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Benjamin Franklin once said, good democracy is Stupples Alnylam voting on what they are going to have for lunch stuccoed that tells you from a lamp's point of view that democracy is not enough. The votes are going to vote to eat the lamb. Democracy by itself is meaningless unless you have a set of rules to protect every individual. The rules have to state that the wolves may not eat the lamb, no matter how lofty the stated purpose may be. In modern times.


We call these rules a constitution. The Constitution is a book of rules that protects the rights of lambs by limiting the behavior of wolves. That's right. The Constitution should ideally limit what the state can do to its citizens. But this raises a difficult question. What if a popular leader sees that? Hey, listen, I have the people of this nation with me, therefore I am legitimate. This constitution is only legitimate as long as I see. So if I don't agree with some part of it, I will change it.


What happens to the land? Is this attitude something we should be worried about in India? Well, 70 years ago, this was the exact position taken by Jawaharlal Nehru.


Welcome to the Scene and The Unseen, our weekly podcast on economics, politics and behavioral science. Please welcome your host, Ahmed. Welcome to the scene in the. You know, we live in times when everyone looks at the world through binaries. If you're not with us, you're against us. If you're not the of white, you're the blackest of black. This has especially happened since 2014 when Narendra Modi won elections for members of the tribe of Modi.


History ended in 2014. Nothing after that can be discussed. And everything is Natalee's fault for people in the anti Modi tribe. The street began in 2014. We can only talk about the wrong that has happened since then. Before that, India was a golden age and our leaders were saints. Now this is obviously a ridiculous binary and it affects how we look at history. Consider Nehru, for example, who for one side is a saint and for the other side, a demon.


Nehru was a complex man. He was a great leader during the freedom struggle. And when he became prime minister of India, he got some things right and he got some things wrong. You can ascribe some of his mistakes to the temper of the times and you can describe some of them to his own temperament. Nehru contain multitudes. Similarly, our Constitution contains multitudes. You know, people often speak of the Constitution as if it is some sort of holy book.


But the truth is it's not a book at all. It was a book for just over a year between 1950 and 1951, after which, as one famous cartoon says, it ceased to be a book and became a periodical, starting with Nehru. It became common that whenever a court called an action by a prime minister unconstitutional, the prime minister just went to change the Constitution. The First Amendment came in 1951, and in that, as well as through subsequent amendments like the third, the fourth, the 7th, the 17th, our votes were diluted as the Constitution became less and less liberal, no less than the father of the Constitution.


We Ambedkar said in 1954, at the time of the Fourth Amendment that the Constitution had been so degraded that he wanted to burn it. America, of course, was in the government at the time of the First Amendment, which is such a fascinating period in India's history. The government in power at the time, led by Nehru, realized that the Constitution came in the way of much of what they wanted to accomplish. So they set about to amend it.


My guest today is a scholar who has written an excellent book called 16 Stormy Days, 16 Stormy Days lays out the details of the complex political landscape of those times, showing how so many of the leaders involved, including Nehru, were creatures of circumstance. You could even say they were responding to incentives. I wish every Indian, especially every Indian on Twitter would read this book because it would give so much nuance to their understanding of Indian politics. One of my big learnings from the book was about our free speech laws.


I'm a free speech absolutist and I've always railed in column after column after column against Section 123 of the Indian Penal Code, which is a sedition law, as well as 153 and 295 if these are all colonial era laws that should not exist today. Right. Well, as to put them and points out, these laws were deemed to be unconstitutional in 1950, but the caveats to free speech added in the First Amendment made them constitutional. Again, just some of the detail moments in the Superbook and in this episode.


Before we get to a conversation, though, let's take a quick commercial break.


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Welcome to the scene in The Unseen, thank you so much for having me. It's an absolute pleasure.


The one before we get started talking about your fascinating book, which I enjoyed so much and I wish many more people read and internalized. I'd love to know about your personal background. Like, how did you become a historian? What were your sort of intellectual influences, the historians that you looked up to or what drew you to history as a discipline?


So I actually have always had a kind of fascination for history and for politics. And when I was going to university, I kind of really thought hard about, you know, which line to take. And I ended up going with politics. But I found that I by while I did really enjoy the kind of I studied politics and international relations for my undergraduate degree and I really enjoyed it, but I always felt that there was. That I mean, history kind of always had a lot more fascination.


I mean, it kind of interested me in a way that sort of political theory and international relations theory didn't. So then I ended up doing a Masters in South Asian Studies at Cambridge, where I was taken on as a student by Christopher Bailey. And that was a very it was my first really introduction to historical research. It was kind of Eye-Opening in many ways. It really kind of forced me to broaden the way I think the way I kind of work.


And I think Billy exercised a quite a great influence on me. And so that's how I ended up. And then because I did quite well, he was like, well, you should think about it. And I really liked him. I really like what I did. And that was kind of how I how I went into it. And progressively the more. I think the more I read in, the more I came across, the more I wanted to read, you know, the more I wanted to get into the thick of the sort of archival action and research.


And I think one thing really led to another. And you in the end, you know that I kind of ended up doing this. As an academic, so, so far so good at I'd say and you know, while you go down to it and you've written one book before this and, you know, as you kind of approach that project, will you sort of just going with the flow and just picking up what interested you at the time or what sort of themes that had always fascinated you, which you sort of took the opportunity to explore?


So I actually started out with working on 18th and 19th century India because that's what. I had, you know, 10 years ago. That's what I thought was one of the most fascinating periods of Indian history. It still is, but.


It was it was a kind of beard of like real flux, and it's it's the kind of beard to someone like William Dalrymple writes about and some of the things that were kind of happening were just mind boggling. You had, you know. Adventures from Luxembourg setting up, you know, little kingdoms, you had the kind of titular Mughal empire still kind of soldiering on. There was so much going on and making sense of how things happened was constantly a sort of challenge, because I had never when I did start with history, I had never studied history academically before and not to my undergraduate, not even for my, you know, final two years of school.


So I found the whole process of doing research really fascinating. And I think the 19th century was kind of a very, very interesting period to start with, because it was when I was working with, I mean, possibly one of the greatest historians of his generation. And secondly, it was a kind of project which really needed you to, you know, dig into, you know, quite old archival material. It would take, you know, you would sit through 200 year old documents.


And I found the whole process really fascinating. And that beard, because it's even now such a contested sort of time in Indian history. We it's I mean, very politically charged to talk about, as you can see now, to talk about, for example, the period which was the, you know, the end of the Mughal empire and the kind of rise of the British. And so I found when I started out, I think I had a very didn't have a very precise idea of where the project would go.


But as far as things develop, still kind of certain themes which which have really kind of stuck with me since. And those include things like the idea of the law, the concept of sovereignty, the you know, how these sort of small adventurers or small like kingdoms set up political entities within the sort of framework of the, you know, of the empire, really.


And so I think those themes have kind of stuck with me. And some of them are kind of even reflected in this work on the Constitution, because the idea of law and ideology is is kind of laced through through this work as well.


So a sort of a couple of questions. One question, who said, you know, most of us when most of us, not historians, when we think of the telling of history, we think of it as a unicellular of facts and you build a story around it and you tell a story. But obviously for a historian, you are sort of doing many different things. What is the process of doing history, Percy? As a historian, really like you have to sort of set aside preconceptions and that you might have or the existing narratives about it.


And of course, the hindsight bias. We already know what happened. But, you know, in the moment, it's never about what's going to happen. What are the sort of adjustments you have to make when you actually sit down to the practice of studying and writing history, especially as you say, since you took it up while, you know, in your postgraduation and you hadn't really studied the formal outlook for it.


I mean, I think it's quite hard to start from kind of blank canvas. We also have certain biases, certain I wouldn't say preconceptions, but certain, you know, ideas about about the world, about the past. And I don't think you can start from a blank canvas, but you have to be willing to let your own ideas be challenged and be willing to kind of take them apart and put them back together again. So I think that's something that is really important and that's something that I've really learned through through the last several years.


And I think one of the problems that I first had when I started my, um, I would say my work as a historian was my unfamiliarity with what kind of the historiographical and methodological tools that that we use because we do more than just tell a story. And facts are always I mean, facts are never really facts in the way that people often understand them. They have to be contextualized. You have to interrogate your sources, because just because someone saying something 200 years ago doesn't, you know, their word doesn't necessarily make it true.


