book presentation

Linguistic Reorganization of states
Ideas of India
RSS and Riots
The logic of partition
Indira Gandhi - Emergency
Linguistic reorganization of states
Nehru in 1937 wrote: Our great provincial languages are not
dialects or vernaculars as the ignorant sometimes calls them.
They are a rich inheritance, each spoken by many million
persons each tied up inextricably with the life and culture and
ideas of the masses as well as of the upper classes....
But by 1947 he was having second thoughts. The country had
been divided on the basis of religion; would not dividing it
further on the basis of lg merel
The first and last need of India in the present moment is that it should be
made a nation... Everything which helps the growth of nationalism has to
go forward and everything which throws obstacles in its way has to be
rejected... judged by this test, in our opinion [linguistic provinces]
cannot be supported." - paras 146-147 of Report, 1948 183
Many MPs were dismayed at this report. Second committee formed with
Nehru, PatePatel: set up the Linguistic Provinces Commission:
l and Pattabhi Sitaramayya (JVP committee, after their initials). Also
reported similarly: "Language is not only a binding force but also a
separating one.... Every separatist and disruptive tendency should be
rigorously discouraged."
Ideas of india
The Constituent Assembly had more than 300 members. In his
magisterial history of the Indian Constitution, Granville Austin
identifies twenty as being the most influential. Of these, as many as
twelve had law degrees, including the Congress stalwarts Jawaharlal
Nehru, Vallabhbhai Patel and Rajendra Prasad.
Outside this Congress trinity the most crucial member of the Assembly
was the brilliant low-caste lawyer B. R. Ambedkar. Ambedkar was law
minister in the Union government; and also chairman of the Drafting
Committee of the Indian Constitution. Serving with him were two
other formidable minds: K. M. Munshi, a Gujarati polymath who was a
novelist and lawyer as well as freedom fighter,
and Alladi Krishnaswami Aiyar, a Tamil who for fifteen years had served
as advocate general to the Madras presidency.
Golwalkar was strongly opposed to the idea of a secular state that
would not discriminate on the basis of religion.
His conceptions were:
The non-hindu people of hindustan must either adopt hindu culture
and language, must learn and respect and hold in reverence the hindu
religion, must entertain no idea but of those of glorification of the
hindu race and culture... in a word they must cease to be foreigners,
or may stay in the country, wholly subordinated to the hindu nation,
claiming nothing, deserving no privileges, far less any preferential
treatment -- not even citizens’ rights. [ "We, or our nation defined",
1947, p.55-6; quoted p.19]
The logic of division
It was India’s historic destiny that many human races and cultures should
flow to her, finding a home in her hospitable soil, and that many a
caravan should find rest here . . . Eleven hundred years of common
history [of Islam and Hinduism] have enriched India with our common
achievements. Our languages, our poetry, our literature, our culture, our
art, our dress, our manners and customs, the innumerable happenings of
our daily life, everything bears the stamp of
our joint endeavour . . . These thousand years of our joint life have moulded
us into a common nationality . . . Whether we like it or not, we have now
become an Indian nation, united and indivisible. No fantasy or artificial
scheming to separate and divide can break this unity.
The problem in India is not of an intercommunal but manifestly of an
international character, and must be treated as such . . . It is a dream that
Hindus and Muslims can evolve a common nationality, and this misconception
of one Indian nation has gone far beyond the limits, and is the cause of most
of our troubles, and will lead India to destruction, if we fail to revise our
actionsin time
The Hindus and Muslims belong to two different religious philosophies, social
customs, and literature. They neither intermarry, nor interdine together, and
indeed they belong to two different civilizations which are based mainly on
conflicting ideas and conceptions. Their aspects on and of life are different.
Muslim League Presidential Address, 1940
• The reasons for division were mainly:
• the Congress leadership for underestimating
Jinnah and the muslims
• Jinnah for pursuing his goal of a separate
country regardless of human consequences
• the British responsible, claiming that they
promoted a divide between Hindus and
Muslims to perpetuate their rule
Indira Gandhi-Emergency
Indira: Democracy 'not only throws up the mediocre person but gives
strength to the most vocal howsoever they may lack knowledge or
understanding'. (letter) 499
The congress has become moribund. Sometimes I feel that even the
parliamentary system has become moribund. ... the 'inertia of our civil
service is incredible... we have a system of dead wood replacing dead
wood.... Sometimes I wish we had had a real revolution - like France or
Russia - at the time of independence. (to journalist)
with opposition MPs
locked away, the 38th amendment (22 Jul 75) barred judicial review of the emergency.
The 39th amendment, introduced two weeks later, stated that the
election of the PM could not be challenged by the Supreme Court, but only
by a body constituted by Parliament. This came just before the Court was
to try her election review petition, and the Court held there was now "no
Case to try".
Supreme Court it held that detentions without trial were legal under the new
Of the five-member bench only one dissented: this was Justice H. R. Khanna, who
pointed out that
‘detention without trial is an anathema to all those who love personal liberty’.
It was suggested that the judgement was influenced by
extralegal considerations – by the hope of three of the
judges that they might one day become chief justice, by the
fear inspired by the punitive transfers of officials that had
commenced with the emergency.
In a despairing editorial entitledFading Hopes in India’, the
New York Times remarked that ‘the submission of an
independent judiciary to an absolutist government is
virtually the last step in the destruction of a democratic
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