The challenge of reviving a sense of fraternity

Source- The post is based on the article “The challenge of reviving a sense of fraternity” published in “The Hindu” on 27th April 2023.

Syllabus: GS2- Polity

Relevance– Ideals and principles contained in constitution

News– The article explains the importance of the principle of fraternity for Indian democracy.

How did the ideas of the constitution take shape before independence?

The Constitution of India was drafted by the Constituent Assembly. The idea was initially proposed in December 1934 by M.N. Roy.

It became an official demand of the Indian National Congress in 1935 and was officially adopted in the Lucknow session in April 1936 presided by Jawaharlal Nehru.

What are Ambedkar ideas about fraternity?

Fraternity means a sense of common brotherhood of all Indians. It is the principle which gives unity and solidarity to social life. It is a difficult thing to achieve.

Without fraternity, equality and liberty will not be very useful. Fraternity has been most forgotten in our Constitution and in our electoral process.

The idea of fraternity is closely linked to that of social solidarity, which is impossible to accomplish without public empathy.

What are the duties in the Indian constitution that emanates from the principle of fraternity?

The text of the Constitution explains the implication of other principles and the duties arising from them. But it is not the case with fraternity.

Article 51A evaded it except by Article 51A(e). This article refers to the duty of every citizen to promote harmony and the spirit of common brotherhood amongst all the people of India.

As per Sir Ernest Barker, a distinction has to be made between the psychological fact of common emotion and the political principle of fraternity.

Fraternity is a dubious word. It may be used to denote both emotion and principle. But it is perhaps generally used to denote emotion rather than principle.

What are Ambedkar’s ideas about working for democracy in India?

Democracy is prone to change form and purpose. Its purpose in our times is the welfare of the people. It is a method of government by discussion. It brings revolutionary changes to the economic and social life of people without bloodshed.

Following are some of the requirements to maintain it:

  • There must not be inequalities in society.
  • There must be equality of law as well as equal protection of law, and observance of constitutional morality.
  • There must be no tyranny of the majority over the minority.
  • A functioning moral order in society and a public conscience are essential.

What is the real situation of democracy in India?

The ground reality is different. Inequalities continue to persist and so do those emanating from the caste system.

The democratic opposition has progressively declined in substance. Equality in law does not necessarily mean equal protection of the law. There is little regard for constitutional morality.

What is the way forward for the success of democracy in India?

India has immense diversity. There is also an unfortunate legacy of violence at birth that persists and takes different forms. There is a need for constitutional principles in individual and collective terms.

A sense of fraternity is needed as an essential virtue. This cannot be merely in formal terms. It has to be imbibed individually and collectively. It has to be described as moral and spiritual content.

There is a need to invest in our democracy with this moral content at the individual and collective levels. It has to take the shape of an imperative.

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