18 June, 2021

The Kindling Crucible

Ramlila Maidan has become the forge for the genesis of a new breed of citizenry

The Kindling Crucible

In the ideational foundry of Delhi’s Ramlila Maidan, which is aglow with the searing heat of a popular discontent against corruption, new notions of citizenship have been forged and those old recast. No doubt, these ideas have not acquired the requisite tinsel strength to not shatter under the gargantuan, and contradictory, pressure of our politics. Yet, it can be said without qualification that, in the open school of democracy at the Ramlila Maidan, where contrasting ideologies clash and their votaries intermittently stroll in and out, the idea of a new Indian citizenry has been midwifed.

The personality of the new Indian citizen, though still nebulous, can be outlined—she and he have cast away the apathy of the past to become remarkably assertive. They believe they must play the role of the watchdog of democracy every day, eschewing the tendency to reduce it to a ritual performed every five years; they don’t think they should accept all laws Parliament frames—especially those not to their satisfaction; they...

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