This past October, a senior RSS-BJP ideologue K.N. Govindacharya divulged in an interview that the Hindutva brigade was silently working on plans to rewrite India’s Constitution.
Here are excerpts from the interview by Vishwadeepak from the National Herald…
Once a powerful general secretary of the BJP, Govindacharya had floated Rashtriya Swabhiman Andolan to fulfil his vision of Bharat. In an interview with National Herald, the 74-year-old former RSS pracharak says that the concept of secularism is a western import and it should be removed from the Constitution as early as possible.
Recently, RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat said that the Constitution should be amended. In 2016, you said that you would rewrite the Constitution to reflect Bharatiyata. Is there any co-relation?
Amendment and rewriting are two different things. Our goal is to change the Constitution as per Indian norms. I do not see any problem if we start with the amendments. Amendment is a short-term goal while rewriting is a long-term objective. Two people may call the same thing by different names.
What are your objections to the Constitution?
Our Constitution is based upon the idea of individualism. It promotes individualism which is against the Indian value system. You can call it a doctrine which reflects the relation between an individual and the state while Indian civilisation is based upon family system, collectiveness. Other important components of our society such as caste system, panchayat system are not mirrored in the Constitution. Individualism is a western idea. It cannot be the basis of the Indian Constitution. A new Constitution should be written which would talk in favour of Sarva (all), not an individual.
If not individualism, then what would be the basis idea of your Constitution?
The new Constitution would be based on the principles of collectiveness. In political terminology, you can call it a Guild System. Representatives of the different castes, professions, communities would be included in National Guild. Instead of Rajya Sabha and Lok Sabha, there would be only one National Guild in which 1,000 representatives from all over the country will discuss the problems of India. In the National Guild, 500 representatives would come through territorial representation, while 500 would come through functional representation. In my view, National Guild will be more effective in addressing our problems.
Will there be any place for fundamental rights in your Constitution?
There is an imbalance between rights and duties in the Constitution. For example, ‘human rights’ is very much in the debate but one should know that there cannot be any rights without check and balance. If the Constitution gives us fundamental right, it mentions fundamental duties too. But no one cares about that. Rights and duties should be seen in relation to each other. To exercise your rights, you should follow your duties. No one can exercise absolute freedom.
Will you also change the Preamble?
The Preamble of the Constitution is against Indian values. The question is why were ‘secularism’ and ‘socialism’ added to the Constitution? Secularism and socialism were added after 42th amendment during Emergency.
Secularism was born out of certain historical necessities in western countries. In the western countries, division of power between the Pope (religious authority) and the King (head of the state) was defined as secularism. Same cannot be applied in India. India has been there for centuries, even before the birth of nation states.
We do not need western secularism as we are ‘secular’ by birth. Every religion born in India is secular while those born outside India are communal by nature, whether it is Islam or Christianity. What meaning does secularism imply in India? It implies opposition of Hindus and appeasement of Muslims or other minorities. We should get rid of this word as soon as possible. It is completely irrelevant in the Indian context.
We have not decided yet what exactly socialism means for us. Does socialism mean statism or socialisation of production? Born in Russia, socialism is a reactionary ideology. It was also adopted after 42th amendment during Emergency. We have a better word – of Indian tradition – to express the spirit of socialism. It is antodaya. Antodaya means antim aadmi (the last man). Everything should be done keeping the last man in the mind. This word should also be removed from the Preamble of the Constitution.
India is a democratic republic. Do you have objection with this word also?
The idea of democracy is important, not the term. The system, which we have adopted, has many flaws. It is not democratic in the true sense. Ours is called a competitive democracy. Instead of competitiveness, consensus and collectiveness should be the spirit of the democracy. We should also change the rules of power sharing.
Have you prepared any draft? Have you had any consultation with the government in this regard?
We are doing it very silently. Discussions and debates have been taking place for some time. What I told you above are the initial outcomes of the debate. We are inviting opinions from every section of the society. Many research institutes and student organisations have been involved in the process. By the end of next year (2018), I am hopeful that we would have something concrete to share with you. The Constituent Assembly took three years to draft the Constitution. We may take some more time but we will do it.
There is talk of simultaneous elections. What do you think of it?
Theoretically, I am in favour of simultaneous elections but I have doubts about its implementation. How will it be implemented? How can you dissolve all state assemblies at a time to hold simultaneous elections? What will happen to ‘no confidence’ motion? Will tenure of the Assembly be adjusted in accordance with the tenure of the Lok Sabha? These questions need to be answered.
This interview was first published in The National Herald on 2 October 2017.