So you have to be able to read them against the grain. And you have to also think of how the world was at the period that you were that you are writing about. And that's where the kind of a lot of the kind of theory that we forced to really are not necessarily forced to. But, you know, you have to come to terms with it is sort of different ways of conceptualizing the past. And you have to be willing to.


And that's I feel that way like. Most of the grunt work really lies. It's the sort of collection of facts and retelling of facts, or is the easy part contextualizing it and interpreting it in in sort of in the light of the broader framework that you're using to assess it or other ideas about the period that you're talking about? That's where the real work lies, because you have to also take on board ideas that other people have, which may be diametrically opposite to yours.


And we can't simply ignore them and say, well, I'm going to say this, which I guess you can in you know, if you're writing as an amateur or your but for something to stand the kind of stand the scrutiny of your peers, it has to be willing to take on board a lot of ideas that you don't necessarily agree with. And I think that's that's one of the major, major differences between having. Not necessarily academic, but I'd say a professional historian versus a kind of raconteur of stories and, you know, you mentioned that you spoke about the framework through which you approach history and you look at history.


And obviously, as you said, none of us are blank slates going into looking at what we are looking at. So how much of this sort of framework was influenced by your studies of political science? For example, you mentioned about how you know in your earlier book you interested in ideas of sovereignty, law and so on and so forth. And, you know, even in this book, there's a very, you know, a crisp and cogent, very lucid understanding of, you know, constitutionalism and liberalism and sort of the central fault lines of that period, which is, of course, the political imperatives of the Congress party.


And narrow was a constitutional project that they had embarked upon, which is, you know, a very clear line and yet a frame that I haven't seen many other people who write about that period of use at all. So how important was all of that political science training in defining sort of the way you look at history? And do you think that that's something that all historians sort of carry with them, that the frame also matters? It's not just, you know, how scrupulously you can get all the facts and tell the story, but even the way you interpret it, I mean, you're absolutely right.


And it does the kind of the framework that you use and the kind of narrative that you build are hugely important parts of the story you tell. And like my last book, because I felt this was I mean, it's it's. But it's it's the kind of story that deserves to be really widely read, it's something that people are very unfamiliar with and something that affects everybody's life quite intimately in ways that, you know, we we don't often acknowledge. And for that reason, I try to keep things as lucid, as crisp as sort of, you know, easy to access as as I could.


And that's because I was writing for an audience that may not necessarily be invested in in history in the same way as I would have written it if I was writing, you know, for Oxford University Press. And I think that that kind of makes a huge difference as as as far as my sort of background in politics goes, it was I think it gave me a good it has given me a good kind of basic idea of the, uh, of the kind of ideological elements that come into being as well as the, um.


I'd say a sort of historical background of many of these, you know, ideas such as liberalism or constitutionalism, and I think looking back, it's probably been it's probably been quite helpful because I can perhaps talk about both sides of the story with what I hope is like relative clarity. And I hope that that's something that comes across in the book as well.


I was struck by the clarity of the writing and the fact that it's a book that can be read by the lay reader to not someone who only reads history, for that matter. So what any models in terms of historical writing that you look back to for this kind of book?


There isn't really a specific model. I think it's just something that's come to me through reading a lot of a lot of historians. And there are some books which, you know, really are very, very interesting. But then they're also written in a kind of way that makes them quite dull to read. And, you know, I read them through, you know, because of the level of interest that I have in it. But someone else might not.


And I think my thought always was that anyone with slight interest in history or politics should be able to pick this book up and be able to read it, no matter whether they like 16 or whether they're 60 and be able to make sense of it because it's not the easiest subject to talk about. But on the other hand, it's hugely important and I think that's part and parcel of historian's craft is to especially if you are writing about something that has such a huge bearing on the contemporary world to make your material accessible to to a wide audience.


And I think one of the ideas and this is like what I once watched, I watched the film a long time ago, but I once read a review of the old Hindi film Donath, which is from the 1970s. And the reviewer wrote, One of the reasons that he really loved the film was that he liked the action moves at the pace of a gunshot. And that's something that's always struck with me, is you can make things more complicated than they are and you shouldn't unnecessarily pad out what you want to say so it can be said in a kind of way that keeps the narrative flowing quickly and it can be set in a way that is, you know, clear and accessible, then that's what you should go for.


The other thing that struck me was, like you said, it's a hugely important book and we'll come to that when we discuss the book. But it also struck me that the writing of it at this time is also surely something that you must have thought twice about, because, you know, doing history means you're embracing nuance, you know, as you have done in this book. But modern politics, especially in the last few years, is really the stripping away of nuance.


And history has almost been weaponized. And, you know, we've created all these stark binaries through which we look at history where for one side, you know, Nehru is all black and for the other side, Nehru is all white. And there's no other way of looking at it. And similarly, you know, figures like Sharma, Prasad, Mukherjee and all of those, you know, there are many people today who were put on the one hand to support the Congress.


But on the other hand, they read the Constitution almost as a holy book. I mean, you know, sometimes even say in response to an argument, but that is unconstitutional, as if that is automatically the end of the argument and you don't need to say anything about it. While the reality, of course, is that, you know, as that old cartoon goes, the Constitution is less of a book and more of a periodical you don't need to incite was in the habit of every time something you did was deemed unconstitutional.


He simply amended the Constitution, not just in the First Amendment, as you write about, but the fourth, the seventh, the 17th, which went to parliament just before he died. He sort of did this repeatedly. So, you know, you would have known when you began this book that this was sort of, you know, not fitting in these polarized times. It would just be, you know, it would not be an easy project to do.


What did you think about it in that sense? Like did that increase the urgency of doing the book that, you know, something needs to counter the prevailing narratives? Or is it something that made you think twice?


No, I think actually that's one of the reasons why I I already wrote it, was that it sort of inverts so many of these binaries that we've come to accept as a given. And it really it's if somebody approaches it with an open mind, it kind of really scrambles the sort of easy the kind of easy dichotomies that we draw. And it is a it is yeah. It's a story that needs nuance. But equally, it's something that really sort of.


Has the potential to throw things a bit off kilter. And yes, I knew when I wrote it that it when I was writing it, that it has the potential to be used as a kind of political tool in the current climate. But of course, I finished writing it before the kind of, you know, the protests over the ACA, etc. happened, which really brought the Constitution suddenly back into public debate. So it wasn't expressly written with the intent of being a kind of intervention in the debates of today.


But I was well aware that it is something that impinges quite heavily on on today's world. And the thing is, nobody comes out of it looking like you would expect. So it has potential to be, I guess, used as a kind of intellectual weapon. But I think that potential is open ended so it can be used by either side to criticize the other. And I think that is something that I was aware of. And I think that's what makes it interesting.


It's a fascinating book.


And also, you know, for the human aspects of it, you know, you've kind of made all of these people Neru, Mukherji and so on, so much more three dimensional than we otherwise knew of them. And, you know, just as you bring the lens of politics and political science, rather, in your telling of history, I kind of invoke economics in my podcast. And also, as I was reading this book, it kind of, you know, confirmed my sense of how incentives shape actions and vitit behavior.


And I had a question for you on that, because one of the interesting things that you've pointed out, and it's like a strand through the book and it's endlessly fascinating, is, you know, and we'll discuss the book in detail, the context and everything that happened. But one of the strands that really struck me was that at the time of the First Amendment being carried out, you know, in America were both part of the establishment and they played a part in actually getting many of these amendments through largely the sort of the anti free speech parts of it, and Ambedkar, all the rest of it.


And they were in government and they were all for it. And yet, after they are in government, as you pointed out, on actually represented them in those against the very act that he had helped bring about. And similarly, Raje goes on to form the Southern Party and become a beacon of liberalism while they're acting while in government is contrary to that. And it sort of struck me about that old truism of law doctrine that power corrupts. And it strikes me that their behavior is actually entirely natural.


If you consider the incentives that if you're part of the executive, that arm of government, you will obviously be drawn to actions that strengthen the power of the government, which you are part of. You might not think of it like that, but that's pretty much what you'll be drawn to. So to me, it's not so much of a contradiction that when they were part of the government, they behaved in a way that would strengthen their arm of government.


