Are we struggling between Rights and Duties? Celebrating Constitution Day

Reporters Club: Nepal celebrates as 4 years have passed since it ushered a Republic through its constitution. Two rounds of the Constituent Assembly and probably one of the most expensive constitutions in modern times, we invited an era that would formalize a structure that would guide the country to a new phase of development and prosperity.

With numerous sacrifices that have been made over a period of years, Nepal has witnessed many political upheavals and its history has been witness to various regime changes.

While we celebrate today, let us remember that there are many who still feel marginalized and underrepresented and treat this as a “black day” in their lives. It also is a day when we look back at the countless sacrifices made to attain this cause for a Republic that would be inclusive bringing an end to discrimination and providing equitable opportunity for all.

One of the oldest Nations of this world, Nepal has witnessed varied and extreme political systems and within that administration to govern, and guide the people in different stages of modern and contemporary history.

(Constitution Day celebrations 2019) 

Through our constitution keeping in mind the diversity of our Nation we brought in a system as mentioned in the Constitution “ending all forms of discrimination and oppression created by feudalistic, autocratic, centralized, unitary system of governance”. We ended all forms of discrimination including the heinous “untouchability” that was a deterrent to the individual development of Nepalese individuals, and vilification of human dignity.

If we go through our preamble, we also find that this honors the victims of Nepalese history who laid their lives for this cause. It is a dedication for their sacrifice toward progressive change in society. This constitution also guarantees various rights that we as citizens can enjoy.

Part 3, 16-47 of our Constitution enumerates several rights that secure our way of life in the Nation, and it has also safeguarded many principles that are in the model of fairness, inclusiveness, and opportune for all.

While we look into these rights that are listed for our benefit, there are several questions and challenges that we still have to face in the coming days ahead, as one of the biggest may be clause 47 that states ” The State shall, as required, make legal provisions for the implementation of the rights conferred by the Part, within three years of the commencement of this Constitution”.

Where do we stand as a Nation after the completion of the 4th year? Has the government taken necessary measures in order to provide us the rights given in the Constitution? Yes, implementation challenges have been enormous, and we will still have to go through substantial hurdles in the coming years. But is this the only job for the government to do? Let us as citizens think this through.

(Constitution Day celebrations 2019) 

Our basic approach in our way of life, even before we seek to enjoy the rights that are listed let us ask one fundamental question as is the utmost importance. Are we fulfilling our duties as citizens with sincerity and dedication?

As citizens our duties as given in the Constitution in part 48, states we all have the following duties “to safeguard the nationality, sovereignty, and integrity of Nepal while being loyal to the Nation, to abide by the Constitution and law, to render compulsory service as and when the State requires, and to protect and preserve public property”. Have we really followed our duties? Do we think for the betterment of the Nation as a whole when we continue raising demands, or do we work for limited self-interest? This is debatable, and in these three years, neither has the government nor as citizens have we been able to fulfill our duties as citizens. We have destroyed public property, including in parliament, and resorted to violence time and again in order to attain personal and or group objectives ignoring the larger cause of the nation. Have we in the course of protecting our rights forgotten our duties, that as citizens are for us to realize. It is only with collective individual self-responsibility that this nation can truly move forward.

Our tug of war will continue if we do not reconcile and think about the future generation that will be inheriting a Constitution that has come after several hurdles and sacrifices. Let us maintain the dignity of life that this constitution aims to provide for, and honor those who laid down their lives for this cause. Let the sacrifices not go in vain, indeed celebrate the day as it brings dignity, unity, and respects the notion of human life safeguarding the rights of each individual in order to have a livelihood. Let us thank the Families for their selfless sacrifice for the greater cause of the nation, the people who fought for individual dignity. This day should be celebrated as we seek common ground and a way forward in the coming years with reconciliation and brotherhood. HAPPY CONSTITUTION DAY!


(Photos: Mukunda Kalikote)