Does India Need A New Constitution?
This year marks the 73rd year of the adoption of the present constitution by the Indian state. When we look at the neighbouring countries around us and observe their journey after independence, it seems like a miracle that how can a country as complex as ours is still holding on to its constitutional principles when other countries that begin with a seemingly better starting position tumbled.
There is no doubt that our constitution has proved its mettle throughout the last century, but on the flip side, it doesn’t mean that it is perfect. Looking at the things which happened in the last 21 years of this century, one thing we can say about the future is that it is going to be fast and flashy, like transitions in Indian Soap Operas. A few things which we can point out as a challenge in future for not only India but also for the rest of the world are immigrations, national border issues, religion vs science, changing definition of morals, assimilation of AI in society, unemployment, depleting natural resources, rejection of heterogeneous societies, extremism of various kinds, and so on. Most of us must have already experienced the sign of some or all of these in some form.
Every person got some kind of theory in which they blame every problem of society on one fundamental issue. For instance, capitalists blame everything on communists, communists blame everything on capitalists, USA blames everything on China, China blames everything on USA, intellectuals blame everything on ignorance, atheists blame everything on religions, and so on. I also got one. I blame most of the things on the absurdity of the western philosophical cornerstones, and as colonization exported these faulty philosophies all over the world, I can safely say that most of the problem the world is facing today is due to these incomplete philosophies.
What are these faultlines and how does it lead to the problems we are facing today? I will explain them in a different article.
Back to our constitution; as the primary outline of our constitution came from constitutions of other countries such as the UK, USA, Soviet Union, France, etc, whose constitutions, in turn, were based on the same incomplete philosophies; our constitution also imported all those philosophies which in large part were not compatible with the civilizational soul of India. Just for example, I would like to point out the Shah Bano case, where the right of the subjects as a human clash with the right of the subjects to practice their religion.
Foundations Of Indian Philosophies
It’s not a secret that everyone starts their life with an inbuilt fear of death. It’s an instinct that humans share with other living things. Every sentient being want to survive. In other words, if you start distributing a pill that pulls out the fear of death, it will be very hard to find someone who doesn’t want that. It doesn’t matter if someone is a Hindu or Muslim, rich or poor, black or white, man or woman, theist or atheist; everyone wants to rise above their fear of death. This is the first foundation of Indian philosophies.
It is also very hard to find a person who prefers lies over truth. Nobody is fond of getting backstabbed, living in delusion, or taking a wrong decision because all these things put people into a vicious cycle of unbearable psychological pain. So again, if you start distributing a pill that enables people to filter out lies, will people going to take it or not? And again, it doesn’t matter where that person is coming from, or what is their background, everyone prefers truth over lies any day and this is the second foundation of Indian philosophies.
Lastly, ask anyone if they prefer peace and joy or pain and depression. The answer is going to be obvious, and of course here too, religion doesn’t matter, caste doesn’t matter, colour doesn’t matter, salary doesn’t matter, age doesn’t matter. Everyone wants to be happy rather than sad. Everyone wants to be at peace rather than depressed. This is the third and last foundation of Indian philosophies.
These three cornerstones together constitute the foundation of Indian philosophies and the sum total of Indian philosophies can be put into one line as follows:
The objective of the life of every sentient being is moksha/kaivalya/salvation/liberation/nirvana.
It doesn’t matter what name someone wants to give it, this is something with which everyone can identify. It doesn’t matter what category a person belongs to, nobody wants to reject these things, and one who achieves these three things doesn't need anything else.
The Role Of The Constitution
We talked about what should be the goal of the life of a person. Now, what should be the role of the constitution in achieving this goal?
Laws and Constitution are the things that give direction to society. Most people are not interested in understanding philosophy or questioning too much, they are just living their lives with basic instincts. But whether they realise it or not, they also want the same things: they want to be free from fear of death, they don’t want lies, and they don’t want pain. And it should be the job of the constitution to show people the path towards these things. After all, what good is a constitution which takes people away from these things i.e. what good is a constitution which generates fear of death, keeps people away from the truth, and make people suffer? It just goes against basic human needs.
Why It Has To Start With India?
Two reasons: India is the only country that can implement it and India is the country that needs it the most.
The concept of a country/nation-state, by its design, pushes its citizens towards homogeneity which means slowly eating away the plurality of the nation. One of the biggest drawbacks of Western philosophies is its aversion to heterogeneity. On the other hand, India has an organically developed plurality that evolved over the centuries. In short, there is an implicit tussle going on in the country between its modern body and its civilizational soul.
Let me give an example. Many people in India admire or even get jealous of China’s economic growth in the last four decades. One of the primary anxieties of a well-to-do family in India is the relatively slow growth of the country. Of course, most people don’t care what China did in the 60’s and 70’s, they just want to see better numbers. People don’t understand that to imitate China, India has to kill its civilizational soul and probably half of its population.
That is why India is the first country that needs a constitution based on Indian Philosophy and India should implement it because this is what it is compatible with.
India needs to reconcile its modern and civilizational aspects into one, not because it sounds cool but because it is the only way forward and the starting point to do it is the Constitution.
The world is changing at an unprecedented rate and India is going to be a major player if it is not already. On the other hand, the west is going to be run out of depth in the face of the upcoming problems. I firmly believe that in those times, India can show the world how to cope with those problems but India can’t do it in its present state. Before solving the problems of the world, India has to solve itself.
One last thing is that because I used the word like moksha in the article, some people will probably think that this article is about establishing Hindu supremacy or something like that. I have carefully explained above that the foundational cornerstones of Indian philosophy are for the wellbeing of every person in the country and the world. Even then if someone believes that there is some hidden agenda, your arguments are welcome.