And then once they out of it, they can go back to talking about the principles and, you know, similarly narrow, much earlier before he became prime minister, warned of his own dictatorial tendencies. And yet when he became a prime minister, you know, he ignored the warnings of his past self in a way. Now, you've obviously studied that period and these people much more than me. So what is your sense of this threat? To what extent can they be an unconsciously, of course, not justifying it in these terms, but to what extent are they actually responding to incentives and can be read as creatures of their circumstances?


They were definitely creatures of their circumstances. And that kind of comes through in the sort of reasons that they invoke. And there is I never quite point out, I mean, I never hint that they were, for example, somehow inherently evil or like somehow inherently, you know, their moral compass was corrupted. They were obviously responding to the situation as they saw it. But the incentives. But how I put it is that they have I think part of it is to do with the fact that they were quite.


As as you know, Patel, once I pointed out at some point in the book where parallels Narino, this is the result of idealistic exuberance and I think the idealism had a major role to play somewhere because they just pass a constitution. They had, you know, all of these grand ambitions and they either thought of themselves as kind of above these kind of despotic tendencies or as people who would, you know, wheel them with the idea of utmost benevolence.


And that is, I feel, one major aspect of why they did what they did. Secondly, there was, of course, the incentive and the incentive was driven also by the fact that they were the only organized political force that there was. So there was no real incentive to take on board the views of the opposition or the warnings issued by, you know, figures like Mukerji or Kripalani or people like that, because there was the idea that they would somehow at some point have to face the same tools that they were crafting was just so far fetched.


And the I think that probably made it easy enough to contemplate these measures that. I think they probably would not have if there had been any real political organization with the standing to challenge the Congress, and I think that that was one major incentive. I think the other again, and this is this is, I think, quite common to most democracies, is that the incentive, if possible, to take shortcuts, to gain political benefit is is always there.


And a lot of these people quite clearly succumb to it.


There's a fascinating passage from your book which I'll read out, which is in fact about the Congress, where you write From its earliest days, the Congress party had claimed to speak for the entirety of the nation and to represent all Indians. The party was as committed to denying every other group a party, a seat at the political table as it was to gaining control of the levers of power. As a self-declared representative of the nation, the Congress lately in possession of the colonial state and all its territory.


With the advent of democracy and the inauguration of the Constitution, this position, incompatible with any idea of constitutional democracy, was trained to breaking point when its collectivist moorings and its intolerance of opposing ideologies clashed with an expensively liberal constitution, the Communist Party. Instead of defending the normative foundations of democracy and the fundamental rights enshrined in the Constitution, instinctively turned on its own creation struggle. So give me a sense of, you know, in your book what you've done an excellent job of laying out the context of that immediate period between 26 and 1950 when the Constitution comes into being and and then the First Amendment 14 months later.


But give me a broader sense of the context of these times as we come into this. What is the Congress's approach? And my sense in us, in a way, was that, you know, people like Nehru and Patel and whatever, and when they spoke so highly of the fundamental rights and all of that earlier were, in a sense, doing what we would today call what you signaling. But when they realized the good that it would impact their ability to do all the things that they wanted to do, which the Congress was predicated upon, because the whole Congress's platform was social change and a certain kind of progressive progressivism, which then those fundamental rights got in the way of.


So, you know, how was all of that sort of playing out? Was this clash between fundamental rights and politics kind of inevitable in the way the last few years shaped up? Or was it sort of contingent upon the circumstance of Nehru being the person who happened to be the prime minister? What is your sense of that? Um, a quick word about that quote, so that's a whole school of Indian history would kind of subscribe to that view.


And I think I reference that to Sunil Khilnani. But of course, there are also others like Barry Anderson cetera. And it's so partition, for example, was something that was framed in Congress circles as a price that they had to pay to have a centralized state under their own control. And that kind of reflects again, I said I think the kind of testifies to the idea that I think that the Congress was quite committed to a centralized state under its own control.


And I mean, one of the sticking points throughout the 1930s and 1940s in Indian politics is the Congress demand to be taken for, you know, the Congress, demand for the British to consider it the sole representative of the nation. And ultimately, that's what becomes a stumbling block. It becomes a stumbling block in the 40s with the rise of the Muslim League because it becomes a position that's completely untenable. You know, once the Muslim League wins the majority of Muslim seats, it becomes quite apparent that the Congress doesn't represent the entirety of the nation because they lose quite badly in the Muslim seats and that kind of idea still.


But the idea doesn't really die because the thing is, it's thought that that problem has been overcome or at least sidelined with partition. And so once the exercise to write the Constitution, etc. begins, you have token representation of other groups.


And I think it's done with the idea that, you know, you give the impression that it's a very representative assembly. But as people never tire of pointing out, even during this constant assembly debate, it's essentially a one party body in a one party country. There is no other party and party that dominates. The constituent assembly also holds the levers of executive power. And once the constitution comes into force and you everyone knows that an election is going to be held, it also creates a kind of incentive for people who are already, you know, in the constituent assembly and to kind of to.


The orders that come from Naren Patel, because a lot of them want to be re-elected and the only way that they will get their nominations is if they keep the party bosses content. And so that's, again, contemporary sort of articles in the press speak about this openly. So. And then, of course, you also have. The kind of decline of Sardar Patel, because he's by the mid 1970s, is actually bedridden for most of the time and he passes away in 1950 and by then Nehru is already more or less ascendant.


I talk about it at some point in the book with the ANC Congress, where in Patel's absence, you know, Nehru kind of has his own way. And eventually after Patel's death, really, you have a system where Nehru is such a political colossus that there is no one really in the cabinet who can, you know, stand up to him or put forward a strong alternative position. Um, uh, Nehru's biographer, Socio-Political political Paul, who is actually very sympathetic to to Nehru, you know, calls it a sort of collection of mouldering mediocrities.


And so the context is that the. Political capital that now brings to bear, much like today, ensures that he is capable of getting getting his own way. And I think I make a reasonably strong case in the book for arguing that much of it is driven by Nehru's own personal investment in these policies rather than any sort of great pressure from the states, because he resists the pressure when, uh, for things that he kind of feels very strongly about and.


On the other side, equally, you have. Figures like S.V., Mukherji or even Kunzru or even Kripalani, who then resigned from the Congress there, they're very articulate. They're very good at, you know, the sort of ins and outs of parliamentary debate. But unfortunately, no one has the kind of political organization or the public standing to mount a significant challenge. And I think that's kind of interesting.


Thing to note, because it has so many contemporary echoes the way like we we sort of conceptualize today.


Yeah, I mean, those contemporary echoes are, you know, sort of echoed, as it were, throughout my reading of the book when, you know, because in our modern times as well, we seem to have a single party which is utterly dominant as it was then. We have a larger than life figure in charge of that party. You know, you just repeated a quote about the quality of Nehru's cabinet and a similar thing could possibly be said about this one, about, you know, how eminences like I don't churi, for example, were just sidelined in 2014 and you've got a much bigger cabinet than you could have.


And equally, you have worries about the Constitution, about how it's been degraded and sort of made meaningless and how that particular arm of the state is being strengthened as compared to the others. Dodo's, you know, one could argue today that the Constitution was already degraded, that you talk of the you know, I'm struck by something a couple communities said on Twitter where somebody was complaining about the murder of democracy and when these recent fumbles were possibly the word, which was a murder of democracy.


But as Kapil pointed out, it was not just murder, it was also mimicry because it's all happened before. And your book is very instructive in that regard. And, you know, I used to often joke about how, you know, despite blaming NATO for everything, Modi is actually, you know, a victim in many ways. I mean, and what I mainly meant was the whole central planning top down approach of the economy. But even with the approach towards poverty approach to the Constitution, it's extremely similar.


So tell me a little bit about what NATO's imperatives and his incentives at the time were, because he came in late 1950s when the Constitution is that he is aware that he is part of a government which hasn't yet got a popular mandate. It's a transitional government. In that sense. He needs a popular mandate, part of that mandate, this on fulfilling the promises he has made. Those promises include the seminary reforms and, you know, reservations and so on and so forth, the whole social progressive element of it.


And suddenly he inherited this constitution is in the way, you know, what the hell is going on. Tell me a little bit about the sort of, you know, what are his imperatives? And I was responding to them.


