Category Archives: Education

Education is the process of facilitating learning, or the acquisition of knowledge, skills, values, beliefs, and habits. Educational methods include teaching, training, storytelling, discussion and directed research

The Best Gift

I’m sleeping peacefully. My sister pinched me and covered my eyes. I was still drowsy and the warmth of her cupped hands invigorated my flickering eyes. She guided me to the pooja room and took off her hands as I saw the magnificent idol of Lord Krishna festooned by the freshest of all laburnums and a long garland made of state of the art marigolds from which water was still dripping over the yellow mask kept below. Oh? Wait.. what? A mask? I turned back and saw her scintillating face and before I could ask something, she held my hands and dragged me to my grandfather who was sitting in his wooden armchair, distributing kaineetam to my fellow cousins. I was tossing and turning to find how much I’d get and I’ve already kept my piggy bank out of the heavily stuffed cupboard yesterday night itself. It was my turn. He asked me to close my eyes. From his stockpile, he took something and held it tightly between my fingers. My fingers couldn’t trace its whereabouts. It was something obscure. I opened my eyes and saw a sanitiser along with a yellow mask in my hands. I was transfixed in stupefaction for a while. Soon, my sister held my arms as if she wanted to take me somewhere. Everything disappeared with a glitch. Now, I could see my brother beside me in my bed with a pillow over his stomach. What? Was it a dream? How sweet it was… a new gift: a mask and a sanitiser; quite exotic and out of the blue no? Indeed, the best of all gifts one could get in this corona season. However, this dream pinpoints a very familiar reality: now, the mask and sanitiser is indeed part of our day to day life and is as common to our lifestyle as a toothbrush and paste.


Oh… yes. Toothbrush and paste. I haven’t brushed yet. Kissing my sleeping brother on his forehead, I went towards the wash-basin. While I was engrossed in brushing, contemplating on the dream, I heard my father talking on the phone, “sure. I’ll come. It’s at 12 no?”. I could very well extrapolate from his conversation that he was talking about going out. I was delighted as it has been over a month since I’ve stepped out from the four walls of my house. It seems to be nothing less than an open prison. I was craving to breathe the open air outside. Intending to coax him to take me with him; I asked, “acha.. where you going at 12? He answered while he turned on the TV, “It’s Mr S’s daughter’s birthday today” (he’s our neighbour). Taking a long breath, he continued, “his daughter would turn a year old today. He was planning to throw a grand party and now..” He choked. I didn’t allow him to complete and I interceded, “so there’s no party?” I was in melancholy of losing a grand feast. He replied, “yes, there is. But, on a small scale at his own house. He has invited only around ten from the neighbourhood and there are no many celebrations”. I presumed that it was not appropriate for me to accompany him and I turned back to shave. 

It’s 11.50 now. My father dressed up in his brand new embroidered brown shirt and stepped out to wear his shoes. My mother was standing at the door and I was watching TV in the hall. He asked my mother, “but..but.. what’ll I buy her? I can’t go empty-handed no?” thinking for a while, she answered, “you can’t buy any sort of gift from closed fancy stores. Better but some oranges and go”. While he was about to nod in consent, I called aloud, “acha.. buy her a sanitiser”

INEQUITY UNMASKED

The Indian education system is based on elitism, with educational accessibility serving as a major dividing line between various socioeconomic groups of a culture. The hierarchical organization of society based on caste or ‘varna’ – the caste system (‘varna vyavastha’) ascribed a rank to the person that marked virtually every aspect of Hindu social life – was one way in which this inequality manifested itself in ancient society. The caste status of a person dictated their privileges (or lack thereof). Many social, religious, and economic advantages were conferred on the upper-caste ‘brahmins,’ including education, while the lower castes were denied entry. The government of the post-colonial Indian state attempted to resolve and abolish such disparities by enacting the Right to Education Act, which required all children under the age of 14 to attend school, as well as the Reservation Policy. In today’s coronavirus-shaped world, inequality is once again exposed: access to the internet and mobile devices, rather than one’s social status, has become the deciding factor.

The repercussions for the general population were immediate and serious when the Indian government declared a full lockdown on the 24th of March 2020 in the hopes of controlling a COVID-19 outbreak. The lockdown, in addition to triggering its own set of issues, revealed the education system’s existing flaws and deteriorating structure. This population did not include families living in poverty who could barely afford regular meals, let alone technological devices, emphasizing the ever-widening divide between the wealthy and the poor.

Online learning has had a positive effect on the education sector; it has sparked a desire for Open and Distance Learning (ODL), as the curriculum promotes self-learning and customization of the syllabus to the students’ needs. However, since the latter is only reaped by a small percentage of the population, the negative consequences greatly outweigh the positive.

Another effect of the curfew on Indian education has been a dramatic rise in the number of students dropping out. For most poor families, the economic fallout from the lockdown resulted in unemployment and a decline in earning power. Children were forced to drop out of school as a result, forcing them into the job market.

The Mid-Day Meal (MDM) programme, which aimed to provide food for students in government schools, was also lost as a result of the lockdown and subsequent school closure.

