Constitution Whose?

Constitution, Whose?


Body and body politics both exist as much in space as in time. Both are influenced by these basic elements, which give them their shape and fundamental features. The constitution of a country is built in the same manner as the constitution of one’s body. One’s heritage and experience mould one’s body and mind. Similarly, a nation’s characteristic features are shaped by its geographical situation and its historical growth. Just as the constitutions of no two persons are identical, no two nations are identically constituted. The constitution of one country however well suited to that country is a strange cloak for another land. Nothing is more unscientific than to clamp one country with another’s constitution.

Yet this was done in India where some wise men formed themselves into a constituent assembly and assembled together parts of the constitutions of foreign make, of England, Ireland, USA, Canada and Australia, to build up the constitution of the Indian Union and clamped it on their ancient country that is Bharat. This was against the advice of Mahatma Gandhi, who had in clear terms delineated that decentralized form of Government was in keeping with our national heritage and most suited to it.  Soon after the Indian independence, the constitution was ratified. In an interview, Krishna Menon strongly advised that India should not blindly adopt the British form of Government, but the builders of our constitution rested content by borrowing the provision of Government of India Act, 1935 and making a few alterations here and there. The one thing they closed their mind to is India’s history - the stream that has been flowing for thousands of years, shaping and modulating her life and giving it color and vigor.

The result has been disastrous. The Indian never cooperated with the strange constitution in spite of the loud promise of equality and social justice. In spite of the propaganda machinery pitching moral and patriotic slogans in the name of democracy and socialism, the immoral and corrupt methods of grabbing money, fraud and indulgence continue till date. Mass participation in polling has been lamentably poor. The intelligentsia have kept themselves away. The reason is simple, the logic emphatic: a country cannot have two constitutions. The masses have their own constitution running down from the days of Manu, a constitution which weaves unity amongst diversity, guaranteeing freedom to each village to govern itself, a constitution which respects and retains the proud heritage and culture of each region in this multi-national subcontinent, a constitution which builds up and maintains without force or fence this enormous garden allowing life to blossom naturally in its manifold splendor. They do not want to give up their healthy norms of life for the new fangled ideas of the Macaulay boys.

India is not one. It consists of two nations: Indian masses and their foreign rulers. The Indian masses have retained their ancient culture, which they value very much. The foreign culture, which their rulers, the Sultans, Badshahs and Emperors, brought in and was adopted by their native lackeys, has never inspired the Indian masses. Cambridge Chaps and Harrow Heroes may fly into ecstasy over the British parliamentary system and the British judiciary, but the fundamental rights which French revolution enshrined never attracted them. Similarly, in India, masses are more at home with their joint family, village council and arbitration by Panch-Narayan.

Woe betakes us if, with forty four amendments in twenty seven years, we have not realized that the Indian masses reject the constitutions of their rulers. The constitution has been an excellent castle in the air, grand and formidable to look at, which needs repair twice each year to maintain it. It has its advantages: having no foundation in India, its fundamentals can be replaced with ease and the entire structure, form and fabric, renovated at will!


(Published: Youth and politics, October, 1976) 

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