I think there are several, actually. So one, of course, is the fact that Nehru is especially with the Mindarie abolition, that's a policy that Nehru's personally invested in and personally identified with. So the Congress party runs a tremendous sort of public contact program really for for the Mindarie abolition. I think in yuppy alone, there were like 35000 public meetings. Probably Bihar had a similar number. And so there's a lot of political capital that's being that's being invested in this.


And, you know, from the top to the bottom, from, you know, small time leaders like district presidents to more senior figures such as, well, Nehru himself, but also figures like chanting and, you know, Sebago, etcetera, who are very, very both vocal and kind of committed to a particular form of seminary abolition and land reform. And of course, the Congress, having acquired the levers of power, is also a bit I think the easiest way to describe it would be suffering from a slight hangover of Raj, because it's hard to convince the public that having gotten rid of one set of rulers, the other side of rulers do not have similar powers or are constrained by notions of constitutionalism or legality.


So when the kind of first judgment which is the staying of the Bihar Act happens, it comes as a huge shock, not only because it's a kind of takes a sort of sledgehammer to their political capital because it shows everyone that their word is not infallible, but also because it's something that has been discussed over and over again within the constituent assembly. And it was something article. The right to property is something that had been debated extensively and passed as a form of compromise between those who were kind of votaries of strong and strong right to private property and those who felt that it would come in the way of Zameen Darrion land reform.


So this was something that had not been really considered possible. Mindarie abolition had been considered a done deal, and plenty of Congress figures are on record saying this is going to happen regardless of anything else, you know, quote. Such as? Constitution or no constitution? The victory abolition will come into place, so once they realize that it can't, it kind of leads to a sort of real shockwave within the Congress party. And many suspect that with the money and the sort of local power that many of the seminars have and can, you know, bring to bear that there is the forthcoming election is is something to be, you know, to be really thought about.


Because from the other side and there are some Mindarie parties which are in the fray and many of them are quite confident about about being able to take on the Congress. So that's another thing that Nehru is acutely, acutely conscious of, that going back to the people without fulfilling what he has personally promised would amount to a kind of betrayal. And he says this in several letters to his chief ministers and to his colleagues that it's something that he doesn't want to countenance equally.


It's also something that state chief ministers do not want to countenance. And Bihar definitely doesn't want to countenance that. And they become like the first sort of people to demand a constitutional amendment to pass their law. There is, of course, a kind of longer story connected to that law, which is that Bihar law is the only one that is found to be unconstitutional, unlike similar laws and yuppy. And later in Vastra, the Poppy Harlow has basically held to be unconstitutional on a technicality, not because it violates the right to property, but because it violates the right to equality.


And so no one honestly believes that seminary abolition is under, you know, such a serious threat that a constitutional amendment is needed. I mean, no less a person than the president of the republic not writing the rights to Nehru to tell him that no such eventuality seems to have arisen. But I think it's, again, just a temptation to take a shortcut to have your own weight because it's politically expedient. It sort of trumps I feel that Trump's commitment to the kind of ideals that the publicly professed and this was, of course, as you point out in your book, there are three prominent pain points in which the Constitution got in the way of what the government wanted to do.


And this was one of them just to sort of get into the weeds and summarize briefly. And you can tell me if I'm summarizing it correctly. Well, you know, it was, of course, challenged on the grounds of both the right to property and the right to equality. But the high court, when striking it down in Bihar, invoked the right to equality policy because, you know, they were giving unequal compensation to those. I mean, those in the sense that the small I mean, those were getting up to 20 times the annual revenues while others were getting eight times.


And some of the biggest ones were getting three times or something like that. And, you know, which they felt increased the right to equality. Is that correct? That would you say the growth? Yeah, you're right. Yeah. And, you know, you've quoted a bunch of letters that Nehru has written. You know, on October 18, 1950, he wrote to freakishness, you know, who was the CMO behind Nehru says, quote, I am as concerned as you are with these scribblings of lawyers coming in the way of a social progress.


I entirely agree with you that we shall have to consider seriously an amendment of the Constitution. I am consulting the law ministry in regard to it. Good. And then again, you quote him in a letter to all the CM's on December 18th, where he says, quote, Recent judgments of some high courts have made us think about our Constitution. Is it adequate in its present form to meet the situation we have to face? We must accept fully the judgment of our superior courts, which if they find that there is a lacuna in the Constitution, then we shall have to remedy that.


Stockwood, it sort of reminds me of, I think, the quip. I forget if it's Weibrecht or however that, you know, if the people don't like the government, then the government shall have to elect the new people or something of that sort where a Nehru's perspective is, does the Constitution fit what we want to do rather than the other way around? And like you pointed out, you know, everyone was saying that, you know, where have the courts actually set back the Mindarie reforms?


Are any sugar land redistribution as an issue? It's very easy to leave it in the Constitution and just revert the law a little bit to take care of these. But Nehru doesn't get to do that. So this is one of the fault lines. Tell me about the sort of the other two fault lines and, you know, the key cases and sort of those records.


So the other two fault lines are one of causes of preservations, community based reservations, and the other, which is the fault line, which the book begins with, is over. And I think something that's possibly the most relevant to the contemporary period is the question. The right to freedom of speech, because, um, we we start with, uh, I at least I start the book with this, the case of the communist detainees in in Salem who are I mean, there's a scuffle in Salem Prison.


And then finally they sort of enrage policemen, lock these, uh, prisoners into a hole and then open fire at them, uh, at point blank range. And I think, uh, some 200 end up getting shot.


And there are, uh, I, I don't remember off the back of my head, but if I can. I think you've pointed out how it all begins with these detainees in Bombay, they realize after 26, Jan, the Constitution comes into place and these guys realize that according to Article 22, they cannot be indefinite detention and tension without access to a advisory board and no such advisory boards existed.


So obviously, the Bombay High Court doesn't buy the government's contention that the Constitution doesn't have retrospective effect or that law predates the Constitution and they're let loose. And of course, that's the kind of one of the first cases that brings, you know, the fundamental rights into play. But then there's a kind of bigger question which comes up after the shootings of the of the detainees in Salem in in cold blood, because there is a kind of there's a left leaning magazine called Crossroads, run by the young Ramesh Tapper, who is coincidentally the brother of the famous historian Romila Tapper.


But Sodomised Harper's magazine, you know, eviscerates Nehru and the Congress and it ends up getting banned in the Madras province. And Thapar, of course, is not one to take it lying down. He launches a collection. His readers sort of contribute to the effort. And eventually a petition is filed in the, um, in the Supreme Court arguing that the ban is unconstitutional. And this is it's mirrored on the other side in in Delhi, where a pre censorship order is, um, served against the organizer, which is the weekly news magazine of the RSS.


And essentially the the reason the government is upset with them is that they have been criticizing the Nehru government's policies towards Pakistan in the context of what's been happening in Bengal.


Bengal had been seeing a lot of communal violence triggered mainly by a sort of state sponsored I mean, I wouldn't I wouldn't necessarily call it a kind of genocide, but sort of state sponsored communal attrition, really, in east Pakistan, which would, you know, led to a lot of refugees crossing over and obviously retaliatory violence in West Bengal. So Nehru had been trying to essentially work out a kind of agreement with Liaqat Ali Khan on how they would stem the tide of, uh, of the refugees.


And Nehru's peace overtures to Pakistan were heavily criticized in Bengal. They were very unpopular. And I mean, as expected, they were also very unpopular with the with the Hindu right, with the RSS. And so the RSS newsmagazine was criticizing him heavily, many right leaning public figures such as. Mukerji. And, you know, uh, someone like the Hindu Masaba leader, uh, Mandic Bridgenorth, were kind of clamoring for some sort of stern action against against Pakistan and this this kind of demand for stern action.


So white echo everywhere, even even within the Congress party. Uh, there are there are letters from Nehru who, um, who suspects that, uh, this this kind of viewpoint is being encouraged by Patel. And so. Finally, he he kind of demands action and obviously action is taken, a censorship order is passed, and the British Bhushan, who's the sort of print and publisher of the organization Kameruka News and the editor, again take the matter up to the Supreme Court and any kind of petition is filed.


