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

Constitution of IndiaSubscribe to Constitution of India

Language Issue in Constituent Assembly Debates

The issue of the national language was one of the most contentious and passionately debated ones by members of the Constituent Assembly. The significance of this debate lies in the way the members imagined India as a nation, articulated regional and linguistic identities, and sought to build unity of purpose to lay the foundations of modern India. The debates revealed a divide between North and South India, and took on communal undertones too. The eventual choice of Hindi could be pushed through due to the numerical strength of the supporters of the language. This paper will unravel the varying standpoints of participants in this debate.

COVID-19 and Dwindling Indian Federalism

One of the many effects of COVID-19 pandemic disaster is also visible on legislative, executive and financial federalism in India. The constitutional mandate for functioning of centre on behalf of states has been missed and recourse to disaster has been taken to undertake unified but unconsented measures.

The Future of Progressive Politics in India

The challenge for progressives is not mobilising those who already feel an affinity with the core values enshrined in India’s Constitution and believe in a liberal, secular, and democratic India. The challenge is to convince the silent majority of India which is either not unduly bothered about the threat posed by Hindutva or feels that these very values somehow undermine their identity and culture.

Breaking the Chaturvarna System of Languages

The Indian language policy is informed by a pull towards unilingual identity, inspired by the European model of nation state that is predicated on the homogeneity of its people. Language hegemony works at two tiers in India—at the state and the centre. The Constitution fails to pay more than lip service to the linguistic plurality and multilingual ethos of the peoples of India and has created a chaturvarna (four-tier order) of languages, with Sanskrit, Hindi, the scheduled, and the non-scheduled languages occupying various rungs of the ladder. English—the language of the conquerors—being outside the chaturvarna system has emancipatory potential.

Land Tax, Reservation for Women and Customary Law in Nagaland

Can elected urban local bodies in Nagaland levy taxes on land and buildings when Naga lands and its resources are, under Article 371A of the Constitution, the domain of customary bodies and laws? Should women be allotted 33% reservation of electoral seats in these urban local bodies, as sanctioned by the Constitution, when customary institutionsand practices did not envision political leadership for women? These are divisive questions in Nagaland. A socio-historical background is offered.

First Amendment to Constitution of India

India's Constitution has been amended over a hundred times since its inception in 1950. The landmark amendments are discussed with special emphasis on the first amendment, which altered the way the freedom of speech and expression was originally understood by the framers of the Constitution.

The Republic of Reasons

Discourse within a constitutional framework alone can be the foundation for a possible solidarity in societies which are vibrant with real diversities and differences.

Institutional Communalism in India

The fight against institutional communalism in India alerts us to a challenge bigger than merely inflicting electoral defeats on Hindu communal parties and organisations. Even if such parties are defeated electorally, institutional Hindu communalism remains pervasive in varying degrees in India's Constitution, judiciary, civil services, electoral and parliamentary institutions, security forces, prisons, academia, media, corporate business, and even non-governmental organisations, it will continue as a social, cultural and politico-economic force to disadvantage the lives of minority communities in India.

Human Rights Movement in India

The civil and democratic rights movement in India, with its very obvious influences drawn from western democracies, had rather fortuitous beginnings in India. From a largely limited activist base from the emergency period of the 1970s, it has since moved into newer areas, with newer sources of support especially among more marginalised sections. But the movement, unlike its counterpart in the west, remains constantly challenged by prevailing complexities of the political process. The emergence of newer identities and shifting quality of these identities shaped by the very nature of politics and electoral processes in India coupled with the paucity of similar experiences in western liberal democracies, ensures that civil and democratic rights movement has to often formulate its own responses, make its own theoretical and conceptual innovations to meet such challenges.

Assessing Indian Democracy

The Success of India’s Democracy edited by Atul Kohli; Princeton University Press, 2001; pp xiv + 298, Rs 695.

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