Ramesh Nishank, the Union Minister of Human Resource Development, announced an increased allocation of funds of Rs. 1700 crores to ensure the provision of MDMs to students even during the lockdown. During the lockout, however, it was discovered that 40% of the qualifying children did not receive MDMs. On the 1st of February 2021, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman introduced the Union Budget 2021, which outlined the allocation of funds to various sectors. The budgetary allocation for the government’s flagship education programme, Samagra Shiksha Abhyaan, has been reduced from Rs. 38,751 crores to Rs. 31,050 crores for the coming fiscal year. If the government fails to place a high priority on public education, the detrimental consequences will last for generations and decades. Unemployment would eventually rise, affecting almost every part of society and the economy.

Thanks to the lockdown, schooling took on a new structure overnight, requiring students and teachers to navigate a novel system of adjusting to an online education forum. Humans are social animals that rely on face-to-face communication for successful communication, and the educational field is no exception. In the absence of this face-to-face learning, ground-level proficiency is broken, especially for students studying fundamental concepts and skills that they will need during their lives at the elementary level. Furthermore, students’ practical effectiveness in the field of STEM, where conceptual comprehension and practical applications are at the center of learning, has decreased.

The curfew has forever changed the face of Indian education. The advantages of the blended learning system are only available to those in the upper echelons of society, making the rest unprotected. The issue of quality education accessibility has always existed in the Indian system; it is only now that it has been exacerbated in the face of the pandemic and revealed for all to see.

Alauddin’s Cantonment: Siri

A century of Mongol invasions has paved the way for Delhi to be a colossal military camp. The Mongol raids of Balban’s era were the work of independent groupings based in and around Afghanistan. They were brought under Qaidu and Dua towards the end of the century that resulted in a significant boost in Mongol striking power. In 1299-1300, Dua’s son invaded India and moved directly to Delhi. Alauddin Kahlji’s reign witnessed an increase in the military establishment. Different sources attribute different value to the strength of the Sultanate militia. They are tabulated as follows:

Sl.noSources/ PersonalitiesAttributed strength
1Iranian Sources- Beginning of 14th century3,00,000
2Iranian Sources- 20 years later4,75,000
3Umari9,00,000
4Al-Safadi6,00,000
5Mufaddal7,00,000
6Barani4,70,000

Keeping a formidable standing army was not very easy. The requirements of soldiers needed to be met. For instance, Juzzani reported that Balban raided Hindu territories just to amass booty for the maintenance of a large army. 

Sunken City Siri: Alauddin Khilji's Dar-ul Khilafat – My Heritage Walks
Siri Fort

Alauddin Khalji was known for his economic intervention even though it was aimed at supporting his army. Firstly, the entire doab region was designated as the ‘State land’. Secondly, the revenue derived from the State land was exclusively devoted to the maintenance of the troops. Thirdly, the revenue was also collected in form of the produce of the peasants and it led to an increased capacity of the State granaries. This has led to deflation that resulted in lower prices of goods in the Capital. His economic measures abolished intermediaries between the government and the cultivators and this resulted in an increase of state revenue that would’ve been lost to the intermediaries, middlemen and agents.

The very first reference to Siri was made by Amir Khusraw who mentions Siri as a site that existed between Delhi-i-Kuhna (Old Delhi) and Khilokri. 

The Mongol commander Dua dies in Delhi on his return march nonetheless, his lieutenant Taraghai subjected the outskirts of the city to a two-month-long investment. The exposed position of Delhi came to the limelight after this event and Alauddin moved his residence to Siri, towards the North-East and he built a new fortress there. 

Ziauddin Barani suggests that albeit his investments and large-scale construction activities in Old Delhi, Alauddin Khalji didn’t like living there. Fed up with the resistance of the entrenched elites and chose to live outside the city. 

Siri was critical in preserving Alauddin Kahlji’s authority. Firstly, the shifting of residence to Siri gave Alauddin Khalji a chance to escape from the entrenched political elites of the old city. Secondly, Siri was the best location for deploying a huge standing army that could counter the threat of Mongol invasions. Thirdly, the Sultan could monitor politics in the old Delhi from a safer distance. 

The water requirements in the new cantonment city were met by the re-excavation of Iltumish’s Hauz-i-Shamsi by removing large amounts of sand and silt from the tank. Also, the alluvial soil in Siri made it easier to dig wells compared to the rocky terrain of old Delhi. 

After the demise of Alauddin Khalji, Mubarak Shah Khalji consolidated his position after his potential competitors were erased after an intra-dispensational conflict. Mubarak Shah developed Siri as his capital and he gave Siri an urban splendour. Firstly, he commissioned a new congregational mosque in Siri. Secondly, he refurbished the fortifications of Siri and thirdly, Siri came to be known as the ‘residence of the Caliph’, owing to the grandiose title of ‘Khaifa’ assumed by Mubarak Shah
Mubarak Shah Khalji was murdered in Siri by Khusraw Khan Bawari and Ghiyasuddin Tughlaq succeeded him to the throne of the Sultanate. Tughlaq kept his capital at Siri to emphasise continuity with the Khalji regime and to gain support from the erstwhile political elites and military commanders. Later, he shifted his capital to Tughlaqabad. Further, Muhammad Bin Tughlaq enclosed Siri along with Qutb Delhi (Old Delhi) and Tughlaqabad within a fortification wall and named it Jahanpanah.