And both cases are heard kind of concurrently up in the Supreme Court, which finally gives out its judgment in May. And they're both now quite well-known cases. Bhushan versus the state of Delhi and Ramish stabilises the state of Madras. And, um, the court's judgment basically lays out quite clearly that the ability of the state to bridge the right to free speech was limited to the exceptions that had already been written into the Constitution, which were libel, slander, defamation, contempt of court, or undermining the security of the state.


But the undermining of the security of this of the state had to create essentially was quite a high standard. It had to be undermined to the extent where it where the word disorder was of such a magnitude that it imperiled the security of the state or like it had the potential to overthrow the state. And obviously this did not reach that standard. So the court not only countermanded both orders, it also held the relevant parts of the legislations that were used, the public safety and public security acts to be aggravators.


And in that kind of really through, uh, the government's, um, point off, because Patel obviously, as he told it, kind of knocks the bottom line out of our ability to really control the press. But for Nehru, it was an even bigger problem because he thought that this was something being done to undermine his piece of research, Pakistan or to, in a way, for example, the rights to Rajagopalan. And he tells them all of this is propaganda to try and push and bully me into war.


And it's a war that he doesn't want to have. And it's curious to note that this is a demand that is also made within certain sections of the Congress party and his government, because eventually when his finance minister, John Motti, resigns, he, John McCain becomes one of the first people really to publicly describe Nehru's policies towards Pakistan as appeasement. And he becomes the kind of first one of the first uses of all of that. And for Nehru, this sort of criticism of his Pakistan policy, he sees it as effectively a tool being used to undermine his overture to Pakistan.


He suspects that there is there is support for that position within within the Congress. He, as I note in the book, he berates Patel, telling him that his actions haven't been enough, and I quote, no, obviously rights to Patel not not completely satisfied with what is going on. I think we have taken up far too lenient in attitude towards those in India who encourage this communal feeling of hatred and violence. The Hindu Masaba talks about a parrot, which is a direct incentive to conflict.


The belief that retaliation is a suitable method to deal with Pakistan or what happens in Pakistan is growing. That is the surest way to ruin for India and Pakistan. And just I mean, even Patel, who has been physically been deferring to Nehru on this matter, is kind of taken aback by an air of criticism. And he notes, again, I court action has been circumscribed only by the provisions of the law as interpreted by our legal advisers and the high court.


We put thousands in jail and adopted a policy of release only after we were continually attacked on the score of maintaining civil liberties. And then he reminds Nehru, We are now faced with a constitution which guarantees fundamental rights right of association, right of free movement, free expression and personal liberty, which further circumscribed the action we can take. That means that for every executive action, there must be legal justification. If within these limits you feel that our policy towards communal organisations has been lenient, steps can certainly be taken in the manner you may suggest.


So we I mean, these this exchanges is a kind of good indication of how seriously this sort of criticism of office Pakistan policy was affecting Nehru or how indeed how, uh, determined he was to to find a way to kind of is not, you know, crutched at least to, uh, at least to. Really moderate as as far as he could, and then, of course, the second point of pain was the question of reservations, which had put Kanayo while we're on the subject, can I ask sort of a tangential question, which is something you wrote during the same one?


I just want to sort of point out to my listeners some of the dates involved, because you're not the one you mentioned about how you were sort of taken in by the phrase of the narrative going as fast as a bullet. And I was my jaw dropped open when I saw how far the courts actually worked in that time. Like you point out that, you know, the Constitution, as it comes on January 26, 1950, on 56, these communist detainees in Bombay filed a case and they are freed on February in two days in three.


And on February 11th, the other communist detainees in Salem start the whole thing, which ends with the, you know, the deaths of the 22 people. And that gets a crossroads to sort of, you know, write about that. And Nehru defends the state action, at which point I was struck by discord, by deprecation around. And if you forget who is talking about who, there are echoes of this which reverberate to this time where jeopardised utterances of Nehru, quote, The prime minister of India talked in the language of dictators when he maintained that we had to choose between security of state and freedom of the individual.


We must choose the former stockwood. And later on, Irshad Makoni, the editor of the organisation, which is the Orissa's Magwitch, you know, BENCIC case against the censorship order against it. He writes, quote, to threaten the liberty of the press for the sole offence of nonconformity to official view in each and every matto may be a handy tool for tyrants, but is only a crippling curtailment of civil liberties. In a free democracy, a government can always learn more from bonafied criticism of independent citizens than the fulsome flattery of charlatans.


Stockwood and later on you, in referring to the case by the organiser which was fought by and strategy strategy. You write about the case court. This case in itself was curious, succinct and informative and an example of a great tradition of liberal thought within the Hindu nationalist movement that now seems to have been lost and forgotten. Stockwood and you didn't elaborate on this in the book because the book is about something else entirely. But I nevertheless want to go on this tangent and ask you about this tradition of liberal thought within the Hindu nationalist movement.


And, you know, why is it lost and forgotten, as you describe it? What is your sense of it?


It's interesting that you mention that because there were several quotes. Of course, there's that one by Mulyani.


And I mean, there are many quotes, Bashar al-Assad, Mukerji, very, very eloquently defending the right to free speech and the fundamental rights and all of that. But I'm more interested by what you termed the liberal tradition within the sort of the Hindu nationalist movement. Yeah.


So, I mean, I mentioned it in the context of this because it's interesting that both Crossroads and the organizer basically criticise the Nehru government along similar sort of pathways. They criticized him for for being heavy handed, for trampling on civil liberties, for, you know, not taking oppositional views on board, for encouraging ideological conformity. And they criticize them using a kind of terminology that we would now recognise as quite distinctly liberal. So respect for individual freedom, respect for the right to free speech, tolerance of dissent and criticism, these are profoundly, profoundly liberal virtues.


And this argument is made by Kermani in his columns. This argument is made by ANC strategy, who again, by the way, is a former sort of in the loss of a stalwart in his submissions in court. And this argument is made by Prasad Mukherjee in his interventions in parliament and all sort of frame their arguments in these terms. Now, there is I'm sure a lot of people would say that that's just what was expedient at the time. And this is just a matter of kind of using the constitutional defences that you have to have your own way.


And that's perfectly I'm sure there was an element, an element of that. But equally, it to me looks like a kind of distinct liberal tradition because you have all the kind of the political element of it and the kind of a shepherd, the ideological element because. For want of a better word, I mean, the organizer does represent the official viewpoint of the RSS and what comes across to me is a kind of element of liberal thought which should realistically have been nourished and encouraged rather than clamped down on.


And that's, I think one of the more unfortunate parts of the whole story is the First Amendment, is the fact that the sort of NERU dispensation is willing to countenance the use of. Uh, the distinctly liberal legal and constitutional tools to clamp down. On a kind of ideological position that, while kind of discredited in the Peruvian era, did nevertheless consistently enjoy a sort of reasonable modicum of, uh, of public support. And I think that's something that, as a statesman, he should have seen through or should I mean, it's a kind of tradition that I feel should have been encouraged equally.


It's a kind of tradition that is lost because, uh. The ideological and political successes of all these people who are now I mean, if you ever go to if you ever see the inside of a BJP office, you will always have a huge portrait of of, uh, Sharpless ideology. But, um. Even within that stream of thought, people have really. Forgotten or maybe deliberately ignored, the fact that Mukherji was not the kind of, you know, bigoted, authoritarian figure that people might imagine him to be.


He was in many ways a sort of textbook case of classical liberalism. So that, again, that's a kind of very, very interesting part of the story with tremendous contemporary relevance. Yeah.


I mean, even before reading your book, you know, whenever I've come across the Mukerji narrative, it's in the sort of constituent assembly debates and the debates are had during the First Amendment. And it always struck me that, you know, if you just reproducer dialogue and you blanko the names, it would appear that it is definitely Shamo Mukherjee, who is a great liberal, and Aneta, who is a, you know, a dictatorial despot, as it were.


And here also it strikes me that one thing, which is, you know, I think certainly true is that it's very easy to appear virtuous in opposition because you can say whatever, but, you know, you can do all the signaling in the right way. It's like we don't even have to go as far back as an episode, even pre the 2014 elections. You know, Narendra Modi was making a lot of noises which would please liberals, especially about downsizing government, minimum government, maximum governance.


And the government has no business to be in business and all of those things. And obviously his actions have gone in the opposite direction. But he was making a lot of noises, even, you know, said Mansoor's of the Congress was on my show. And he said that even he approved of a lot of the rhetoric. So when Modi came to power, even Sulman of the Congress was cautiously optimistic that he'll actually deliver on some of those things.


