are to be protected as they are not yet strong enough, they have not grown up. But everyday children are being kidnapped, sexually harassed, abused, tormented and most important is that their budgetary allocation has been slashed as per the mid-day meal proposals.
Women are our pride and physically less strong. So we can say that they are the weaker sex, as we used to say so. But today, as honourable ministers have been saying that as BSF jawans, they have shown formations during the Republic Day parade, they have flown fighters, so they are not weak anymore. But, everyday they are being raped. Acid is thrown at them. They are molested. But there is no concern as it is shown that only Rs 1 crore has been increased in the Beti Bachao Beti Padhao scheme. Whereas, in our State, our Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, has empowered 45 lakh girl children through the Kanyashree scheme.
The Adivasis are not getting their dues; their right over their land, their jungles, their water bodies are being snatched and their language is not being given recognition as per the schedule.
And most importantly minorities are trembling in trepidation. Madam, if you don’t believe me ask the families of Pehlu Khan and Mohammad Akhlaq.
Where is dharma today, where is God? He is here in my heart. Where is God, where is dharma? He is here in my mind, in my brain, in my soul, in my thought – that is Hinduism. To take everybody along as we go forward, not maime, not kill, not hurt, abuse as is happening in today’s India.
About economic growth. Equality is not there. If it were there then the large defaulters would not have been let scott-free and the poor depositors dealt with punitive actions for not having minimum balance in their bank accounts; it is not dharma.
The farmers and fishermen are suffering; there is farmer suicide everyday in the country. 12000 farmers have committed suicide, though in our state of Bengal, the tax for the agricultural land has been done away with. The one time deposit money to take electric connection for irrigation in the agricultural land has been done away with. But what about Bundelkhand? What about Vidarbha? What about States like Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Jharkhand? Minimum Support Price is not in support of the farming community. The farmers are committing suicide – four out of every hundred farmers are committing suicide everyday.
The fishermen are not getting the benefit of what the scientists are doing. The scientists are doing good job in the country. They had forecasted the Cyclone Okhi that had occurred very recently, but, when they could forecast the whole path, the information that it was going to hit these fishermen out in the sea, could not be reached. We have lost many seamen, many fishermen.
We have to look after the farmers, we have to look after the fishermen, the OBCs, the minorities.
In the recent Budget, Bengal’s Railway projects have been slashed, only two lines have been doubled but extension of metro, even in my constituency Barasat, they have been overlooked it looks like, vindictive political agenda is high. The use of central agencies also very high.
And about the security Madam, hamare desh ka 22000 km se bhi jyada international borders hain, koi friendly country, koi not so friendly country, aur jo wahan jawan pehre mein rehte hain, kisi ke pati hain, kisi ke pita, lekin wo sabhi hamare santan hain, and the Government is not looking after them well enough.
The question is, at Rs 90 per day… ek hatta katta jawan jo wahan baithe rehte hain, hamare suraksha ke liye, chain ke liye, jab hum baithe hain gharon mein, jhel lete hain goli hamare liye. Unite liye sirf 90 rupees per day for their ration is not enough. Who is thinking about this? The medical facility for them is not enough, so who is looking after them? This government is not looking after them.
India today is wild with the delirium of hatred, which is contradictory to the rosy picture propagated. We must try to be more tolerant. It is time to ask have we lost our dharma, Madam?