Allowing Constructive Criticism – UPSC GS2

Global Criticism of India and its response:
  • The use of military-grade barriers and internet shutdown against Farmer’s protest attracted criticism from global celebrities. However, the government has advised them to refrain from interfering in the internal issues.
  • The government has arrested activists (like Disha Ravi) and warned social media companies (Like Twitter) supporting such celebrities.
India supporting universal nature of human rights:
  • The country criticized the practice of apartheid and arbitrary trail of Nelson Mandela in South Africa. The efforts led to the setting up of the United Nations Special Committee Against Apartheid.
  • India was part of the committee that formulated the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. The Declaration was adopted in 1948. This created a list of universal rights available to every human being.
  • Indian freedom fighters like Mahatma Gandhi played a pivotal role in drafting the UN charter at the 1945 San Francisco conference.
Why should we welcome Foreign Criticism?
  • India itself intervened on matters of other countries on grounds of human rights. The 1971 intervention in East Pakistan (now Bangladesh) was justified on humanitarian grounds.
  • Implementation of the latest laws like the Citizenship (Amendment) Act is only possible when criticism from other countries is accepted. The law offers a home for certain persecuted citizens of three foreign countries.
  • The interests of Sri Lankan Tamils can be protected when the country is itself open to foreign comments.
  • India welcomes praise from foreigners as observed in case of giving refuge to the Dalai Lama. Similarly, some Europeans were allowed to visit Kashmir in order to examine the human rights situation.
  • Public criticism is not a direct intervention in internal affairs.
Way Forward:
  • India must realize that it can sustain its reputation as the world’s largest democracy only when it ensures and secure universal rights for all. This would require giving everyone a sense of security and respecting their dignity.
  • Further, the practice of accepting only praise from foreign celebrities also needs to change. Constructive criticism also requires acceptance.

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