But the imperatives of actually being in government seem to me to be quite different from the imperatives of, you know, being in opposition. For example, you know, when you are in that position of responsibility, where you have to sort of juggle a hundred different things and, you know, and actually get things done. Is it then a battle between pragmatism and principles, which lays out where you know, that they can say that it is OK for you to say whatever you want sitting where you are.


But I have the responsibility of being the home minister and therefore security does matter and you can leave your security freedom debate elsewhere. But I have to keep the country together. And these are, of course, in the fraught times. There has been so much trouble bringing the country together in the first place. So is that always a constant tussle where those who are in the opposition will always seem more virtuous than those in the government? Because you are judging those in the government by their actions while you're judging those in opposition by their words?


Yeah, I mean, there's true to a certain extent that's true. And there are. I tell often makes the case that as a as as the kind of person responsible for the nation's security, there are things that just need to be done. But equally, I think. It's there there's more happening than that, and the reason that comes through with the kind of internal opposition that is triggered within the Congress party and that comes from the sort of indications that things are not.


Obviously, there's often a gap between the ideals that, you know, nations and governments and political parties profess and the the imperatives of government, but that things are not really going as well as had been imagined, that there are plenty of indications to those indications come from the speaker at some point where he where he writes NERU, for example, to say to, you know, express his disapproval of the frequent recourse to the use of presidential ordinances. It comes from a sort of dissident congressman like figures like a.


. You know, of course, people can make the case that, you know, Kripalani was upset because he hadn't been made a minister and he hadn't, you know, won the election to the Congress presidency. And he was kind of sidelined. And perhaps some of his criticism did come from there. But if we are to kind of constantly simply assume an ulterior motive or a motive driven solely by by realpolitik, I think that would also be a bit unfair.


And the fact that perhaps it's it was easy for Mulyani and Mukerji executory to deploy the kind of rhetoric of liberalism while not being saddled with the responsibility of government. And in truth, we can never really have a firm firm answer to that question. But there are plenty of indications that even within the Congress, there was disquiet at the way things were being done. And you get that from quite senior, quite pivotal figures from Baginda Prasad, from Atara Kripalani, from, uh, you know, Jeremi Blanker, uh, and indeed from, uh, from, you know, some dissidents who kind of speak up during the debate.


And some of the things that are often said, both by NERU and by other figures within the establishment would, uh, I mean, quite shocking if not, you know, at least surprising, if not shocking to read. Because, I mean, you have figures like Matabele basically tells scenario that the real culprits are actually things such as the right to equality itself, which shouldn't be there. So there is a kind of disquiet within the Congress which would, I think, give some credence at least, or at least some reason for us to.


Give figures that are kind of if not 100 percent of our intelligence, at least 50 percent of our intelligence, and also, I mean, because he was part of the cabinet and he did quit in protest.


So, you know, he he could just have stayed a minister had he wanted.


Let's take a quick commercial break and then come back to continue exploring the fault lines that led to the First Amendment of the new constitution on the scene in The Unseen.


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Welcome back to the scene in The Unseen. I'm chatting with the historian predominating about his fabulous book With Americans Goes as Fast as a Bullet. Sixteen stormy days. And you know, while the pulldowns book, the narrative does go as fast as a bullet. My show is a little bit more leisurely, which is why we have reached the break and we have only finished two of the three fault lines that kind of led to the First Amendment being felt necessary by Zabala, Lerro or two of them, to quickly recap.


But of course. Right. He wanted to enact the reforms and that was struck down by the BEHA High Court and was you know, there was litigation in other places and the high court struck it down on the grounds of the right to equality. But it was also sort of challenged on the right to property. And even though experts felt that you could have redrafted those laws and got them through and made them constitutional, there was a man in a hurry.


The second, of course, is the free speech clause. Now we think of article nineteen one. I certainly do, as you know, being the opposite of the pristine First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution with sanctifies free speech. But in this particular case, it has a bunch of caveats. And the interesting thing is that the original constitution enacted in twenty six nineteen, 1960, had some of these caveats, but the First Amendment brought in a bunch more like public order and so on, which can be left open to the interpretation of government.


And there was a fault line there because he tried. He banned Crossroads, which was a communist magazine, and he tried to impose censorship on the organizer, the Artosis magazine. Both of those fine parties went to court and the law moved a little bit quicker than than it does today. And both of them won. So Naruse also now thinking, OK, not just right to property, not just write equality. There's also the right to free speech.


Where's a third for to put don't tell me a bit about how that came about short.


Just I mean, just before I move on to that, a quick kind of detour back to to what we are talking about was I think the when I mentioned that there was disquiet within the kind of Congress establishment as well. I think the most important indication of this as early as as April 1950 comes from Sardar Patel, whose letter to Nehru I quoted where he, you know, kind of reminds him of the fact that whatever they have to do has to be within constitutional bounds.


And now Patel is quite ambivalent about his commitment to to the expense of free speech. And he or Bushy-tailed, he once does not know that they will have to consider amendments to the Constitution at some point or that the sort of right to free speech was the result of idealistic exuberance. But Patel's letter is also a kind of its tone is very sarcastic. It notes things which I mean, it's basically telling Nehru things that, you know, you would expect a grade six students studying civics to to know.


And so I would see that as a kind of indication that even Patel did somewhere think that what Nehru was asking him to do was to essentially set aside constitutional bounds and contemplate action that would quite clearly breach constitutional norms. So I think. Knowing that we have to be willing to give some benefit of the doubt to figures like McCartney and McCartney, obviously we can't we can never quite know what they would have done in government. But we can give them some benefit of the doubt to say that the position that they were taking up were not simply the result of realpolitik, but also of some sort of ideological conviction.


In fact, I should clarify that when I said earlier question, I did not mean to cynically imply that in opposition you will be virtuous only because you are in opposition and vice versa. But I mean, there are complex currents in the affairs of men. So, you know, people do things for multifactorial reasons, many of which they themselves might not be aware of. So while I think in general we should take people at face value unless we have reason to believe otherwise, and at the same time, as a friend of mine like saying assume good will.


So, you know, there's no reason to do otherwise with either Mulyani or Mukherjee or the precautionary and or any of the eminences who kind of oppose the amendment. And while we're on the subject, I'll quickly quote from your book to show, With a wide range of opposition, there was to narrow at the same where you write, quote, Hindu nationalist Legazpi Mukerji and Magicka Gandhian Stallworth's leukocoria Kripalani committed socialist like Shibulal succeeded in Japan, rushanara and conscientious combustibles like weak government of Sudan and Sahai and Geikie Sharia jurists like Gunnamatta, NMC Joggler, peasant associations, editors, lawyers and businessmen, men whose ideological and editorial successors today might scarcely believe but would do well to remember that their predecessors held the views they did stockwood and value.


And I was also kind of, you know, before we get to the sort of the third fault line, I was also struck by a quote about Nehru and Patel, which I thought I'll ask you about later. But as we are on the subject now, where you wrote, quote, the commitment to civil liberties and individual freedom or the lack thereof represented a rare consensus between the two giants of Indian politics. Stuccoed who would have thunk? And I guess their scepticism towards fundamental rights, which, you know, as you pointed out, you know, Patel at one point said, reflected the, quote, idealistic exuberance, I guess would have gone for different reasons.


For Patel, it would have been that, look, I have a tough job to do. The security at stake there is you know, we take the nation for granted today. At the time Patel was a minister, he had just managed to cobble together almost in a new act of imperialism, as it were. And the priority was to hold it together. And the rights were in the way for Nehru. To be honest, he had been consistent all his political life about his values being social progressivism and all of the things that went along with that, like the Mindarie reforms and so on.


And again, the Constitution was sort of an impediment to that. Is that sort of a correct characterisation that they were coming from a different place, which was, you know, and the Constitution was a separate thing? And today we talk about the Constitution and the values it embodies as almost a holy and sacramental. But in those domun to esteems, it would not have had the place it did, even in the minds of those who drafted it.


You're right. I mean, there was a kind of sense of consensus between them on the Constitution, but they did approach it as you as you rightly point out, from from different angles and perhaps, yes, it didn't really have the kind of same sense of sanctity that it seems to have now, at least. I mean, I'm not sure how much sanctity it really has, at least in the public mind, a kind of sanctity attaches to it.


