Wednesday, 17 December 2014

The Indian Constitution and My Teacher Rousseau ( 1712-1778 )



" With Voltaire triumphant throughout Europe, and Rousseau hiding in  fear in a dark room in obscurity, the Age of Rousseau began "
Will Durant : The Story of Civilization : Rousseau and Revolution

What I inherited from my teacher Rousseau was a hatred of injustice. Rousseau saw through, hated, and raised his voice against every kind of injustice. While denouncing feudal despotism ( see his ' Social Contract ' ), he also realized that formal democracy ( universal franchise, etc ) and political liberties are empty shells unless accompanied with economic and social justice. Liberty, freedom of speech, the right to vote, etc are meaningless to a hungry or unemployed man.

 While Locke never attacked inequality in wealth, and Voltaire obfuscated on the issue, Rousseau, in his ' Discourse on Inequality ', clearly said : " It is obviously contrary to the law of nature, however it be defined, for a handful of people to gorge themselves on superfluities, while the starving multitudes lack the basic necessities of life "

 Thus Rousseau realized  that the ' natural rights ' of which Locke and others had spoken, were all meaningless to a poor man, because poverty is destructive of all rights.

 Rousseau would have found the Indian Constitution as an empty shell, because the socio-economic rights, without which the Fundamental Rights guaranteed in Part 3 ( freedom of speech, freedom of religion, liberty, equality, etc ) are meaningless, have been placed in the Directive Principles in Part 4, and have been specifically made non enforceable ( vide Article 37 ). Thus what has been given by one hand, has been taken away by the other.

  The Indian Constitution, though no doubt doing some good for some time, by providing for civil liberties, secularism, etc has also , by not ensuring socio-economic justice to the poor masses in India ( see my articles ' Healthcare in India ', ' Malnutrition in India ', ' Unemployment in india ', ' Vikaas', etc on my facebook page and on my blog justicekatju.blogspot.in ), and rather permitting further widening the gulf between the handful of rich and the vast majority of poor, has now exhausted itself. It can now no longer serve the Indian people, and has to be replaced by a Constitution which ensures real justice, which includes socio-economic justice, to the people, and not a mere fig leaf.

 This,however, will only be possible after a great and drastic historical change in the social system prevailing in India

7 comments:

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  2. And what precisely are the historical changes that you talk about ?

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  3. At first i personally feel equality is some kind of Utopian idea though i agree all citizens must be provided with basic needs including food,healthcare,education and shelter.A democratic govt elected by the people cannot see it's single citizen suffering.But then we have to take refuge into natural laws or Darwinian principle-as all people cannot have equal efficiency and by that reason surplus of wealth occurs-Rich-poor differences surface. Marxism/communism tried to fix it by nationalizing all the area depriving people from property rights-but the experiment failed.As far as i know our constitution has followed leftist principle or greatly influenced by socialist ideology and like failed communism may be that our constitution also failed to address several issues.I sometimes feel if a constitution within 65 years of it's adoption has been amended more than 100 times-then what kind of constitution it is.Now i'm coming to the point of making new constitution---as per my little knowledge i observe that most of the things which we want to do must be based on sound economic/financial base which is dependent on various internal and external factors and most of them are beyond control of India.So even after adoption of a new constitution we may not be able to get what we dream for.Revolution/historic change can happen in future,but we must have to ensure that revolution/history does not eat it's own children.

    ReplyDelete
  4. At first i personally feel equality is some kind of Utopian idea though i agree all citizens must be provided with basic needs including food,healthcare,education and shelter.A democratic govt elected by the people cannot see it's single citizen suffering.But then we have to take refuge into natural laws or Darwinian principle-as all people cannot have equal efficiency and by that reason surplus of wealth occurs-Rich-poor differences surface. Marxism/communism tried to fix it by nationalizing all the area depriving people from property rights-but the experiment failed.As far as i know our constitution has followed leftist principle or greatly influenced by socialist ideology and like failed communism may be that our constitution also failed to address several issues.I sometimes feel if a constitution within 65 years of it's adoption has been amended more than 100 times-then what kind of constitution it is.Now i'm coming to the point of making new constitution---as per my little knowledge i observe that most of the things which we want to do must be based on sound economic/financial base which is dependent on various internal and external factors and most of them are beyond control of India.So even after adoption of a new constitution we may not be able to get what we dream for.Revolution/historic change can happen in future,but we must have to ensure that revolution/history does not eat it's own children.

    ReplyDelete