Delhi’s Ancient Past: River Yamuna

Delhi’s ancient past is heavily dependant on River Yamuna. It is worth noting that Delhi’s history starts from the 11th century when Anangpala Tomara is credited to have populated the city. However, the 11th century or the early-medieval period is still considered to be a proto-historic phase that is characterized by bereft of enough archaeological evidence to prove its existence. However, the literary traditions point to settlements as old as 5000BC i.e. Indraprastha. Some scholars also argue that the present-day Purana Qila is the site of Indraprastha. Whatever be the settlements, either epic, palaeolithic or Harappan; the river Yamuna is of utmost significance to the study of Delhi’s ancient past. 

Yamuna - Wikipedia

On extensive excavations by the Archaeological Survey of India, remains of six palaeochannels of the river Yamuna were found. The river Yamuna is further known as a migrating river or temperamental river. The river changed its course owing to the tectonic movements and it’s believed that the river once flew into Saraswati that is mentioned in the Rigveda as the foremost of all rivers. Further, it abandoned Saraswati and started its eastward course and joined Ganga. Flowing through the hillocks to the South of Delhi, Yamuna started an eastward movement around 4,000 years ago. 

Ganga and Yamuna (River Goddesses and Their Symbolism in Indian Temples)

Many ancient mounds located in the vicinity of the old and new channels of the river Yamuna mark the ancient settlements located there. Explorations on the IV and V palaeochannels of the river Yamuna has revealed thousands of stone tools. Further excavations also revealed finished artefacts, waste materials and some materials at various stages of production dating to the Harappan era. 

The river Yamuna is known as Kalindi in a plethora of ancient texts and she is considered to be a goddess. The Samhita 10.10 of the Rigveda refers to Yami and Yama being twin children of the Sun God. Whereas Yama is recognized as the God of death, Yami is considered to be the river Yamuna

Delhi University DU LOGO SK Gold Trans | High Resolution Tra… | Flickr
University of Delhi logo- note the river Yamuna flowing above the elephant

In the Mahabharata, sage Lomaksha asks Yudhistira to take a dip in the river to be cleansed of all sins. Also, places along the river are described in the Mahabharata as sacred sites for performing various sacrifices. 

The Vishnu Purana narrates the story of Balram, Krishna’s brother, commanding the river Yamuna to accompany him and she refused to and the infuriated Balram dragged the river closer to him with his ploughshare. 

The Sampradaya Sun - Independent Vaisnava News - Feature Stories - August  2014
Balram dragging Yamuna with his ploughshare

Various Puranas refer to Lord Shiva, in the form of Bhairava, being grief-stricken on the demise of Devi Sati, plunges on to the river Yamuna, making it black in complexion. 

The entrances of many Hindu temples are sculpted with the images of Yamuna and Ganga where Ganga, considered to be white in complexion, stands on a fish or a crocodile while Yamuna, black in complexion, stands on a tortoise or a sea turtle. 

g katyan misra on Twitter: "details of above Sculpture, River Goddess Yamuna  who are those two shown in that garland type? yam & yamuna? beautifull  Indian Sculptures… https://t.co/dmwGT6A5Z0"
River Goddess Yamuna standing on a sea turtle
Ganga on Makara: River on the Doorways - American Institute of Indian  Studies — Google Arts & Culture
Goddess Ganga standing on a makara or a Crocodile

In toto, the archaeological shreds of evidence mustered from the palaeochannels of the river Yamuna point to the early palaeolithic and Harappan settlements in the Delhi ridge. Also, the literary evidence from the Mahabharata, Vishnu Purana and the Rigveda, inter alia suggest the mythical significance of the river.

Dialectical Materialism

“The history of all hitherto existing societies is the history of class struggles”

Tracing its origin to the classical works of Marx and Engels, Marxism now stands stiff as a cardinal political ideology in the mainstream. Dialectical materialism or historical materialism, as Marx never used this term directly, points to the fact that society is determined by the material conditions of any particular time period. With respect to this theory, Marx suggested five successive stages of social evolution.

Marx Dialectical Materialism
Dialectical Materialism

Firstly, the initial human societies were characterized by hunting and gathering with the absence of private property, in the Marxist sense, that is, no single person or a group holds the means of production that produce a profit. Marx further suggests that developments in technology and other equivalent sophistication paved the way for the second stage, i.e., slave society. 

Marx refers to the stage of slave society as the beginning of class society. Slave owning class owns the slaves as well as the land where the former was the cardinal means of producing profit. In order to capture more and more slaves, large scale expeditions and expansion projects were initiated that resulted in the administrative inconvenience of a colossal territory. Also, slave uprising and revolutions for freedom replaced the slave society with the third stage of feudal society. 

The feudal society was characterized by different social groups that were ranked in hierarchical order based on their ownership of land. Feudal Europe had three prominent classes at the primus locus: the clergy, nobility and the third estate. The third estate was constituted by landless labourers and others of its kind. Gradually, the rich profit-seeking merchants formed a capitalistic class and consequently, the feudal lords were unwilling to accept the technological revolution that the capitalists wanted. The profit-driven capitalists were restricted by the feudal society, subsequently preventing them from making more profits. ‘Then begin the epoch of social revolution’ since the social and political organizations were hampering the development of capitalistic forces. A bourgeoisie revolution replaced the feudal society with the fourth stage of capitalism or capitalist society. 