But it's interesting to note that when the Constitution first comes into force, everyone gives a statement saying, yes, you know, we have to maintain the sanctity of the Constitution, et cetera, et cetera. But on the other hand, when the amendment finally reaches parliament and it's criticised for the fact that it's being amended so soon without a general election by an unelected body, Nehru may appoint a kind of responds by saying that since we were competent to make it, we should be competent to amend it as well.


And I think that kind of just to support what you said, really, that it. And they saw it. As almost as something that was there as a kind of vehicle towards a particular end, perhaps, rather than an end end in itself, and that end nobody was quite sure of because Fornaro that end represented a kind of a particular kind of social progressivism. For others, it represented a kind of, I think, special leveraging the facade that represented a kind of stable property order.


And for quite others, it represented a kind of liberal democracy as they had come to expect by looking at at what had happened in Europe and America. And so nobly, I think, because there was no real. Kind of consensus on what exactly the end was, people saw it as a vehicle towards a particular end, but they didn't quite agree on what that what that end really was.


So can I ask you a broader question now that it actually set for the end? But again, we are sort of on the subject, which is I mean, the two broader questions, really. And the first one is about just this notion of what India should be, sort of the competing early ideas of India, which could even merge into one idea of India over, you know, as you've shown in your book. And they can mean different things.


And one is, of course, the sort of democracy Nehru had in mind, which would aim at a particular kind of social equality and social justice and so on and all of those things. And at the same time, a constitutional republic where you would be bound by certain rules of the game, which would constrain the behavior of the state and and, you know, circumscribe what the state could do to its citizens. And it seems to me that at the heart of this, there is an inherent contradiction.


And that contradiction has very much to do with how you think of means versus ends. While a very narrow thinking was that, look, my ends are there. These are the things I want to achieve and these are my means of doing so. And one could even argue that even those means are flawed because they are based on Top-Down thinking and they didn't actually get anywhere. But regardless of that could be his way of looking at it. While the constitutional way of thinking would be that the means that everything that you have to protect individual rights, you have to respect individual autonomy.


The citizen is a master of the state and not the other way around. And that's where all the fundamental rights come up. So do you think that there is and to me, it seems that, you know, your book describes a period of time where the people in power are at the heart of this conflict and they are choosing their democratic ends over constitutional means. And to do this are completely subverting the Constitution. And I mean, I really think we you know, as your book kind of makes explicit, we had a real liberal constitution for perhaps 14 months of our history.


And after that, we didn't. It's a periodical and whoever is in power does whatever the hell they want with it. So to your end, is this a tragic outcome that the two went in different directions, or is that conflict something that simply cannot be negotiated? It's just, you know, between being a democracy, what the popular will of the people is and constitutional values were.


So, I mean, I think at some level that conflict is kind of inherent in any sort of democratic set up, because the temptation to to do certain things or to kind of take shortcuts is is always there. And one of the arguments that's often deployed is that, you know, part and parcel of a democratic system is to reflect the will of the people. And Nehru deploys this argument, I think, in a flawed manner, because obviously there is has been no democratic mandate yet by saying that the legislature has to decide on matters of social policy and where wherever the Constitution comes in the way of the will of the people, then obviously the Constitution has to give way so that I don't think you can completely avoid that conflict anywhere but the answers that you reach or the sort of mechanisms that are devised to mediate that conflict, I mean, ultimately, that's that's where all of the action is.


And Nehru's view very much is of a kind that one would, you know, for example, expect somewhere in somewhere like Britain where parliamentary sovereignty is is kind of expensive and there is no written constitution. So whatever parliament does is, you know, ipso facto that it is constitutional, whereas a written constitution, by its very nature, is meant to contain and circumscribe the actions of the branches of government or the branches of the state, rather. And that's kind of.


I recently read political terrorism and of course, there's a book on the Constitution, and again, that's one of the arguments that he makes, is that one of the reasons that the Constitution is so lengthy was because they didn't simply want to delineate general principles, but to kind of contain and guide the actions of future legislators, judges and politicians in a particular direction. And that's one of the reasons why the Constitution goes into so much detail. And it's a point that Mukherji makes repeatedly when the amendment is introduced into parliament, saying that the very fact that if this is what we wanted to do, then we should not have had a written constitution in the first place.


Having a written constitution, especially one as detailed as ours, comes with a set of implications, which means that you are constrained in what you can do. And yes, there is a kind of system of amendment. But even for that system of amendment to be, you know, kind of scrupulously followed, you have to have an election and two elected houses of parliament. And so that conflict can be avoided. But the conclusions that Nehru came to certainly could have been.


And there were plenty of people who who disagreed with it. And I think in my opinion, they were right, I'm sure probably were others who felt differently. But once you normalize and again, if I can just go to the McCartney's retort to Nehru really makes clear where he says, you know, you may be in power for this generation or for generations unborn, but supposing someone else comes into government, what is the precedent that you're laying down?


And that's I think one of the most unfortunate consequences is that once you create a precedent and an avenue for something to be done, there's really nothing stopping someone else from utilizing the same mechanisms to the opposite effect. And that's kind of how and has been proven true. I think we all know have three kind of observations.


One is I had done an episode with the gun precaution of the emergency end and the point he made and you also quoted in the new book is that look what Indira Gandhi did in 75 calling the emergency was not unconstitutional or extraordinary. It was alienating the powers given to the state. Those extreme powers were given to the state. And, you know, that's in the design of the state, which to a large extent remains. The second thought that strikes me is that in this position that Nehru is taking in constitutional morality versus democracy.


And I agree with you that he took the wrong position. And in this position that he is taking, you could argue that in the long run, he is laying down the roots of the Hindu Rashtrapati, because if our society is such that the kind of dispensation that is in power today will one day get into the government, if you follow Nehru's argument to its logical end, then that means that these guys would be correct to change the Constitution, to reflect what they feel is a popular mandate that they have got.


And many of the people from, you know, Naruse party today would sort of perhaps not recognize that. But that's a logical end of Nehru's own kind of actions. And, you know, one common question that I often ask my guests, so much so that it's almost become a cliche and if you're sure you heard it in past episodes, is about this odd paradox of our Constitution, which is and let's go to the original 1950 constitution and imagine that the First Amendment isn't there yet and which is of a relatively liberal constitution being imposed on an illiberal society.


And, you know, then how liberal candidate in position be that a group of unelected elites, as it were, sitting and saying that these are the values that we should live by. And this is something that, you know, I feel conflicted about because those values, of course, I agree with. But at the same time, I can't square that circle and say, why should I? You know, the core part of my value system is that I shall not impose my values on others.


So, you know, how does one square that circle? What are your thoughts on this interesting question?


There is one very revealing quote. I'm not sure who who said it in the constituent assembly, but someone said, you know, we were expecting the sounds of the zeena and we got the sound of an orchestra or something. It's something like that. Essentially, many people felt that the Constitution wasn't rooted in that kind of in the social media in which it was it was being born. And the one of again, I kind of quote I'm quoting that, of course, lahav because his his his his most recent and study off of the Constitution, the argument is that the Constitution in itself is a kind of pedagogic document.


So by practicing. What the Constitution is giving you will be creating a kind of, uh, Democratic citizen rather than there being a kind of popular upsurge which results in the Constitution. And it's an interesting it's an interesting argument to make because there is a sense that's what people thought. But equally, it's I mean, people are not very willing to be kind of educated in in that way. Most and everyone kind of recognized that Ambedkar most prominently recognized that what was happening was that you were creating a kind of, you know, in his words, a lot of democratic topsoil stop soil based on the sort of subsoil of an undemocratic society.


And it was an experiment. It was, you know, most constitutional scholars, you know, journalists, et cetera. Everybody noted it was a kind of brave and great experiment in in democratic government. And that's one of the things that makes it so exceptional is the fact that it was a kind of leap of faith. But having committed themselves to. Up to it is the mistake that India's sort of early post-colonial elite made is the same that the British made when they first introduced, um, provincial legislate like popular legislators in the provinces, is that once you introduce a kind of democratic system or a constitutional system, you have to be at some level willing to be willing to bear the consequences that that accrue.


