Today's Editorial

Today's Editorial - 27 January 2024

Reclaiming the Republic, and the Constitution

News Excerpts: On January 22, 1947, the Indian Constitution's "Objective Resolution" was unanimously adopted by the Constituent Committee, serving as the powerful Preamble to the Indian Constitution. As India enters its 75th year, a massive state-sponsored event has raised concerns about undermining the commitment to a secular nation and the fundamental structure of the constitution. There is an urgency now — Indians have a collective duty to reassert the values and central role the Constitution has played in determining the dreams and the vision of a united and plural India.

More About News: 

  • The author here wants to discuss the challenges India faces as it celebrates the 75th anniversary of its Republic. 
  • According to the author there is a tension between the constitutional values of a secular, diverse, and inclusive society and the emergence of a political agenda that leans towards a more homogenized and religiously driven vision, often referred to as 'Hindu Rashtra.' 
  • The writer emphasizes the need to reaffirm the commitment to a Constitutional republic, celebrating the wisdom embedded in the Constitution that respects and protects the rights and dignity of all citizens, especially those from marginalized groups. 
  • The author underscores the pivotal role of tolerance and inclusivity in overcoming challenges posed by religious bigotry and insecurities, and the importance of upholding these principles to ensure India's unique position in the global community. 
  • Ultimately, it calls for a collective responsibility to safeguard the constitutional values that have defined India's identity and vision for a united and pluralistic nation.

Key Arguments by the Author: 

  • Centralization of Identity:  
    • The political parties are not only trying to make the state 'theocratic' but is also turning religion  into a political tool. 
    • This represents an unprecedented attempt to impose a unidimensional culture in a nation known for its diverse practices. 
    • Indians face a choice between accepting a politically imposed ideology or preserving cultural diversity, tolerance, and rejecting animosity towards the 'other.'
    • The push is for a uniform nation, market, color, language, election, and an official religion, centralizing efforts within the majority religion and subordinating other faiths.
  • Erosion of Freedom and Diversity: 
    • Freedom of faith and worship is seen as intrinsic to humanity, both individually and collectively.
    • India has been a stage for diverse faith expressions, showcasing a rich cultural tapestry. Being Indian used to mean embracing complexity and representing differences. 
    • The anticipation about the nuances of language, food, clothing, and cultural choices created a vibrant and colorful tapestry. 
    • However, there seems to be a rush to conform to a less diverse model, possibly driven by the allure of power and control that centralization and identity politics provide.
  • Constitution's Vision of Embracing Diversity: 
    • Post-Independence and Partition, Indians grew up with the freedom of multiple choices, including the option to opt-out of their born identities. 
    • It was about the freedom to choose, liberating individuals from narrow stereotypes, including religious, caste, and racial identities. 
    • This liberation allowed people to step out of two-dimensional definitions, realizing their potential, and expressing freedom in various ways, from food choices to clothing and thought. 
    • In cosmopolitan Indian spaces, celebrating festivals like Dusshera meant embracing multiple interpretations, from Durga pandals to Tamil Navaratri and North Indian Ram Lila. 
    • This diversity was appreciated, contrasting with the limitations faced by those confined to a single identity and language zone.
  • Constitution as a Guiding Light: 
    • The Constitution of India, crafted 75 years ago, consciously acknowledged and accommodated diversities and differences not only in politics but also in culture and daily life. 
    • The notion of progress in India has been built on the cherished principles of tolerance and solidarity, navigating through challenges and competing interests. 
    • The Constitution, with its sophisticated perspective, recognized that tolerating, if not welcoming, differences was essential to create a nation beyond a mere collection of kingdoms or a "former colony."
  • Wisdom of the Founding Fathers: 
    • The founding fathers of India aspired to transcend caste, language, and religious divides, championing cultural diversity and combating arrogance. 
    • B.R. Ambedkar, recognizing the challenge of achieving social equality, played a vital role in shaping the Constitution. 
    • The constitution is now crucial to India's future, emphasizing democratic and ethical values in its Preamble. Ambedkar's warning cautions against prioritizing creed over country, as it may jeopardize independence. 
    • S. Radhakrishnan expressed concern about domestic despotism and intolerance, cautioning against the consequences of majoritarian assertion and the pitfalls of unchecked power. 

B.R. Ambedkar's warning resonates with uncanny wisdom: "Will Indians prioritize the country over their creed, or will they place the creed above the country? I do not know. But it is certain that if parties prioritize creed over country, our independence may be jeopardized again, possibly lost forever. We must resolutely guard against this eventuality." 

S. Radhakrishnan, the second President of India, expressed wariness about the consequences of majoritarian assertion: "Our national faults of character, domestic despotism, and intolerance, taking the forms of obscurantism, narrow-mindedness, and superstitious bigotry... Our opportunities are vast, but when power surpasses ability, we may encounter evil days."

  • Hindutva vs. Constitutional Values: 
    • The state-led Ayodhya temple consecration causing political shockwaves and the 75th Republic anniversary approaching, critical decisions confront India. 
    • It's crucial to reaffirm the commitment to a Constitutional republic now, shaping the empowerment or hindrance of future generations in India.
  • Constitutional republic a collective responsibility: 
    • The Indian Constitution has been designed to extend our rights and shared values beyond the typical five-year electoral cycles and the changing governments that come into power with electoral mandates. 
    • The Constitution aimed to establish a social democracy that safeguards the perspectives and dignity of all citizens, especially those from marginalized groups or communities, at all times. 
    • As we step into the 75th year of the Republic, there is an urgent collective responsibility to reaffirm the values and the pivotal role the Constitution has played in shaping the aspirations and vision of a united and diverse India.


The Constituent Assembly displayed wisdom and foresight, understanding that the survival of this subcontinent, called India, hinges on equal respect for all its citizens. The commitment to tolerance embedded in its principles and the grace inherent in its practice allow us to surmount challenges posed by bigoted religious expressions and insecurities. This commitment enables us to embrace religious differences and appreciate the vast and intricate history, architecture, and culture that make India stand out globally. Upholding these principles will also help India maintain its standing in the world as a true 'Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam,' rather than being relegated to a mere particle in a rapidly contracting global economy and culture.

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