Marx Dialectical Materialism

The capitalist society is characterized by a free market along with a minimalist state. The capitalist class own the means of production and control and regulate them via commercial enterprises or corporates that aim at profit maximization. Workers are rewarded in accordance with the contract with the capitalists in the form of wages. These wages are, however, only a fraction of the value added by the workers and this unpaid labour of the workers translates as the profit of the capitalists. Workers are, hence, not paid the true value of their labour and are, in other words, exploited. The capitalist era is also characterized by capitalist control over the state in the form of the instrumental and structural model of the capitalist state as discussed by the Miliband-Poulantzas’ debate. It is also characterized by monopolistic tendencies. In line with Marx, workers are ‘gravediggers’ of capitalism. The capitalists aim to drive down the wages of the workers to secure more profit and hence, it leads to class conflict shaped by the class consciousness of workers who realize themselves to be alienated. The working class strive to establish their own collective control over means of production. This leads to the fifth stage, that is, communism. 

The workers mount a successful revolution against the capitalists and if successful, communism will be attained. Marx refers to the existence of two phases of communism: the first phase or the lower phase and the higher phase. Lenin equates the first phase with socialism that is characterised by a decentralized planned economy directed by worker’s communes or councils. Workers govern themselves through democratically elected communes and plan production and distribution of benefits and burdens of collective action. Marx refers to the existence of labour vouchers, a certificate that awards credits to the workers based on their real contribution in the production process that can be exchanged for goods. Finally, this will lead to a perfect state of communism where classes are abolished and class society would cease. The state will ‘wither away’ and ideologies will perish. The communist stage will be characterized by statelessness, classlessness and money-less ness,  ideology-less ness. 

India gets its New Education Policy

After an interval of 34 years, finally New Education Policy (NEP) got approved on July 29, 2020. It would have been better if the wait for NEP was not so long. But now the strategies proposed for radical change in Education system seems worth waiting. This policy will indeed modernize and boost the Education system. In this policy, the Education system is designed according to the need of 21st century. Many drastic changes have been approved in school education, higher education, teacher education and research. The focus is on skill based learning and cognitive development instead of rote learning. Now the learning would be based on the interests of the children. Also the name of Human Resource Development (HRD) Ministry has been again renamed as Education Ministry. Previously in 1985, the name of this ministry was changed.

The New Education Policy has proposed the far- reaching changes in the Indian Education system. Through this, the youth of India will be shaped to cope with the global challenges as well as contribute well in shaping India to be a ‘Vishva-Guru’ again. The policy was being drawn up since 2015. In 2016, a committee lead by TRS Subramanian submitted its report with its recommendations. Then , in 2017, another committee was formed lead by former ISRO chief Dr. K. Kasturirangan, which submitted its report in 2019. The previous education policy was made in 1986, in which few amendments were made in 1992. The government is preparing for the implementation of NEP from this session.

There are five pillars of this New Education Policy i.e. Access, Equity, Quality , Affordability and Accountability. Based on these pillars the amendments are made in Education system. The government is also aiming to spend 6% of GDP on education sector which prior was only 4%. As we know, India is a multi- lingual country , so in this policy encouragement is given to for development and enrichment if the regional languages.

KEY POINTS IN NEW EDUCATION POLICY

  • In New Education Policy, the structure of School System is changed. The structure of 10+2 is abolished. The new structure of schooling is centered as 5+3+3+4 i.e. in four levels. The first stage of five years include the pre-schooling or Anganwadi of three years and first two years of schooling i.e. grade one and two (Foundation level). Then, there are three more levels grade three to five (Primary level), grade six to eight (Middle level) and grade nine to twelve(Secondary level).
  • Examinations will not be conducted every year, instead it will be conducted in Grade three, five and eight. The board exams of Grade ten and twelve will be continued. Students will get two attempts to appear in boards. These examinations will not be based on rote learning , but the application of knowledge in real life situations.
  • PARAKH, National Assessment Centre, is proposed to be setup as a standard-setting body under MHRD that will set norms and guidelines for assessment of students, for national achievement survey (NAS) and will also update it accordingly.
  • Upto Standard 5, the medium of instruction will be the regional language (preferably till Grade 8 and beyond). This is because students grasp quickly in their mother-tongue or home-language. It is clearly stated that ‘no language will be forced on any student.’
  • Modern vocational training like CODING will be taught to students from Grade 6. Other vocational courses will be there in colleges. This will help youth in becoming self- dependent.
  • National Curriculum Framework for School Education (NCFSE), 2020-21 is will be formulated by NCERT in a new and comprehensive way. Also it will be visited and updated once in every 5-10 years. According to the director of NCERT, revised curriculum books will be ready in around three years.
  • In Secondary Education, now there is no rigid distribution of streams as there was formerly. Students can choose subjects according to their interest like Science stream students can also opt for Psychology or Music as per their interest.
  • The unnecessary load of syllabus will also be pulled out. Only relevant topics will be there in the curriculum. The crucial focus of amendments is to provide holistic development to the students through integrated, engaging, interesting, multi-disciplinary and multi-linguistic learning.
  • Higher Education‘s standard will be elevated. Students can opt for creative combination of subjects according to their interest. Also they can change their subjects in mid of their course. Academic Bank of Credit will be established in which credits earned from previous courses and attended Universities will be kept safe. These will be added in final.
  • Now prestigious universities of world can establish their campuses in India. This will help in coping with the issue og ‘Brain Drain.’ It will also help in boosting the economy.
  • To save student’s time and money, only one entrance exam will be conducted all over India for admission in all Universities. Also, uniform regulations and standards (including fee) will be established for private as well as government Universities by a single regulatory body.
  • Higher Education Council of India (HECI) will be formed as a single regulator for Higher Education. Independent regulatory bodies like UGC and others will be dissolved into it.
  • Multiple- entry and exit facility will now be available in education system. If one has to leave the degree course just after one year completion, he/she will not be empty-handed. After completion of one year a certificate will be provided , after two years a diploma and finally after three years a degree. This will surely help the dropout students in continuing their studies.
  • In this radical transition of Education system by NEP, a new system is proposed for Research. M. Phil. has been terminated. There is a new four-year degree course for students interested in research. After this degree and M.A. of one year, one can directly go for PhD. National Research Foundation (NRF) will be established to strengthen and flourish the research culture in India.
  • Teacher Education and their procedure of appointment has also thoroughly revised. There will three types of B.Ed. (minimum requirement to become a teacher), 4-year B.Ed. for 12th pass aspirants, 2-year B.Ed. for graduates and 1-year B.Ed. for those who have passed M.A. By 2030, 4-year integrated B.Ed. degree will be made compulsory.
  • Government has aimed to improve the Gross Enrolment Ratio (GER) in Higher Education to 50% by 2035, keeping in mind vast population of youth in India. Currently, it is 26%.
  • According to government’s roadmap, most of the provisions of NEP will come into effect by 2024. A monitoring committee will be formed for intact implementation of proposed policies.

