ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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More on the Indian State

I have a few points on the interesting article “Conscience of the Constitution and Violence of the Indian State” by Anand Chakravarty (EPW, 1 December 2012).

It can be said without much gainsay that the spirit of the Constitution has been violated by many actions of state functionaries. But the cardinal question that has evaded a clear-cut answer from political thinkers, especially from the left stream, is about the real class character of the Indian state. Can it be branded a mere oppressor? Yes, it has assumed an oppressive role that defies the basic grain of the democratic structure. But, at the same time, Sudipta Kaviraj has pointed to the multifaceted character of the Indian state in an interesting paper entitled “Intellectual Enchantment with the State”. Components of the state machinery like the judiciary and Parliament have also offered a sigh of relief to the oppressed through judgments and legislations. Has this dual character of the Indian state helped to sustain it and prevent a large-scale upsurge even in the face of venal actions that a demo­cracy can ill afford?

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