(Question 1) The Preamble of the Indian Constitution is a reflection of its philosophy- Comment

The term ‘Preamble’ refers to the introduction or preface to the Constitution. The Preamble of the Constitution of India makes one feel the heartbeat of the great organic document. It encapsules the characteristics of the aspirations of the people and sets out the ideals of identifying the nature of the State the Constitution intends to have and further epitomizes the fundamental philosophy of an egalitarian society and a progressive nation. The words of the Preamble are simultaneously metaphysical and practical and lay down the objectives upon which the foundation of this country was laid.

Preamble is the horoscope of our sovereign democratic republic”, said K.M. Munshi. How eloquent and invaluable the statement is. The Preamble has been called the soul of the Constitution because every particular detail and the fundamental principles get the instinct of verbalization when other ideas are read in harmony with the Preamble.

The Preamble makes every article very active and that is why, it is called a great declaration. Preamble acts as key to understanding of the Constitution and makes us understand what the founding fathers meant when they drafted this grand document. The Preamble was incorporated after all the Articles were drafted and after a keen and interesting debate; and that is why, every word used in the Preamble is absolutely precious. In Re berubari Case, it was also asserted by the honorbale Supreme Court that Preamble is the key to open the mind of the makers of the Constitution.

The Preamble to our Constitution serves the following purposes:

  • It indicates the source from which the constitution derives its authority.
  • It also states the objectives which the constitution seeks to establish and promote. 

Preamble as it now stands defines India as a sovereign, socialist, secular and democratic republic committed to give its citizens justice, equality, liberty and fraternity with each of the words specifying the realm in which the said virtue must operate. It gives a understanding of principles on which the constitution is framed.

Sovereign is to be understood as all power emanating from the people and the political system being accountable and responsible only to the people of this country. The Sovereign power is plenary and inherent in every Sovereign State to do all things like providing health, education, peace and good order.

Socialism, the concept of ‘Socialism’, as has been stated in Minerva Mills case, is meant to crystallize a Socialistic State securing to its people socio-economic justice by interplay of Fundamental Rights and Directive Principles of State Policy. The constitutionality of the legislations are tested on the said touchstone.

Secular, the term ‘Secular’ is not defined anywhere in the Constitution of India. The word ‘Secular’ does not mean that the State will be anti-religious or an atheistic State. It means that the State has no religion. In S.R. Bommai case, it has been ruled :”the concept of Secularism was very much embedded in our Constitutional philosophy. The term ‘Secular’ is not defined as it is a very elastic term not capable of precise definition and perhaps best left undefined.”

Democratic Republic, the words have to be read in a holistic manner. The Constitution of India has established a form of government that derives its power from the people and the people have the right to elect the government and to unseat the government as well. “That is why a little man’s vote matters”, as said by Winston Churchill.

In terms of Justice, Liberty, equality and fraternity, It is an opener to the enshrined principle of the constitution. It talks of justice  in the sphere of social, economic and political which are enshrined in the Articles of state policy in the Indian Constitution. It talks of liberty as enshrined in Artcile 21 and 19, ensured in the realm of thought, expression, belief, faith and worship It talks of equality as enshrined in Article 14 to 18 of Indian Constitution and also puts an aim of achieving fraternity to promote the dignity of individual and the unity and integrity of the nation.

Other two major Philosophies of the Indian Constitution that are enshrined in the preamble are:

  1. That the power lies in people: First few words of i.e. “we the people of India” suggest that the ultimate power lies in the hands of the people. It is a democracy in real sense indicating the rule by the people, for the people and of the people.
  2. That the Nature of Indian State is democratic : It declares India to be of a sovereign, socialist, secular democratic and republican polity.

Therefore, in the light of the arguments apprised above, it is right to say that the preamble is Reflection of the Philosophies of Indian Constitution.

Question 2 Short Note:

a) Hindutva Politics

b) Reservation Politics in India

Answer (a): HINDUTVA’ sums up the ideology that moved champions of Hindu nationalism for decades before Partition. In 1923, V.D. Savarkar coined the term in his essay, Hindutva: Who is a Hindu? As an atheist, he took pains to emphasise that Hindutva was not synonymous with Hinduism. It is important to understand the term, in all its nuances, because of its past and present significance.

Hindutva is the ideology of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh. The election manifesto of the Bharatiya Janata Party — the party in power and political front of the RSS — has sworn by it since 1996. What is more, Hindutva provides ample warning for what is in store for the future of India’s democracy and secularism. It splits the nation into ‘us’ and ‘them’, and discards Indian nationalism in favour of Hindu nationalism.

