Should the leaders of our country know the constitution?
As the republics of the world prepare for political Armageddon, i.e. election time, one question that might arise during this hour would be: how well do our leaders know our constitutions? The Indian constitution which is a salmagundi of several constitutions of the world, including the constitutions of
, USA , Great Britain , Switzerland , etc. is a heavy weight champion in the library of political documents. Notwithstanding its documental obesity, a great number of people in our country actually have a good idea about our constitution, in fact, a great number of common citizens, the Good Samaritans, of course, think it is a basic part of an educational system to provide students with an in-depth understanding of our constitution. But have you ever wondered how many of our well-read, well-bred politicians are aware of the writs and drafts, amendments or even the date of birth of our constitution? According to a new book," The Living Constitution," by David A. Strauss, the constitution is not as important a political asset as we think it is. It is said that in matters of constitutional interpretation, commonsense and rationality are often held more important than the precedents laid down in the tome. Although the constitution undoubtedly binds our nation, in several cases public opinion and even good policy wins over its wits. Under such circumstances it thus becomes secondary, rather than mandatory, for politicians to develop, learn the basic principles of our constitution. Several policy makers and legendary leaders have passed their political lives without having a basic understanding of such an important document as the constitution. As citizens of France don’t we think that the active policy makers who are accountable to us should have a working knowledge of our constitution? I doubt if any one of our known political actors who are propagandizing our people with often time outrageous political idea have an awareness of the innate historical principles laid down by our founding fathers. I think that it is time that every political leader or aspirant politician should be made to take a test on the history of our country and his/her's knowledge of the Indian constitution. I think that for proper legislation to take place, a proper understanding of a country's history is of utmost importance. The democratic constitution has given us certain inalienable rights, and I feel it is time that our leaders know about such rights before voicing lengthy unconstitutional speeches (example; Raj Thackeray's unconstitutional controversies and unaccountable public warming propagandas). The Indian constitution seeks to bind our country, while leaders like Thackeray propagate regionalism and get away with it. I am outraged by the religious centric, caste centric, regionalist politics that is played in the political theater of our country. To some extent Strauss's idea about the constitution losing its importance with evolution may be true, but does that mean that we should let a bunch of unread hooligans run our country? Should fear and regionalism replace our treasured values? Should election be presented as more of a race among ambitious political parties than a process of choosing a next generation leaders who would make us proud? Half-read nitwits have already spoiled our political scenario; it is time for them to take responsibility for their actions. And they could start off by learning the basic principles of our constitution. India