It is said that a man is born free but everywhere he is in chains. This statement of a political thinker brings out a fundamental dichotomy that despite the fact that every human being is created by god to be equal, yet he is subjected to discrimination by the other sections of society on the basis of caste, creed, colour and religion.
Over a period of time many classes have been created among various societies and communities where the superior class subjugates the so called inferior class as a matter of right.
Rights in Indian Society
Human rights are fundamental to human dignity. These rights are envisaged to treat every human being equal without any discrimination or prejudice.
There are many national and international laws, statutes which provide legal safeguards against human rights violation. In India, our constitution guarantees all citizens six fundamental rights.
Among these Right to Equality and Right to Freedom are very important rights. The United Nations General Assembly also passed Universal Human Rights Declaration in the year 1948 in Paris to provide safeguards against violation of human Rights by any nation of the world.
Indian society is a classic example where caste factor has divided the people so bitterly that the lower caste communities were branded as untouchables. All primary functions of the society like dwelling areas, marriages, profession, kitchen are dictated by caste.
Initially the society was divided into four categories depending on the capability of a person. The high caste called Brahmin were assigned the task of reading and writing the scriptures, Kashatriyas were supposed to be warriors, Vaishyas were traders and Shudras did cleaning etc. However this division took the form of caste over the centuries and became intrinsic part of our society.
Despite various laws and reforms initiated by the successive govts, this curse is still at the root of our social structure. Even today caste is the dominating and deciding factor in all election campaigns in India. This is highly harmful to the democratic fabric of our country.
In the history of the world we come across chilling instances of human rights violations. The practice of Apartheid was practiced in African countries where the white masters meted out untold atrocities on black natives just because of their colour.
Nelson Mandela spearheaded a crusade against Apartheid. Similarly the practice of slavery and slave trade was another blot on the face of humanity. In the slave trade practiced across the nations, human beings were sold and purchased like commodities without any regard to human dignity.
Women and children were abused and misused like cattle. There was a civil war in America and Abraham Lincoln carried out a crusade to abolish slavery. Even in the first half of twentieth century Hitler massacred the Jews en-mass and put them in gas chambers. Millions of Jews perished in the genocide. This was gross violation of human rights.
Equal opportunities, transparency, freedom, liberty, justice, fraternity and principles of natural justice are some the underlying tenants of human rights. Now the power is not concentrated in one man as was the case during the era of kings, queens and feudal lords.
The real power is now in the hands of people. The Parliament represents the WILL of the people and it enacts laws as per the spirit of constitution for the welfare of people. The Supreme Court provides remedy in case the laws are violated. Any person can approach the courts for justice.
The Electronic and print media are free to highlight the excesses committed by high and mighty or criticize the govt in the event of any transgression.
Even during war between two countries, the human rights of all including the soldiers are provided safeguards. The Geneva Convention has listed these safeguards.
No soldier of a defeated nation can be subjected to inhuman treatment. Human Rights are aimed to preserve the dignity of all human beings without any prejudice or discrimination.
There is a need that everyone is fully aware of his/her rights and remedies available in case of violation.