‘Fraternity is a contentious word now’

Harsh Mander. File

Harsh Mander. File  

Activists participate in symposium on ‘Ethics of Democracy and Democracy of Ethics’

The 33rd annual symposium on ‘Ethics of Democracy and Democracy of Ethics’, hosted by the Hansakshar Trust on Tuesday, saw several activists, academicians and senior advocates come together to discuss the current state of democracy in the country.

Highlighting the idea of “fraternity” and brotherhood mentioned in the Constitution, human rights activist Harsh Mander said, “The Constitution in its original form was a dream where it would not matter the religion or the gender you belong to. Today, we have drifted away from the initial promise. The word fraternity or brotherhood is a contentious term now. Rising instances of lynching make us wonder where this hatred and anger is coming from. There seems to be no sympathy left in society.”

‘Identity politics’

On the other hand, academician and Ashoka University Vice-Chancellor Pratap Bhanu Mehta said the idea of brotherhood is difficult to achieve in a country where identity politics is strong.

He stressed on the importance of deliberative democracy.

‘Religious conflict’

Stating that caste politics was a threat to democracy, political theorist Kancha Ilaiah said, “We are living in a time where democracy is battling to survive. Religious conflict in the country is trying to lead to a conflict between communities, which will further lead to a collapse of democracy if we do not guard it. Caste conflicts have reached a stage where Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Congress president Rahul Gandhi are trying to establish the castes they belong to despite saying that they do not believe in caste politics.”

Sociologist Krishna Kumar emphasised the need to revive the discussion on importance of languages in the country in a bid to revive democracy.

Senior advocate Indira Jaising raised concerns about the current state of the judiciary and the importance of interpreting the Constitution with the changing times.

“The meaning of morality cannot be frozen. Rather, interpretations of the Constitution have to be made contemporary. Have we eroded the independence of the judiciary by offering judges post-retirement benefits? The judges in the country are the guardians of the Constitution and that is why it matters to us as to who becomes a judge. One of the biggest dangers the country is facing is the appointment of convenient judges or judges who share the ideology of the ruling party across the board,” she said.

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Printable version | Jun 2, 2020 4:33:08 PM |

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