The curious absence of Gandhi from the Indian constitution: The history we don't remember

Tiwari, Yashowardhan (2021) The curious absence of Gandhi from the Indian constitution: The history we don't remember. In: Recent trends in legal history. Gujarat National Law University, Gujrat, pp. 1-16. ISBN 9789384936136

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Gandhi, the father of our nation, lovingly called our Bapu, was a man of extreme caliber and vibrant skills. A highly pragmatic person who displayed an extraordinary excellence in a multitude of arenas of life, ranging from the personal to the political, he had a unique touch of originality in his thought and action. As India and the world celebrates his 150h birth anniversary, one feels compelled to question as to why Gandhi did not leave a lasting impression on the constitution of the nation that he led to the attainment of swaraj. In this paper, the author argues that Gandhi, who was both a practicing barrister and an excellent constitutional draftsman, did have his own vision of how an Indian Constitution should look like, with the village panchayats constituting the core of this vision. Gandhian experiments in constitutionalism were largely able to weave out a successful model, with the Aundh Constitution of 1939 being its living example. These experiments reflected the possibility of producing a wholly indigenous constitution for free India. This paper also argues that after a perusal of the Constituent Assembly Debates, in the ultimate analysis, one concludes that Gandhi was reduced to a footnote, his ideas being afforded some space in the Directive Principles of State Policy. The paper finally argues that Gandhi's was a quest for decolonization of the Indian mind, in which he could not succeed, perhaps inevitably so. This culminated in the production of a "modern" "post-colonial constitution, filled with traces of the colonial narrative, and surrounded by a deafening silence of the indigenous political narratives around it. Gandhi's failure reflected the failure of the discourse of the freedom movement, which demanded abandoning the imperial narratives of "justice as liberty and equity", and advocated a radical shift towards a yearning for "transcendental freedom".

Item Type: Book Section
Keywords: Legal history | Mahatma Gandhi | Indian constitution | Transcendental freedom
Subjects: Social Sciences and humanities > Arts and Humanities > History
Social Sciences and humanities > Social Sciences > Law and Legal Studies
JGU School/Centre: Jindal Global Law School
Depositing User: Mr. Syed Anas
Date Deposited: 13 Feb 2022 10:33
Last Modified: 13 Feb 2022 10:33


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