Wednesday, July 24, 2024

Revisiting the Preamble

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The preamble of our constitution needs revision, especially the words ‘socialist’ and ‘secular’

Forty seven years of the 42nd amendment act of 1976 has passed. Many governments have come and gone. The country has experienced several sea-changes.

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Bharat is growing, prospering and becoming powerful. It is currently, the fifth largest economy in the world. It possess the fourth largest armed forces and is a vibrant democracy.

Hegel, the German philosopher argued that time and space are subject to constant changes over time and space. He called this the process of dialectics whose objective must be to attain praxis i.e., unity of thought and action.

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Keeping this thought in mind, the same needs to be done with the preamble.

Amending the Preamble

A constitution of a liberal democratic country is more than a lifeless pieces of page. It is a living, breathing document.

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It signifies a social contract between the state and the electorate of a strong organic relationship where the former agrees to serve the latter in exchange for possessing monopoly of violence.

The Indian Constitution is such a document. It must reflect the aspirations and ideas of the current times and the generational thought.

As such, there is a strong need to revisit the preamble- which means amending this ‘identity card of the constitution’, to quote N Palkhivala in a different context.

Socialist- The First Word in the Preamble

Socialism is dead and long gone. It was inserted to reflect the ideological leaning of the then ruling Congress regime.

Socialism is, however, dead.

The Indian state, for all practical purposes, is a neo-liberal state with strong presence of welfarism. This is evident from schemes like Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MNREGA), Jan Dhan Yojana, PM Kisan Samman Nidhi Yojana.

It also includes programs like startup India, skill India etc.

Socialism is a relic of the past. It died with the demise of the Soviet Union.

There is, therefore, no use flogging a dead horse. Therefore for all practical purposes, it needs to be removed.

Secular- A Pejorative Term

The nature of the Indian state was already secular.

However, the earlier dispensation made a gross mistake by arguing that India is only a nation-state.

India, for all practical purposes a civilizational state with an indelible heritage of thousands of years. Sanatan Dharma is the visible manifestation of this mark.

The Bharatiya spirit, as Jawaharlal Nehru had mentioned in his magnum opus The Discovery  of India was always tolerant, magnanimous and inclusive.

However, the word secular has been abused by successive Congress regimes to put Hindus and other Indic believers in peril and constant state of insecurity.

This is evident from the appeasement policies of the earlier regimes, especially unprecedented levels of preference for the ‘you-know-who’ community claiming to be a minority despite staggering numbers.

The majority have been kept in a state of siege mentality.

It is time that the concept of laicism or strict separation of state and religion is followed.

Conclusion

It is therefore, imperative, that the government uses its constituent powers under Article 368 to undertake a constitutional amendment exercise to remove these two words without any further delay.

While the Keshavnanda Bharati case of 1973 does state that certain parts of the constitution which are of fundamental relevance cannot be amended. Yet, it is very clear that these two words do not fall in that ‘sacrosanct’ domain and can be easily removed.

This is necessary to reflect the current state of Indian polity and society.

 

 

 

 

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