It took a quite long time of 24 years to get a New Education Policy, so the government now should take long time for its implementation. Education which meets the global standards is a salient way to make our country a strong and independent nation. In addition, the target of government to spend 6% of GDP on Education will really bring a positive change, it will definitely help in building the fundamental structure of education at all levels. Finally , it must be kept into mind that any policy , does not matter how righteous it is, will only be productive when it comes into effect sincerely. Long and short, apt implementation of NEP will fulfil the needs and challenges of India in 21st century.

Complicated Understanding of the ‘Left’ and the ‘Right’

All might be pretty familiar with the political usage of the terms ‘left’ and the ‘right’ with hundreds of political parties being established in these lines. However, the concept of the left-right divide is pretty complex and controversial. The complexity is explained in terms of two graphs in this article. Moreover, the main differences between the two are also enumerated. 

After the legendary landmark of the French Revolution, the first meeting of the Estates-General took place in 1789. In the meeting, the entrenched elites occupied the position right to that of the presiding officer whereas the common people occupied the position to the left of the same. This relative position of a set of people with opposing ideologies with respect to the presiding officer then came to mark the left-right divide. 

The leftists were proponents of change. They attempted to produce a change in society. Also, they wanted the change to happen at a very fast pace and so, they were proponents of radical change. In addition to that, they were hardcore proponents of total change. Whereas some leftists support violent change with the use of controlled violence for social change, others were supporters of democratic change. The leftists believed in the social-contract theory that argued that society and State are anthropogenic products or human-made products and are answerable to them. They despised the divine origins of society and the State. Also, they believed that the power to rule wasn’t given by God and the power to rule flows from the below- from the working people. 

On the other hand, the Rightists were a heterogeneous group that differed in terms of ideologies. Broadly, they can be divided into three groups. Firstly, the Status Quoists or conservatives believed that the present or the existing social order must continue. They believed that the social hierarchy is a natural product and any change to the existing order will destroy the naturally ordained equilibrium. They aspire for social stability and argue that any tinkering with the existing social hierarchy would result in social instability. Secondly, the Revivalists believed in reviving the grandeur of the past. They tend to glorify the past and they argue that social change will come from the revival of the ancient past. They believe that the pathetic present is the result of the abandoned past. They give examples of social construction and dynamism and technological advancements from mythologies. Nonetheless, they support democratic and non-violent changes. Thirdly, the Recationists or the Fascists were violent, frenetic and intolerant revivalists who justified violence as a medium of social change. Here, social change refers to reviving the lost cultural glory. 

The linear spectrum
Why exactly are left and right political wing mutually exclusive? - Quora
The horseshoe spectrum of political ideologies suggest that the ultra-left and the ultra-right ideologies are not like two opposing ends of a linear spectrum, but closely resemble one another, similar to the ends of a horseshoe. Here, the Communism and Fascism represent ultra-left and ultra-right ideologies while the socialism and conservatism represent the left and the right respectively. Liberalism represent central or mixed ideology. Here, it’s worth noting that welfare liberalism is a leftist ideology whereas libertarianism is a rightist ideology.

The following facts make this division complicated:

  1. Some group of Rightists are proponents of change
  2. Some groups of leftists and certain Rightists believe in change through democracy whereas others of the same ranks believe in change through violence. 
  3. The Leftists are the proponents of liberty, equality and fraternity but supports economic intervention and fiscal regulations. On the other hand, the Rightists argue for hierarchy and social order but are proponents of free and unregulated markets.

