First, it is the Constitution Day of India. It was the day, in 1949, when the Constituent Assembly formally adopted the Constitution of India, that later came into force from January 26, 1950, which marks the day as the Republic Day of India. The Constitution was written by hand by Prem Bihari Narayan Rayzada, and Nandalal Bose and his students from Shantiniketan filled the gaps on the pages with impeccable imagery of Indian history and culture, and the original is preserved in the library of the Parliament House, New Delhi. The Constitution gifted India a sovereign, secular, socialist, democratic republic.
Second, on November 26, 2008, a series of terror attacks happened in Mumbai, with 10 members of Lashkar-e-Taiba, an Islamist terrorist organization from Pakistan, carried out 12 coordinated bombing attacks that lasted for four days across Mumbai, killing 166 people and injuring more than 300. A black day for India, which we can never forget, and the closure for which has not yet come.
Third, November 26, 2012, is the date when a bunch of anti-corruption activists came together to form Aam Admi Party in Delhi, which today is in power in Delhi state and is the main opposition party in Punjab state. Individual opinions apart, the AAP Delhi government has set a record of sorts with 26% state budget allocation for education, 16% for health, 14% for transport, bringing in doorstep delivery of government services, free public transport travel for women, and free water and power for the poor up to a limit. All this, while doubling the state revenues in Delhi by arresting revenue leakages, delays, wastages, etc. They have successfully brought these issues as electoral talking points in India, which usually are marked by religious, communal, and casteist campaigns, even to this day.
Fourth, November 26, 2020, amid the Covid pandemic, lacs of farmers started the movement to get a legal guarantee of Minimum Support Price for their crops and to force the Central government to roll back three new farms laws, brought in first through Ordinances and passed later in a haste through a voice vote in Parliament. One year later, the government has declared the repeal of the three laws and is still silent on legally protected MSP.
Finally, today is also the 100th birth anniversary of Kurien Verghese, the barefoot evangelist who initiated the white revolution in Gujarat leading to the birth of Amul. His life shows how a single man can make a major difference with a missionary zeal to do what he chooses to do.
NOVEMBER 26 is really a red-letter day for India, the Indian people, and India’s fledgling democracy.
Prof Ujjwal K Chowdhury,