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Book Cover for: Liberty - The Indian Story, John Harriss

Liberty - The Indian Story

John Harriss

Few societies in the 19th and early 20th centuries remained untouched by the

radical new idea of liberty, which implied both individual freedom and freedom

from despotic rule. The leaders of India's anti-colonial struggle, in making

the concept their own, expanded its purview. But this definition of freedom,

understood as socio-economic justice, was found to be fundamentally at odds

with its narrower meaning during the debates in the Constituent Assembly.

As Professor John Harriss shows in this book, a fierce battle has thus played

out ever since the setting up of the Republic between what are referred to as

negative and positive freedoms, or, broadly, the guarantees of the Fundamental

Rights, and the goals of the Directive Principles of State Policy. The contest

has often been one between a judiciary adhering to the Constitution and a

Parliament pursuing what Nehru called 'real freedom' for the masses. Several

Constitutional amendments-the 1st of 1951, the 24th and 25th of 1971, the

42nd of 1976-ended up placing restrictions on individual freedoms as much

as they pushed the agenda of social reform. Much worse happened, however, in

the name of national security, like the 16th Amendment of 1963, which brought

about the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act four years later. With the curbing

of our individual liberties and leaden steps, at best, towards reform under

successive governments, the central constitutional aim of liberty is still a long

way off.

This monograph lucidly explains the difficult relationship between the

Constitution and the Parliament, a relationship that must be clearly understood

if we are ever to strike the right balance between the freedom of the individual

and 'real freedom', as dreamt of by those who founded the Indian republic.

Book Details

  • Publisher: Speaking Tiger Books
  • Publish Date: Mar 20th, 2024
  • Pages: 200
  • Language: English
  • Edition: undefined - undefined
  • Dimensions: 8.00in - 5.00in - 0.46in - 0.49lb
  • EAN: 9789354477379
  • Categories: ConstitutionsPublic Policy - Social PolicyCensorship