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

Articles By Civil Liberties

Language, Purity, and the Logic of Democracy

It is argued here that the 1648 “Peace of Westphalia,” inaugurating the “secular state,” substituted language for religion as the basis for the state’s project of affectively unifying the nation. Working to build a truly neutral state, equally available to all its citizens, involves ensuring the freedom of critical discourse to question the proto-hegemonic narrative associated with every primordial (religious or linguistic) affi liation. The Westphalian-style sanctifi cation of these affi liations becomes pathological in a society that worships purity and hierarchy. Peggy Mohan, it is argued, provides a cogent characterisation of language on the basis of which one can overcome such pathologies and work towards a chauvinism-free model of democracy.

Misplaced Priorities and Class Bias of the Judiciary

It is clear from the recent record of the higher judiciary that the imperative of upholding civil liberties, socio-economic rights, and environmental protection has been subordinated to agendas such as the "war on terror", "development" and satisfying corporate interests. Far from remaining faithful to the motives that resulted in the institution of public interest litigation, the Supreme Court has tended to act against the interests of the socio-economically backward.