Letters

Oxford honours Constitution

 

It is an uplifting feeling that the Oxford University Press has chosen ’Samvidhan’ (Constitution) as the Hindi word of 2019. Azadi or freedom may well have ended up as the runner-up. The Indian Constitution is among the world’s best Constitutions. It is not just a written text; it is an imagination and a dream. The notions of justice and freedom form the cornerstones of the Constitution and give it is majesty.

It embodies India’s collective genius and manifests it and bears witness to it. It not only puts humanity above everything else but also breaks the ‘narrow domestic walls’, to borrow a phrase from Rabindranath Tagore’s Gitanjali. It is a tribute to B.R.Ambedkar and other founding fathers of the Republic. In linguistic grandeur it reads like the Authorised Version of the Bible.

Nowadays the Preamble to the Constitution is recited at the Anti-CAA sits-ins and rallies. It has become an inseparable part of the ongoing people’s movement to regain ‘space’ for all. ‘All’ means ‘all’ not just privileged and elite classes. The Constitution makes it unambiguously and abundantly clear that the ‘human flotsam and jetsam’ are not expendable. It is inspiring to listen to the Preamble being recited soulfully at the protests.

It is the best possible document for a country disparate in races and religions. Predicated on human equality, the Constitution has the needed strength to guarantee and ensure human dignity to all in our caste-ridden society. The spirit of the Constitution imbibed by the people is the inoculation against the misuse of powers by the government of the day whatever its political or ideological hue.

“We, the People” — two key words written in the Preamble — clearly establish and express the sovereignty of the people. People are no ‘subjects’ for political parties or governments to treat them as they wish. They cannot be dominated or dictated to on how they should live. They cannot be deprived of their constitutionally guaranteed freedoms and rights.

The Parliament, simply because the party in power has majority, cannot enact laws which are antithetical to the tenets of the Constitution. The CAA, the NRC and the NPR are inconsistent with the Constitution. The Hindutva ideology does not sit comfortably with the Constitution. It is not enough to say that the Constitution is the ‘holy Book’. The Modi government should rescind the discriminatory and unconstitutional CAA if it has a semblance of respect for the Constitution.

G. David Milton

Maruthancode, Tamil Nadu

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Printable version | Feb 21, 2020 1:04:18 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/opinion/letters/oxford-honours-constitution/article30778524.ece

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