Advertisement
Tuesday, Nov 30, 2021
Outlook.com
Book Review

The Nation’s Armature

In this whodunit, each concept of the preamble is dissected in the light of Ambedkar’s radical thought and critiques. A coruscating book, but it could have benefited with dialogue with other scholarship.

The Nation’s Armature
The Nation’s Armature
outlookindia.com
2020-08-28T19:02:56+05:30

As the Indian constitution turned 70 on January 26, 2020, hundreds of thousands of ordinary citizens gathered in streets across the country protesting the new citizenship law, through collective recitations of the preamble to the constitution. Since its promuglation, social and political movements had made claims using particular provisions of the constitution; artists and writers around the freedom of speech, political parties challenging preventive detention, people’s movements around the right to food or education, regional movements for local autonomy; what set this moment apart was the unprecedented engagement with the preamble itself.

Aakash Singh Rathore’s book is prescient in its hope that it will “spark a renewed passion for the preamble”. Ambedkar’s Preamble is a cross between a scintillating detective thriller, a necessary companion to Amebdkar’s life and thought and a sharply focused glimpse into the intellectual foundations of the Indian republic. The first half of the book is a whodunit. Rathore asks who wrote the preamble to the Indian constitution and assembles a cast of likely suspects: Jawaharlal Nehru through his objectives resolution; B.N. Rau, the learned advisor to the constituent assembly; the collective efforts of the seven-member drafting committee and the sole authorship of Ambedkar himself. Through a forensic comparison of drafts, skilful reconstruction of committee meetings and drawing on the conceptual history of the vocabulary of the preamble, Rathore makes a persuasive case for Ambedkar’s authorship.

Advertisement

Outlook Newsletters

Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement

Read More from Outlook

How Parag Agrawal Obsessively Focused On Controlling Hate Speech As Twitter CTO

How Parag Agrawal Obsessively Focused On Controlling Hate Speech As Twitter CTO

After taking over as CTO of Twitter, Parag Agrawal’s main focus was on using AI and ML to identify hate speech and bots that were used to spread misinformation through the microblogging site.

'Omicron Virus' Or 'South Africa Variant'? Here's What Not To Call New Covid-19 Strain

'Omicron Virus' Or 'South Africa Variant'? Here's What Not To Call New Covid-19 Strain

The Omicron variant of Covid-19 has led to several discussions on WHO's method of naming virus variants on Greek alphabets. But terms like 'South Africa virus' have remained in use.

IPL 2022 Retention: Who Stays And Who Goes - Complete Team Lists

IPL 2022 Retention: Who Stays And Who Goes - Complete Team Lists

IPL Retention list was replete with full of expected names but there were some big omissions too. The mega auction will have a massive pool of stars that teams can now choose from.

Kashmir: Why Is BJP Predicting Doomsday For J&K 2 Years After Article 370 Abrogation

Kashmir: Why Is BJP Predicting Doomsday For J&K 2 Years After Article 370 Abrogation

The statement, issued by senior BJP leader of J&K Ashwani Kumar Chrungoo, raises concern for minorities living in Kashmir Valley.

Advertisement