20 September, 2020

The Bounds Of Citizenship

A hint at the need for a different paradigm to the debate, but no exit routes yet

The Bounds Of Citizenship
This collection of political essays by eminent academics is edited by a historian who was himself a target of fanatics some years ago. Its contents provide much food for thought in the attempt to answer the question.

Martha Nussbaum’s essay argues against a special status to any single religious establishment in a constitutional order. She draws parallels between intolerance in colonial America and tendencies in contemporary India. Whilst recognising the protections which India’s Constitution bestows on minorities, she draws attention to the vulnerability of fundamental rights and the Constitution to executive encroachment; the exemption of personal laws from the scrutiny of fundamental rights; and the undemocratic structure within religious communities. On the civil code, she suggests a consistent protection of fundamental rights across a range of personal laws as a way out.

Neera Chandhoke argues forcefully that the defence of secularism be refocused around the constitutional order; that secularism be located within the principle of democratic equality, she cites...



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