Harbinger of Democracy
In the medieval England, King John imposed heavy taxes on his baron in order to pay for his expensive foreign wars. If they refused to pay, their property would get seized or they would get punished. King John also has to his credit for imprisoning his former wife, starving his opponents to death and murdering his own nephews. All these brought hell loose and the barons demanded that King John obey the law and when he did not give in, they captured London after which he had to pay heed to their demands.
The King and the Barons met at Runnymede in June 1215 and this resulted in Magna Carta written by the Kings clerks.
Celebrating 800 years
If we go back into the brief history of why Magna Carta emerged we will realize another example of Monarchy not succeeding and the value of Good Governance
‘No man shall be arrested or imprisoned except by the judgment of their equals and by the law of the land. To no one will we sell, to no one deny or delay right or justice.’
England was plunged into civil war after pope declared the charter as invalid. The charter was applied to only ‘free men’ when the vast majority of were unfree peasants
When King John died of dysentery in 1216, nine-year-old Henry III took to the throne. To keep the peace, Magna Carta was reissued several times during the 13th century, until it was finally made part of English law
For the first time it brought about tax based parliamentary system where it asserted that taxation needed the consent of the kingdom
Encountering of people who they find threat to their powers, excluding the right to identify our own people as citizens of India, for example: Northeast, caste politics, using religion as a weapon for self interest are still a reality of India. Magna Carta is an excellent contribution in human history. It will always be remembered and cherished for many more years to come. But after its 800 years of history it again reiterates the need for right kind of Governance
Lessons that are still to be learnt...
Prepared by R & D Unit