Book Review : India’s Founding Moment: The Constitution of a Most Surprising Democracy, by Madhav Khosla, (Cambridge, Massachusetts and London, England: Harvard University Press, 2020), xiv + 240 pp., hardback, £36.95, ISBN: 9780674980877

Gauba, Kanika (2021) Book Review : India’s Founding Moment: The Constitution of a Most Surprising Democracy, by Madhav Khosla, (Cambridge, Massachusetts and London, England: Harvard University Press, 2020), xiv + 240 pp., hardback, £36.95, ISBN: 9780674980877. Public Law. pp. 219-222.

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Abstract

Seventy years after its adoption, the Indian Constitution appears increasingly irrelevant in adjudication and governance, even as the country plunges deeper into democratic crisis. Attempts to remind the state of the basis of its existence—for instance, through mass recitations of the preamble during protests against amendments to the citizenship law—appear to fall on deaf ears. Viewed in this context, a return to the promises of the founding moment may offer respite, if not rescue, from the cynicism of the present. After decades of historical neglect, recent scholarship on Indian constitutional history approximates this return to origins through diverse perspectives: the search for lost histories, asin Arvind Elangovan’s study of the constitutional advisor B.N. Rau (A. Elangovan, Norms and Politics: Sir Benegal Narsing Rau in the Making of the Indian Constitution, 1935–50, (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2019)) and Aakash Singh Rathore’s search for the author of the preamble (A. Singh Rathore, Ambedkar’s Preamble: A Secret History of the Constitution of India (New Delhi: Penguin Random House, 2020)), revisionist accounts of political events, such as Tripurdaman Singh’s, Sixteen Stormy Days: The Story of the First Amendment of the Constitution of India (New Delhi: Penguin Random House, 2020), and the recovery of subaltern agency, for instance in Rohit De’s A People’s Constitution: The Everyday Life of Law in the Indian Republic (Princeton, New Jersey: Princeton University Press, 2018). In India’s Founding Moment, Madhav Khosla asks: how did the founders of modern India institute democratic self-government in the absence of its preconditions?

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: Book Review, Constitution, Democracy, self-government
Divisions: Azim Premji University > School of Public Policy and Governance
Depositing User: Mr. Sachin Tirlapur
Date Deposited: 21 Apr 2021 06:58
Last Modified: 21 Apr 2021 07:12
URI: http://publications.azimpremjifoundation.org/id/eprint/2544
Publisher URL:

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