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”.