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Steps To Eradicate Colonial Mindset

On the 76th anniversary of Independence, Prime Minister of India Narendra Modi reportedly said from the Red Fort that the Path of Duty should be the way of life. On September 8, 2022, he renamed New Delhi’s Rajpath (or the Kingsway) to Kartavya Path (or The Way of Duty). The path was termed Kingsway in honour of King George V of Britain, who had got the capital of British India transferred from Kolkata to Delhi. The avenue was renamed Rajpath (literal translation of Kingsway) after Independence, to symbolising in a way the end of the British Raj. It is basically a ceremonial boulevard in the Indian capital that runs from Rashtrapati Bhavan (or Presidential Palace, originally the Viceroy’s House during British India) on Raisina Hill, through Vijay Chowk to India Gate (a War Memorial located astride the Kartavya Path, on the eastern edge of the ceremonial axis of New Delhi).

Courtesy: Hindustan Times

Prime Minister Modi has always stressed on the Civic Duty of the Constitution, rather than the Constitutional Rights. It may be noted that the chapter on Civic Duty was inserted into the Constitution during the Emergency, a 21-month period from 1975 to 1977 when former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi had a State of Emergency declared across the country. According to sources close to the Government of India, PM Modi changed the name of the ceremonial boulevard to Kartavya Path in order to signify the public ownership and empowerment. However, experts have expressed doubt whether the Prime Minister is trying to reduce the importance of the Fundamental Rights mentioned in the Indian Constitution, and make the five Civic Duties more important.

Kartavya Path

While delivering his 76th Independence Day Speech at Red Fort, the Prime Minister announced Panch Pran (the Five Resolutions) for the next 25 years from the 75th year of Independence to the Centenary (in 2047) in order to help India become a Developed Nation. He also urged the Indians to carry out their duties, stating: “We must remove any vestiges of Colonialism, take pride in our heritage and ensure Unity in Diversity.” He stressed that a 100% Freedom from Slavery was required to achieve the target.

A senior official of the Government of India, who wished to remain anonymous, has claimed that the decision to change the name of Rajpath to Kartavya Path is a reflection of these resolutions. According to the official, a street in London was similarly named Kingsway in honour of King Edward VII, the father of King George V. Hence, the name Rajpath had a touch of British slavery for nearly 190 years. Prime Minister Modi wanted to inform his countrymen that “no one is the king and no one is a subject“, now.

It may also be noted that a marble statue of British Monarch King George V had occupied the famed canopy of India Gate. Later in 1968, the Government of India removed the statue of the British King from that place. On September 8, Prime Minister Modi inaugurated a grand 30ft-high statue of freedom fighter Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose (an Indian nationalist whose defiance of British Authority in India made him a hero among Indians), marking a milestone transition in the history of India. With this, the PM accorded Netaji a place that was once occupied by an imposing statue of King George V. Incidentally, Queen Elizabeth II of Britain passed away at Balmoral Castle in Aberdeenshire, Scotland a few hours after Netaji reached the heart of New Delhi. Indeed, it is an odd, as well as a wonderful coincidence for the Indians.

Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose

Earlier on September 2 (2022), the Indian Navy got its new Indianised naval ensign that saw the colonial Saint George’s Cross being replaced with a blue octagonal shape, encompassing the national emblem sitting atop an anchor, inspired by the royal seal of Maratha ruler Chhatrapati Shivaji. Prime Minister Modi unveiled the new ensign in Kochi during the commissioning of India’s first indigenous aircraft carrier, INS Vikrant.

New ensign of the Indian Navy

Meanwhile, a section of diplomats have strongly criticised the Government of India for declaring one day of State Mourning on September 11 as a mark of respect to Queen Elizabeth II who breathed her last on September 8. They are of the opinion that there was no need for India to fly the National Flag at half-mast to show respect to the Queen, as Prime Minister Modi wants a 100% Freedom from Slavery.

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