The third point makes this division far more complicated. While liberty, equality, fraternity along with the free market economy are the cardinal principles of liberalism, it should be concluded that both the leftists and the rightists support liberal ideas. This makes liberalism more or less a neutral and central concept located in the middle of both the leftists and the rightists.

Sl.noParticularsLeftistsRightists
1ValuesLiberty, equality and fraternitySocial order, hierarchy and authority
2Views on social progress through changeOptimisticPessimistic
3EconomyRegulated economyFree market economy
4Nature of the StateInterventionist StateRestricted State
5Origin of the StateSocial contractGod/Nature

The Dichotomy of ‘Good lie’ and ‘Bad lie’

“….Was it the time I realized that adults were not
all they seemed to be,
They talked of love and preached of love,
But did not act so lovingly….”

As Markus Natten had beautifully pointed out in the above lines, adults find their place in the long rolls of hypocrites. They talk of love and preach of love, but these are only confined to words. One of the most cardinal preaching of the adults is on an essentially contested topic of ‘truth’. They always ask us to speak the truth and punish us for not doing so. However, does this really mean that adults are the epitome of righteousness and truth to an extent that they only speak the truth? Well, obviously, the most rational answer is ‘no’. All aren’t Mahatma Gandhi no? Then what backs the essence of truthfulness or righteousness imparted by the adults to the younger generation? How is it legitimized? 

Family is considered to be the lowest unit of social interaction. It’s the lowest social organization. If it is the miniature version of the society, the family will be, ipso facto, communitarian in spirit. As always, some liberal values are to be compromised in a communitarian atmosphere. Consequently, the size of the families started reducing and today, we can find people living alone preserving their sacrosanct individuality. The more the size of the family, the more communitarian it is and the more liberty, rights and independence are compromised. Family hence becomes a sphere of power- where power is feloniously exercised by the elders and the youngest ones and mostly women being mute recipients of the communitarian power thus exercised. All power relations are marked by hierarchy and family thus becomes a hierarchy of the elders over the younger ones and sometimes that of men over women.  The hierarchy of men over women in the family was challenged by the second wave feminists with a powerful slogan of ‘the personal is the political’. But what can the younger ones do? Simply being mute victims of the authoritarian, totalitarian and communitarian decision-making process, they’re left with the least representation even on matters regarding their life, liberty and property. 

The Concept of Social Institution - Mass Communication Talk

Coming back to the notion of truth and lie, the adult’s lie is often legitimized as a ‘good lie’. A ‘good lie’ is something that can be told, preached and are legally plausible. As opposed to this concept is the ‘bad lie’ that cannot be told, cannot be preached and invites punishment. But what makes a lie a ‘good lie’ or a ‘bad lie’? As far as I’ve observed, there can be two ways to determine what’s a ‘good lie’ and what’s a ‘bad lie’. Firstly, the lie told by the adults comes under the banner of a ‘good lie’ whereas the same lie told by the younger ones become a ‘bad lie’. What is to be noted in this case is age is the criteria that determine the nature of your lie.  Secondly, the lie which the children are made to say on behalf of the adults also comes under the category of a ‘good lie’. However, if the same lie is told by the child without the directions of the ‘high command’, then it is criticized to be a ‘bad lie’. 

Another interesting concept about this distinction is that the concept is not equally applicable to all situations. What all constitute a ‘good lie’ and what constitutes a ‘bad lie’ are determined from time to time by the adults. Also, a ‘good lie’ in my case needn’t be a ‘good lie’ in your case. Forget it. It’s you and me. A ‘good lie’ in my case today may not be a ‘good lie’ tomorrow and a ‘good lie’ in my case may not be so in my brother’s case. What is to be extrapolated from the situation is that the concept of ‘good lie’ and ‘bad lie’ are flexible- flexible to the overpowering whims and fancies of the adults and obviously, to the disadvantage of the children. 

The Significance of the Family as a Social Institution - Rushdoony Radio -  Podcast.co

In toto, what makes a lie qualified to be a ‘good lie’ simply depends upon the person who says it or the person by whose supervision it is said. This concept changes from time to time and place to place and even from person to person and families to families. This is quite natural, owing to the communitarian structure of the family. In the modern era, for social institutions like families to survive, it is necessary to democratize the structure. Internal decision-making processes shall be democratized and sacrosanct rights are to be protected with reasonable justifications. Also, any encroachment in the realm of such rights shall not be tolerated and the burden of justification shall be placed upon the adults. May the liberal ideas liberally sprinkle upon the social institution of the family. 

The Ambivalence of Indian Primeministership

“As Prime Minister, I accept responsibility for every single act of the government, including every bad act, every act of nepotism, and every act of corruption…
...As Prime Minister, I’m completely responsible for every good act and every bad act that this government may have done”.
                                                                                                                                                -Jawaharlal Nehru