Savarkar wrote, “… Hindutva is not identical with what is vaguely indicated by the term Hinduism. By an ‘ism’ it is generally meant a theory or a code more or less based on spiritual or religious dogma or system. But when we attempt to investigate the essential significance of Hindutva we do not primarily — and certainly not mainly — concern ourselves with any particular theocratic or religious dogma or creed”. His concern was politics; the political mobilisation of Hindus into one nation.

Since 1996, the BJP’s election manifestoes for Lok Sabha elections pledge to espouse Hindutva in these terms: “The cultural nationalism of India is the core of Hindutva.” The resent grasp of Hindutva politics can be seen in the state of Karnataka, From the anti-conversion bill to the hijab row to the ‘banning’ of Muslims from conducting trade and setting up stalls in religious fairs associated with Hindu sites, from strict implementation of the hijab verdict by not allowing Muslim girls wearing hijab in the exam rooms to the proposal to introduce Bhagavad Gita in the school syllabus and from halal controversy to the call for a ban on loudspeakers for azaan, Karnataka is witnessing rigorous Hindutva mobilisation, it has no looking back in the BJP ruled state anytime soon.

Hindutva does not simply mean Hindu-ness. It is beyond that. It has nothing to do with spiritualism but everything to do with political economy. Its ideology is neither Hindu nor India. Vinayak Damodar Savarkar borrowed and imported the concept from the West, particularly from Hitler’s Nazîsm and Mussolini’s fascism. These two together provided the foundational root of Hindutva ideology.

Savarkar and Golwalkar flatly rejected the territorial or civic nationalism which includes all peoples born in India. They accepted only the cultural nationalism of a Hindu culture. According to them, political salvation does not lie in Indian democracy, but in embracing Hindu ‘dharmacracy’. The longterm objective of Hindutva is therefore to declare India as Hindu Rashtra. 

According to Hindutvavadis, Muslims and Christians are not bonafide Indians because they are not Hindus even though they are born and brought up in India. They argued that Islamism and Christianity were born outside India. Islamists put their faith in Prophet Mohammed and their holy place is Mecca in Saudi Arabia. Similarly Christianity is also originated in Palestine and their holy place is in Palestine. Given the choice between their motherland, India, and their holy land, Savarkar argued that the Muslims and Christians would opt for Mecca and Jerusalem.

Presently, amid the political crises of the late 1980s, Hindu identity began to be used openly again, and yielded electoral dividends in electoral campaigns. It helped win the small but decisive “non-committed vote,” as L.K. Advani called it, boosting the BJP’s share of seats exponentially. Political Hinduism has grown since then, aided by the Congress’s decline.

Today, BJP is in centre and gradually throwing its political Hindutva to each state possible. The hindi heartland like U.P, U.K  again supported the Hindutva politics in the recently concluded Election. It means there is definelty a success rate in Hindutva politics considering the majority population is hindu in India. The same game plan is set by BJP for 2023 karnataka election.

The few threats to Hindutva politics right now are the regional issues and parties that aligned good to those regional issues like West Bengal and Punjab have defied the Hindutva politics, more because the people are concerned about regional issues.

The major concern about Hindutva is that hindutva is not religious but a far-right political ideology that misuses religion for political purpose. Aims for Hindu supremacy and exploits Hindu religion as a badge of cultural identity to seek political power. The “politically-motivated” practice to call those who oppose the Hindutva ideology as “anti-nationals” and “anti-Hindus” is absurd. Many Indian social scientists have described the Hindutva movement as fascist in classical sense.

 The adherent of Hindutva politics elives that Hindutva is inclusive for it has capacity to include all hindus including Dalits and others to come forward for the same cause. The proponent of Hindutva like Muslim BJP member Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi, a minister of minority rights in Modi’s government, presented a different point of view, contending that Hindutva is not associated with religion but is rather a guiding civilizational principle.  “It is because of Hindutva that we talk about unity in diversity,” said Naqvi during a heated television debate over Hindutva in December 2021. 

Shazia Ilmi, a BJP spokesperson, told DW that Hindutva was being misinterpreted by the media and denied that the BJP discriminates against Muslims, adding that social development under the political ideology provides benefits for all of India’s ethnic groups.  Therefore, it can be stated that Hindutva politics is a majority centred fanaticism and distorted religiosity to further the political agenda by the ruling party today in India.

Answer (b) Reservation is a system of affirmative action in India that provides historically disadvantaged groups representation in education, employment and politics. Based on provisions in the Indian Constitution, it allows the Union Government and also the States and Territories of India to set reserved quotas or seats, which lower the qualifications needed in exams, job openings and etc. for “socially and educationally backward citizens.

