One thing common between India and the US—and not that many countries have that rare kind of commonality—is that there is an idealism infused in the creation of the nation
state. I am amazed at what our constitution-makers have accomplished. The Americans talked about life, liberty and all sorts of happiness when they set up their constitution and we talk about equality, liberty. In some sense, that idealism is really what acts as a check-and-balance against its abuse. That’s the greatness of what has been created.
India’s challenges are not constitutionally induced in that sense. To me, more than the Constitution, the choice of representational democracy, the choice of one person, one vote, are much bigger, more profound things. To give everybody a right to vote is a remarkably bold move in retrospect, because if you look at the history of voting privileges in western societies, it didn’t happen in one day. Here, we tried a big bang approach.