We, the People of India
"We, are not the people of a Religion, Caste, Age or Gender but the People of India."
- Dr. B. R. Ambedkar
A land diverse in language, culture, religion, geography, and heritage, India brings together in harmony all peoples that she is home to, and gives them one identity: Indian.
One of the world's oldest cultures and civilizations, India has long since been a leader in guaranteeing and working towards affording elaborate rights to all its citizens, without discrimination, division, or prejudice.
India gained independence on August 15th, 1947, nearly 70 years ago, a time of Partition and after over 200 years of colonial rule. The Constitution, a document adopted on January 26th, 1950, reflects India's social and cultural ethos from then unto this day.
Familiarize yourself with major fundamental rights, and India's position on several matters relevant internationally below.
Right to Equality: Equality before law, prohibition of discrimination on grounds of religion, race, caste, gender or place of birth, and equality of opportunity in matters of employment, abolition of untouchability and abolition of titles.
Right to Freedom: Freedom of speech and expression, assembly, association or union or cooperatives, movement, residence, and right to practice any profession or occupation (some of these rights are subject to security of the State, friendly relations with foreign countries, public order, decency or morality). This also includes the Right to Information.
Right to Freedom of Religion: Right to freedom of conscience and free profession, practice, and propagation of religion.
Right against Exploitation: Right against exploitation, prohibiting all forms of forced labour, child labour and traffic in human beings.
Cultural and Educational Rights: Right of any section of citizens to conserve their culture, language or script, and right of minorities to establish and administer educational institutions of their choice.
Right to Constitutional Remedies: Right to constitutional remedies for enforcement of Fundamental Rights.
Right to Vote: Every citizen of sound mind over the age of 18 has a universal voting right.
Right to Education: This act makes education the fundamental right of every child between the ages of 6 and 14, specifying minimum norms in elementary schools. The World Bank's education specialist for India has observed how "The RTE Act is the first legislation in the world that puts the responsibility of ensuring enrollment, attendance, and completion on the Government." There are special provisions for the education students with disabilities, laid down in the Persons with Disabilities act.
Right to Privacy: The Supreme Court of India ruled that "Right to Privacy is an integral part of Right to Life and Personal Liberty guaranteed in Article 21 of the Constitution."
Right to Property: The constitution guaranteed to all citizens the right to acquire, hold and dispose of property. "No person shall be deprived of his property save by authority of law." It also provided that compensation would be paid to a person whose property has been taken for public purposes.
OTHER NOTABLE RIGHTS AFFORDED BY LAW AND POLICIES OF THE GOVERNMENT OF INDIA
| India's position on Healthcare: India is one of the only countries in the world affording its citizens the right to free public medical care for those below the poverty line, with affordable access to its other citizens and a national universal healthcare system in the works.
| India's position on LGBTQ rights: India has reversed colonial era imposed laws criminalizing homosexuality; discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity from the state is prohibited.
| India's position on Preserving the Environment: The Constitution of India stipulates that all citizens must work to protect and improve the natural environment including forests, lakes, rivers and wild life, and to have compassion for living creatures. India has ratified the Paris Agreement, including among others efforts to reduce the emissions intensity of GDP by 33%–35% by 2030 below 2005 levels, to increase the share of non-fossil-based energy resources to 40% of installed electric power capacity by 2030, and to create an additional (cumulative) carbon sink of 2.5–3 GtCO2e through additional forest and tree cover by 2030.
| India's position on Women's Rights: The Constitution of India says that is shall be the duty of each citizen to "renounce practices derogatory to the dignity of women." The Indian Government has taken special interest in taking up the issue of women's rights and protections, and law enforcement, courts, and other institutions are charges with special branches and duties to protect and preserve their rights.
| India's position on Peacekeeping: India has provided to the United Nations over 200,000 military and police officers over the last 70 years, and continues to be a world leader in peacekeeping efforts.
This list is not exhaustive.
The Constitution of India stipulates that it shall be the duty of every citizen of India:
(a) to abide by the Constitution and respect its ideals and institutions, the National Flag and the National Anthem;
(b) to cherish and follow the noble ideals which inspired our national struggle for freedom;
(c) to uphold and protect the sovereignty, unity and integrity of India;
(d) to defend the country and render national service when called upon to do so;
(e) to promote harmony and the spirit of common brotherhood amongst all the people of India transcending religious, linguistic and regional or sectional diversities; to renounce practices derogatory to the dignity of women;
(f) to value and preserve the rich heritage of our composite culture;
(g) to protect and improve the natural environment including forests, lakes, rivers and wild life, and to have compassion for living creatures;
(h) to develop the scientific temper, humanism and the spirit of inquiry and reform;
(i) to safeguard public property and to abjure violence;
(j) to strive towards excellence in all spheres of individual and collective activity so that the nation constantly rises to higher levels of endeavour and achievement.