The Indian Prime Minister is considered to be one of the most powerful Prime Ministers in the world. The Indian system of governance spirals upon the Westminster style of British governance, conferring a wide range of sprawling prerogatives to the Prime Minister. As far as India is concerned, the Prime Minister remains as the avowed symbol of the principle of democratic representation. The Cabinet system of government draws its institutional validity from the Prime Minister’s constitutional primacy. Irrespective of the nature of the government, the cabinet depends on the Prime Minister for its collective dynamism. The centrality of the role of the Prime Minister is pre-eminent on the dominant role that the constitution confers on the Prime Minister. Articles 74 and 75 of the Constitution of India makes the Prime Minister a very powerful head of the Government. Being the leader of the majority party in the Lok Sabha, the Prime Minister is also the leader of the Lok Sabha. The Prime Minister has the prerogative to choose her Cabinet colleagues and she can literally hire and fire them at will. She chairs the cabinet meeting and heads all major sub-committees of the Cabinet. She can advise the President to dissolve the Lok Sabha. Also, she’s the venerated head of the Cabinet secretariat and as the Minister for Personnel, she can control the Indian Administration Service. Also, she’s the head of the Administrative Appointments Committee of the Cabinet and has the last say in appointing the Governors. Also, she’s a grand federal overseer owing to the natural centripetal bias of the constitution. Also, the NITI Aayog is overtly inclined to her office. The Special Protection Act of 1985 virtually elevates the Indian Prime Minister to the status of a semi-God whose physical safety takes precedence over everything else. 

With such a plethora of powers confined to a single person, it’s not surprising to see the Indian State becoming a centralized, centripetal and unitary one during the national emergency of 1975. Prime Ministers such as Nehru, Indira Gandhi and Rajiv Gandhi successfully asserted their position as an ‘elected monarch’. During the Prime Ministership of Indira Gandhi, it was said that ‘India is Indira and Indira is India’. Even the preamble of the constitution was amended in her tenure. It was mockingly said that ‘the only man in the cabinet of Indira Gandhi was herself’. The Cabinet system of government was reduced to a prime ministerial form of government where the office of the Prime Minister was nothing less than the edifice of an ‘elected monarch’. However, these events appear pretty normal considering the scope of powers vested in the Prime Minister. 

The era of coalitions remains a cardinal peripeteia of Indian Politics. Gone are the days when the Cabinet was used synonymously with the Prime Minister. With the advent of coalition politics, governments became weak and unstable and so as the Prime Minister. The structure of a weak Prime Minister dilutes the rigour of the Parliamentary control over the executive. This era witnessed a systematic erosion in the authority of the Prime Minister. 

The United Front government was led by the then Prime Minister H D Deve Gowda. During his prime ministership, he just casually surrendered his prerogative of choosing his own Cabinet as the United Front bosses nominated the Cabinet members. Gowda was replaced by I K Gujral and like Gowda, he was stripped from his constitutional prerogative of choosing his ministers. His inactiveness and weakness are evident in the following lines:

“The Prime Minister-designate I K Gujral was sleeping in the Andhra Pradesh Bhavan whereas the United Front bosses were haggling over the ministerial portfolios in the next room”

Mr Sharad Yadav, a minister as well as the President of the ruling Janata Dal opposed his own Prime Minister who wanted to introduce the women’s reservation bill. He commented:

“He’s only a Prime Minister, not God”.

In 1998, Mrs Jayalalitha named the cabinet members from Tamil Nadu. Mrs Jayalalitha was at loggerheads with the Prime Minister as she demanded the dismissal of Mr Ramamurthy from the Petroleum portfolio supported by an argument that he was in the cabinet as part of the ‘Jayalalitha quota’ and it’s her right to reshuffle the composition of her quota anytime. After the 1999 ‘Vajpayee vote’, the Prime Minister had no other choice but to give quotas to all the twenty-six parties that constituted the National Democratic Alliance in various ministerial portfolios. There was an NDA coordinating committee constituting of leaders from all the twenty-six parties that formed the alliance and it was chaired by the then Prime Minister Vajpayee but was convened by George Fernandez. It is worth noting that:

“A Prime Minister in a coalition government has even less of an elbow room”

Mr Suresh Prabhu was the minister for Power in the Vajpayee government and was asked to step down by the Shiv Sena Boss (and not the Prime Minister) and his successor was also announced by the Shiv Sena. The Prime Minister had no control over this melee and the changes in the cabinet were done to the satisfaction of the Shiv Sena boss. It was obvious that:

“The Shiv Sena quota in the cabinet was for the Shiv Sena bosses to fill and juggle with the Prime Minister being a mute spectator”

The appointment of LK Advani as the Deputy Prime Minister in 2002 was at the expense of a crumbling Prime Ministerial prerogative. The erosion of the Prime Ministerial authority can be well-understood by the following lines about this appointment:

“It was nothing more than a de facto situation being converted to a de jure reality”

In toto, the Indian Prime Minister, once venerated as an ‘elected monarch’ is reduced to the status of Lord Morley’s primus inter pares during the coalition era. The present Prime Minister, Mr Modi is also one of the strongest Prime Ministers India or even the whole world had ever seen. With enormous powers conferred to the office of the Prime Minister by the Constitution, the concept becomes ambivalent on witnessing weak and incapacitated Prime Ministers of the coalition governments. Hence, a coalition government, ipso facto, creates a weak and wobbly chair for the Prime Minister. Also, the coalition governments may even make a strong Prime Minister behave in a weak manner. It is to be noted that the Prime Ministerial supremacy is closely linked with parliamentary accountability and the erosion of the former will naturally result in the erosion of the latter. The very perception, objective and concept of the Westminster model get diluted in a coalition arrangement. 

