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India’s Constitution not only ensures democracy but also teaches what democracy is, says this book

Madhav Khosla’s recent book, India’s Founding Moment: The Constitution of a Most Surprising Democracy, examines the commitment and the vision behind the making of the Constitution of the world’s largest democracy. India’s revolution was big because the problem it had to solve was big. However, as Khosla writes, quoting Jawaharlal Nehru, “Indians were yet to grasp the import of their revolution.”

Opting for a democracy was a risk, according to the “warnings” from political theorists and constitutional experts in the West, who considered Indians were considered unfit for democracy by the West. They belonged to a subject race, and had to be subjected, as Edward Said would note in his Orientalism while exploring the Western notions of the East.…

Nehru was validating Immanuel Kant in some senses: “Freedom is the precondition for acquiring the maturity for freedom, not a gift to be granted when such freedom is achieved.” India’s founders saw democratisation as a form of education, argues Khosla in his book, a way to responsible politics.…

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India’s Founding Moment: The Constitution of a Most Surprising Democracy

Author: Madhav Khosla

Reviewed By Aurif Muzafar

Published by Harvard University Press, 240 pp., $45, February 2020

Harvard University Press, 79 Garden Street, Cambridge, MA 02138, USA; Telephone: (617) 495-2600, Fax: (617) 495-5898

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