ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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The Constitution as Instrument of Social Change

Our Constitution, Government and Politics by M V Pylee; Universal Law Publishing Company, Delhi, 2000; pp ix + 198, Rs 185.

This is a book written on the Constitution not by a lawyer but by an eminent political scientist who treats the Constitution not merely as a law but as an organic instrument of governance and social change. In the words of Granville Austin, it is a social document. He deals with various basic principles and comments on them with insights into their historical roots.

While acknowledging the significant contributions of persons like Ambedkar and Nehru to the making of the Constitution, (though he has not adequately acknowledged the labours of B N Rau who made the first draft), the author laments that “the present day leadership does not seem to inspire the people and create in them the enthusiasm and urge for producing better and better results” (p 3). Although he concedes that five decades is not a long enough period for passing judgment on its performance, he observes that “most of the objectives set before the nation are yet to be realised. But the fact that India is considered as one of the most corrupt countries of the world is not the fault of the Constitution. One of the great achievements of India is that she remained fastened to democracy and constitutionalism for five decades. This might sound rather over-optimistic if one compares India with more mature and advanced democracies but is realistic enough if one compares India with all those countries of Asia and Africa which gained their freedom after the second world war. How far has the Constitution contributed to the stability of democracy? Is democracy stable? Do we have democracy at all? These questions do trouble not only the sceptics but even the optimists.

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