Thursday, April 29, 2010

Our famed Constitution

This post was long overdue, mainly because the incident which it relates to happened about 4 weeks back. I was sitting at Dadu’s, the hangout-cum-small eatery at XLRI. Probably I was the only student left in college, as everyone had left for home after end-terms. There were few labourers hanging around, and were in middle of some intense discussion. I heard the words, “apne desh ka constitution bahut bakwaas hai” (The constitution of our country is utter nonsense) which was followed by half-mocking advices from others to convert to a particular religion which supposedly cares for poor people and improves standard of living as a ‘return favour’ for accepting their religious beliefs. I didn’t need to hear any further as I had managed to guess the discussion topic, but it got me thinking whole day on politics, its importance in human life and society in general.

Though the labourers were probably not aware, their discussion had roots in part III (fundamental human rights) and part XVI (Special provisions relating to certain classes) of constitution of India. It is indeed unfortunate that when people talk about politics, what it is and its consequences, they conveniently forget (most of them don’t even know) that it had roots in Aristotle’s work. According to Aristotle, inquiry into ethics leads to politics and ultimately provides principles of “how men should treat other men”. Same point has been put forward by Ayn Rand while defining Objectivist Politics. She gives very apt example while explaining political philosophy where she says “political philosophy will not tell you how much rationed gas you should be given and on which day of the week—it will tell you whether the government has the right to impose any rationing on anything.”

So, when that person said, that “our constitution is utter nonsense”, he was doing the basic error of assuming something which is derived as given. Constitution can never be nonsense. It is the political philosophy which is flawed. The constitution is just the effect. Politics is clearly dependent on other 3 philosophical principles of metaphysics, epistemology and ethics. A political philosophy which has socialist values, which tries to integrate fundamental rights and special provisions to certain classes together can’t have any other consequences than those observed in our society. A political philosophy which deviates from the basic principles had to result in a disparity which is observed today. A constitution giving people the fundamental right to follow any religious belief but following it with special provision based on caste is not serving any purpose.

To conclude, whatever seems ‘nonsense’ in life is clear consequence of men’s actions from the point where they start to abandon reason. To quote the non-contradiction principle put forward by Aristotle and championed by Ayn Rand, “Contradictions do not exist. Whenever you think you are facing a contradiction, check your premises. One of them has to be wrong”.


  1. Superb..... great work!!!!! The way you have interlinked various aspects and established a relation is simply put AWESOME.
    The blog doesn't only reveal your writing skills but also glorifies your understanding and thinking ability.
    A word of advice before critiqing our constitution, I suggest go thru' it with interpretation and various supreme court rulings. Your doubts shall vanish. It is definately one of the best work ever done by Indians.

  2. Well, a brilliant post simply for the topic it broaches. It is a welcome change from the narcissistic writings of most of the people around who certainly have the talent to write but can't put their thoughts to more weighty issues. Anyways I am no authority to comment.

    I enjoyed reading your post but at many points disagreed. I'll just put down my thoughts

    1. Those other religions are doing a great job indeed and I can see no reason why one shall not desert Hinduism and join Christianity. In Orissa where Christian missionaries were doing the biggest service to mankind possible, that of providing sustenance to starved and dying people, all Hindu fundamentalists could do was burn the entire city down and rape nuns. It is almost as we cannot compete on virtue but we sure can kill you, you better stay with us.

    2. As far as political philosophy behind our constitution is concerned, it was in good spirit and caste/religions based incentives were given simply to make up for years of prejudice and negligence towards these communities. Me not getting a seat in IIT/IIM is still nothing comparable to someone being treated an untouchable.

    3. I am not sure about constitution being nonsense or not but I am sure it is outdated and the complete set of laws in India need desperate revision. Just to give an example, under Indian Law it is still mandatory to perform an autopsy/postmortem during daytime.

  3. The depth of the post is just mindboggling... I guess wisdom does come with age. ;)

  4. @Rahul
    agree. I certainly didn't mean that our constitution is worthless. I do know how deeply it has been worked on and yeah it is very good work, but I actually wanted to convey 2 points
    1)Certain clauses which clearly had roots in socialism and there could have been better ways to deal with issues
    2)most importantly, somewhere I wanted to convey that the labourer, though may seem poor and oppressed, somewhere is himself responsible..not only he, the mentality of public in general

    1) I hv contrary evidences and events, but I wont go in detail on tht topic here. we will take it 'offline' :)
    2)again, controversial...If after 63 years of independence, we need reservations and tht too based on caste, completely ignoring poor in other then there is problem. I am not glorifying supporting any caste/religion. I am complete atheist but...
    3)Agree on outdated thing. And this where half of the answer to your above two queries lie.

    lol...good one :)

  5. a new way to look at things.. never thought this way...

  6. Well written buddy..
    In depth discussion.. :)
    If you could elaborate your argument with some example it will be very much helpful ... :)


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