The Prime Ministers of India

References:

  • M.R. Madhavan (2017), ‘Parliament’, in D. Kapur, P.B. Mehta and M Vaishnav (eds.) Rethinking Public Institutions in India, New Delhi: Oxford University Press, pp. 67-103.
  • A. Thiruvengadam, (2017), The Constitution of India, A Contextual Analysis, Oxford: Bloomsbury [Ch.2 Parliament and the Executive, pp.39-70]
  • S.K. Chaube (2009), The Making and Working of the Indian Constitution, Delhi: National Book Trust [Ch. VIII: The Union Government I: The Executive, pp.100-131].
  • J. Manor (1994), ‘The Prime Minister and the President’, in B. Dua and J. Manor (eds.) Nehru to the Nineties: The Changing Office of the Prime Minister in India, Vancouver: University of British Columbia Press, pp. 20-47.
  • H. Khare (2003), ‘Prime Minister and the Parliament: Redefining Accountability in the Age of Coalition Government’, in A. Mehra and G. Kueck (eds.) The Indian Parliament: A Comparative Perspective, New Delhi: Konark, pp. 350-368.

Role of the Legislature in Upholding the Directive Principles

Albeit held non-justiciable, the Government of India was enthusiastic to implement the goals mentioned in part IV of the Constitution. Recurring judicial rulings supplemented by conflicts with Fundamental Rights led to a plethora of Constitutional amendments from time to time. Also, the harmony between the Fundamental Rights and the Directive Principles find its place in the Basic Structure Doctrine. 

After the Champakam Dorairajan case (1951), the first amendment (1951) inserted clause 4 to Article 15 of the Constitution that empowered the parliament to make any special provision for the advancement of the socially and economically backward classes or the Scheduled Castes or the Scheduled Tribes. This amendment is complementary to article 46, a Directive Principle that asks the state to promote the educational and economic interests of the weaker sections of the society, especially the SCs and the STs. In 2005, clause 5 to the same article was inserted that provided special provisions for the backward classes, especially in educational institutions.

Directive Principles of State Policy - Radian Learning

 

 In 1976, the State decided to allot some vacant lands for the slum dwellers. A special census was conducted to populate a list of slum dwellers and some were given identity cards by the State. 

Several Zamindari abolition acts were passed in Bihar, Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh and the Zamindars filed petitions in the High Courts and the apex court on the ground that it violated their fundamental right to property. To thwart unfavourable decisions from the court and to ensure social justice, the first amendment inserted articles 31A, 31B and the 9th schedule to the Constitution of India. Article 31A protected estate laws passed by the legislatures of any State or the Parliament from the attack on the ground that it violated the Fundamental Rights. Also, Article 31B held that any law placed in the 9th schedule of the Constitution would be immune from any such attack on the ground that it violated the Fundamental Rights. The Fourth Amendment Act of 1955 extended the protection of Art. 31A to other types of social welfare regulations and inserted seven more acts in the 9th schedule. The 17th Amendment Act of 1964 inserted as many as 44 acts in the 9th schedule. 

The 25th Amendment Act of 1972 added Article 31C to the Constitution of India lent further clearance to the primacy of the Directive Principles under Article 39(b) and 39(c). The 29th Amendment added Kerala Land Reforms (Amendment) Act into the 9th schedule. The 42nd Amendment Act of 1976 amended article 31C by protecting all the laws intended to implement any of the Directive Principles from any attack based on the violation of Fundamental Rights. Also, 14 commercial banks were nationalized in 1969 followed by six more private banks in 1980. The 26th Amendment Act of 1971 abolished the privy purse system. The 39th Amendment incorporated the Sick Textiles Undertakings (Nationalization) Act of 1974 in the 9th schedule. The Act empowered the National Textile Corporation to take over the management of sick mills. It was followed by the 44th Amendment that finally removed the Right to Property from Fundamental Rights and placed it under Article 300A. 

Section 304 of the CrPC, 1973 recognizes the right to free legal aid that is placed under Article 39A as a Directive Principle. The 73rd and 74th Amendments to the Constitution realized the implementation of Article 40 that encouraged the Government to organize Panchayats. The 86th Amendment Act of 2002 transferred Article 45 from the Directive Principles to the Fundamental Rights under Article 21(A) [Right to Education]. 

Various environment protection acts were passed by the Government of India in support of Article 48A of the Constitution of India, which is a Directive Principle. Some important laws of this genre, inter alia, are:

  • Wildlife Protection Act, 1972
  • Water (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act, 1977
  • Forest (Conservation) Act, 1980
  • Environment (Protection) Act, 1986
  • Wildlife Protection (Amendment) Act, 1991
  • National Environmental Tribunal Act, 1995

20 out of 28 states in India had passed anti-cow slaughter regulations in sync with Article 48 of the Directive Principles. The consumption of liquor is banned in the states of Gujrat (1960), Nagaland (1989), Bihar (2016) and Mizoram (2019) to give effect to Article 47 of the Directive Principles. 

Equal Remuneration Act was passed in 1976 to give effect to Article 39(d) followed by the implementation of the National Rural Employment Guarantee Act, 2005 to give effect to Article 41 of the Directive Principles. 

The measures adopted by the Government to promote Skill Development, enhance Public Distribution Systems, family healthcare and general health schemes including the AYUSH, ICDS, INDRADHANUSH, AAYUSHMAN BHARAT, NHM, etc. comes under the ambit of protecting social goals.