August 17, 2008 Indian Express
Social Justice, the signature tune of our Constitution, has figured prominently in two recent lectures. Justice Srikrishna delivering the Rosalind Wilson Memorial Lecture regretted that even after 61 years of Independence and several government policies, social justice is still a dream. He stated that despite government figures and claims basic amenities like access to safe drinking water and proper sanitation facilities are not only poor in quality but are also inaccessible. Dr Amartya Sen in his inaugural Prof Hiren Mukherjee Memorial Lecture stressed that demands of social justice are imperative in the field of health, malnutrition of children and improvement of educational facilities. He bemoaned chronic absenteeism of teachers in secondary schools. Prof Sen poignantly observed that the petrol crisis or loss of sovereignty over signing a deal with another country should not let a government neglect the “gigantic older problems of persistent deprivation of human lives, tolerated without much political protest. Justice demands that we make a strong effort to identify the overwhelming priorities that have to be confronted with total urgency”. He concluded by saying “we have to ask what should keep us awake at night”. What would keep me awake at night and also during the day is the nagging question: Will social justice ever become a living reality for our people?
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