Reservation is primarily given to all 4 groups: Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes, Other Backward Classes, Economically Weaker Section, abbreviated as SC, ST, OBC, EWS respectively. Originally only SC and ST communities were eligible for reservation. In 1987, it was extended to include OBCs after the implementation of the Mandal Commission report. In 2019, reservation was extended for Economically Weaker Section within the General Category.

But, unfortunately today,  it has become a regular feature of electoral politics to whip up sentiments of a particular caste or class on the eve of election by political parties by promising to include it within the ‘reserved’ category. “This unfortunately is not considered a bribe. It is very unfortunate. “The motivation for the ever increasing reservations is not to the benefit of the ostensible beneficiaries but is purely political. Reservation is of electoral benefit to political parties.

Political parties are nothing but reflection of popular demand. When Ambedkar was alive ‘most’ political party hated him. Now every party is running after his name and wants his legacy.

Dr Ambedkar introduced reservation for 10 years only subject to revision. That means even he was aware that reservation is unjust and therefore should not be for ever. If it is made for ever, it becomes another caste system sanctioned by law and constitution, which is worse than the Hindu caste system which was a social evil neither sanctioned by true Hinduism nor by law. Reservation is unjust because it is against the rule of fair play where the best becomes the winner through competition without any favor or partiality to anyone. It also promotes efficiency through competition. Followers of Dr Ambedkar think that reservation is their birthright for ever, but it need not be so. A wrong of the past (casteism) cannot be undone by another wrong in the present (reservation). One person or group cannot be punished for the fault of another person or group in the past.

But it is now 70 years and instead of being discontinued, it is assumining a permanent feature in our country and more and more social, economic and religious groups are demanding reservation. Meritorious students are felling deprived of job opportunities. Government servants are feeling discriminated and their morale is getting affected by reservation. There is growing unrest among various sections of the society against reservation as it is discriminatory in nature and favours inefficiency and demerit. Sometimes this unrest is creating violence and disturbing the peace in the society. So, it is necessary to re-evaluate the necessicity and justification of continuing reservation in its present form.

The main problem in abolishing reservation is vote-bank politics. No political party can afford to displease the electorate of reserved category by abolishing reservation and lose election. Moreover, such a move may give rise to communal violence which is against the interest of national unity and peace. So, even if a political party is against reservation it will not dare to implement it. Other parties will try to take political advantage our of it. So, we have to find a way so that the stick is not broken and the snake is also killed.

A time was there when reservation was on the top of political agenda. Every party competed with each-other to please the reserved categories. But with the rise of BJP and demise of Congress, reservation is losing its political importance. With more segments of the society demanding reserving, it is becoming impossible to satisfy all. If this trend continues the country will be bound to take a re-look at reservation and reservation will die its natural death.

With scope of Government employment getting reduced day by day and scope of private employment increasing day by day, importance of reservation will lose its importance gradually. Already, most bright students prefer private jobs compared to Government jobs. This trend will increase day by day. Growth of self-employment through business will also diminish importance of reservation.

There are many alternatives to reservation:

  1. Instead of caste based reservation income based reservation where a person of any caste, religion or community gets reservation in certain jobs can eliminate injustice to any particular community.
  2. Instead of reservation, free and quality education can be given to all students whose parents’ income is below a certain limit fixed by Govt. Education will make them respectable and employable. Assistance for skill development, special coaching for competitive exams, scholarships, hostel facility etc. can be arranged.
  3. Creamy layers belonging to reserved category who have enjoyed reservation for long time and come up in life may be denied reservation so that only genuine persons get reservation.
  4. Reservation in promotion may be abolished to promote efficiency in Govt departments.
  5. Make reservation irrelevant by promoting development of all sections of society, improving social welfare measures like pension, employ guarantee schemes, women empowerment and reservation, ensuring good farmer income, creating more job opportunities and self-employment etc. etc.

Any solution will however require political will and national consensus. All parties must think beyond narrow political and group interest and think of national interest. People should realize that reservation is against human dignity and therefore they should give it up themselves.

A country like America had slave custom and discrimination against Blacks but they did not introduce reservation for eleminatiing social discrimination. Education and rule of law was enough to achieve it. India should be no different. Reservation can become irrelevant with with education, development and rule of law. Casteism is illegal as per constitution.

Some professions which involve dirty manual work like scavenging should be replaced by technology and sanitation so that no one has to do such job. There should dignity of labor so that physical work is not looked down upon and there should be reduction of economic disparity to bridge the gap between the rich and the poor so that there is no superiority or inferiority on the basis of economic status in society. If all these things are done then reservation will become a thing of the past very soon and become irrelevant in modern India.

Also Read: INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY RIGHTS & COVID-19

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