Imagining the politics of fraternity

Source: This post is created based on the article “Imagining the politics of fraternity”, published in The Hindu on 9th January, 2023.

Syllabus Topic: GS Paper 2, Indian Polity,

Context: The principle of fraternity is one of the most important principles for keeping the nation together. India must strive hard to uphold this principle.

The Bharat Jodo Yatra led by an opposition party is ongoing. The achievements of the yatra are debatable, however it reminds of the principle of fraternity or Bandhutva Fraternity, which is not merely a value to aspire to, but a foundational principle that should be upheld by all the political forces.

What is the principle of fraternity?

Traditionally there were two ideas of fraternity. However, Indian view was developed during freedom struggle.

Judeo-Christian world view: It seeks to achieve the brotherhood among all men, which is based on the belief that all men are children of God.

Secular idea: It was born out of French revolution. It is a sense of solidarity and brotherhood among those who were opposed to the tyrannical monarchical order.

Indian Context of fraternity:

Dr. B. R. Ambedkar was the strongest proponent of the idea of fraternity, which was developed during the process of anti-colonial struggle and nation-building. As per him, the absence of fraternity, owing to caste consciousness within Hindu society, was the primary reason for the colonisation of India and the chief hurdle in nation-building.

For Ambedkar, fraternity was the fundamental enabling condition for the realisation of liberty and equality, which could hold India together, instead of laws alone.

Significance of the principle of fraternity

First, it was included in the Preamble as well as in the fundamental duties of our Constitution.

Second, globally extreme social and economic polarisation is promoting xenophobia and racial tensions.

Third, in India too, politically backed incidents of violence are rising. On the economic front, the top 1% have cornered more than 40% of the wealth in 2021; while the poor and middle classes struggle with inflation.


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