Reclaiming a civilisational approach to the Constitution?

The Daily Guardian

Last November, India celebrated 70 years of the adoption of its Constitution, which by itself ought to have led to a renewed interest in the document, its origins, nature, journey, current status and the way forward. What made such a discussion even more imperative were the landmark changes effected to the Constitution, namely the introduction of 10% reservation for the Economically Weaker Sections (EWS) of society, and the amendment to Article 370. The other important developments that warranted a revisiting of the Constitution were, the Ayodhya verdict of the Supreme Court, which predictably led to a discussion on secularism despite the case being a title suit on immoveable property, and the reference order passed in the Sabarimala case pursuant to which a historic nine-judge bench of the apex court will examine far-reaching constitutional questions on matters of religion.

Unfortunately, none of these developments has triggered an informed, critical, original and yet accessible exegesis of the Constitution. To anyone who has paid even a modicum of attention to the undercurrents, it must become apparent and even embarrassingly obvious that the supreme book of the Republic has been the battleground for an ideological tussle for decades now and will remain so for the foreseeable future. Given that the political discourse in India has largely swung between the Left and the Right binaries with their peculiar Indian connotations, the battle over the Constitution too has followed a similar pattern.


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