And that was something that the that the Indian elite was unwilling to do. Now we can make the case that there was, as an educator, make that there was a kind of grave threat to national security, to like public order. And we can debate whether there was. But equally, there are as many important figures who refuse to believe that such a thing existed, that there was such a grave threat. So I think squaring that that kind of circle requires.


He said certain broad based commitment to, uh, to to the constitutional ideal that was, I think, not quite present even within the Congress party, and that's I think we're still kind of struggling to to really square that circle because we've in a way. Uncorked a genie almost wet with the First Amendment, and obviously now it's been amended about one hundred and five times, I think possibly even more. And we're now at a point where without without kind of going back to and redeveloping a sort of consensus on constitutional first principles, really, it's difficult to even contemplate squaring that circle, because we if you ask the two sides of the political divide, they have almost completely diametrically opposite readings of what the Constitution is and what you know, what it represents.


And to square that is I mean, it's quite a difficult proposition.


I mean, now, as you said, it's a done deal, by the way. I mean, people don't realize this. People often express shock and horror when they think of the BJP wanting to amend the Constitution. But, you know, as I mentioned earlier, there was an old cartoon. And what I was read a book by the periodical and the economy. Shooty Rajagopalan, who's a frequent guest on the show, had once given a talk on YouTube, which are linked to issue talks about all the different amendments under Nehru to begin with.


So, you know, some people have this impression that the amendments and the messing around started with Indira Gandhi and Nehru was a constitutionalist. And that's just rubbish. Rubbishes, you know, your book and subsequent events also show the other thing that I'm kind of struck by to sort of continue thinking aloud and be on a tangent. Is that what we often have? What disturbs me today, especially about politics, is that politics has and I imagine it was you know, I would have thought it was less so that but, you know, who knows?


But what it has become is that it is tribal to the extent that people just care about which tribe they're part of and not about principles, spacy. So, you know, you'll have people protesting about 150 to year and to 95 when it's being used against one of their own. But they're quite happy to see it used against somebody else where, you know, how you judge a policy really comes down to which side you're on. And besides getting the policy out, like in these recent farm bills, for example, labels, you know, it's interesting how a lot of what has been enacted in these farm bills was part of the Congress manifesto in 2019.


And they're protesting those very same things. And therefore, it's become a politics of just tribalism. You you pick your side and you go with it or not, principles, policy. And therefore, it strikes me that no view that sort of really takes constitutionalism seriously is going to, you know, get any kind of traction because people don't care about principles even today. I mean, it's just about which side you're on and then you see whatever. But in practice, you don't.


I mean, this is a bit of an aside from me, I'm just thinking aloud. But what are sort of your thoughts on this? And going back to that time, was it a sense of it then because the parties weren't so hardened and, you know, different things from each other at the time? Well, you're right.


They don't really think in terms of those sort of principles. But as the book bears out, there didn't seem to be thinking that strongly about principles, you know, in 1951 either. And I think the way to really and principles, I feel like quite a sort of top down manner. The leaders have to demonstrate a commitment to constitutional morality if they expect it to kind of percolate downwards. And they just they just didn't. Right from the word go again, in the context of the book, you have, you know, at one point corroborate someone like me who, you know, intervenes at some point and ask them not to court things which are relevant at the time of the French Revolution and, you know, the American Revolution and the, uh.


So that was. I think a pivotal moment in demonstrating that constitutional principles could be undone in pursuit of a of a obviously political agenda in today's day and age, again, because it's something I think each precedent kind of builds on, on what comes before things get normalized very, very quickly. Things that we you know, laws such as, you know, 153 and 295, as you mentioned, which we now take for granted, is existing in the books.


We often don't remember that, you know, they were as intended by the constituent assembly. These were not supposed to be allowed to continue. So it's even back then, the situation was not drastically different. I mean, it was different to the extent that there was a sense of idealism and a particular dispensation was in power and remained in power for a very long time. But I don't think it was very different in terms of attitudes or in terms of commitment to constitutional principles, because if the Constitution itself is malleable and changeable, it can't really it obviously can lead to a kind of enduring legal norms if those norms themselves are subject to frequent change.


I think that's that's kind of what I would say to that. Really. Yeah.


And I'll again, sort of quote from your book, because we are speaking with 153 and 295 and there's also 124, which sedition. And you've pointed out in your book, quote, Far from being a simple remnant of colonialism, sedition is an outcome of the First Amendment of the Constitution and the NATO governments desire to clamp down on critical voices unencumbered by constitutional obligations, a truly deliberate and strategic assault on the Constitution and fundamental rights struggle. And so just clarify this for me, that my impression about these laws, 123, 150 to 295, was that any of the laws that are in the Indian penal code can be challenged if they are unconstitutional and struck down.


And that is what would have happened in the case of these laws in the normal course of things where the First Amendment added those other sort of caveats to free speech. And therefore, now, you know, these laws kind of remained on the books and therefore you're saying it's the responsibility of the First Amendment and NERU, therefore, that we have the law of sedition with us. Is that correct?


That's true. And not only the idea that there would have been struck down, in fact, they were struck down most prominently in the case of multitasking in Punjab when he was charged with sedition and the court held sedition to be unconstitutional. And sedition was I mean, it was very clear that it was unconstitutional. It was very clear that the Constitution Assembly didn't want it and they didn't want it, especially because of its association with repression in the British period, because most of the Congress stalwarts had been charged with sedition and jailed.


And it's a point they made repeatedly during the debate that this was an act that was used against their patriots and nationalists under under British rule. And we can't be I mean, we shouldn't really shouldn't be bringing it back on the books. But it was yes, you're absolutely right. They were they were unconstitutional and they were brought back. They were brought back for a particular end, we might say that, well, the ends that Nehru thought were benevolent or somehow justified, but they were they were brought back.


I mean, there was it's perhaps hard to imagine now, but there was a period in time where these sections of the Indian penal code were unconstitutional. You could not be charged with sedition in the year 1950 because it was an unconstitutional, uh, part of the APC. And I mean, I don't think that alone is responsible because obviously there has been plenty of opportunities to repeal it or replace it with something, something else. And they haven't been taken.


But Nehru is responsible to the extent that he creates a set of legal tools, which is he describes kind of quite ironically, as something that he wants to leave for the succeeding generations. And, well, here we are and here we are indeed.


So, you know, your book goes like a bullet may. This episode has been floating like a theatre. So let's kind of get back to the narrative and get back to the third line. We've already spoken about the seminary reforms, which the fundamental rights given the real threat to property rights, equality. We've spoken about how he wanted to control the press and the right to free speech, given the way of that and what support for.


So the third line is reservations. And that, again, is something that begins in Madras because, I mean, Madras had been the Madras province had. In a kind of crucible for social justice politics, with the creation of the Justice Party, the kind of appearance of Periyar and the Justice Party had kind of. Enacted as all of these, um, uh, these sort of mechanisms, social justice mechanisms amongst which was something called the communal general order, which allocated government, uh, employment and access to educational and government educational institutes in a particular ratio amongst amongst communities.


It was quite a peculiar instrument because what it did was it kind of allocated seats, for example, in a particular ratio. And so if the ratio was I think it was something like for every 14 seats, uh, five could be Brahmins and three would be something else. So there would only be five Brahmins. And it didn't matter if it was, uh, I mean, it was it was almost a kind of iron clad quarter, a kind of government sanctioned distribution, almost in a particular ratio rather than the way we understand reservations now.


And so if only seven Brahmins were allowed in, the number of Brahmins could not be greater than seven, for example, or the number of items that were allowed was six out of 14, then they could not be six out of 14. It's not as if someone could get, uh, greater marks and go into another quarter. So everyone was really subject subject to this, to the system of quarters.


And that was challenged by a woman named Champak Dryden, who had interestingly not even actually applied for admission, but wanted to apply for admission and had been effectively told that her grades wouldn't allow her in through the Brahmin quota. And obviously there were other people with lower grades who would get in from, you know, their own community based quotas. And so she she kind of files a petition in the high court in Madras and the high court in Madras after a kind of it raises quite a lot of passion because it's a kind of great it's a question that, you know, touches upon a lot of lives and you have a lot of protest, etc.


. The court holds a kind of interesting, interesting position. So what the court effectively does is the court. Finds Decmil General Order unconstitutional, but what it also notes is that considerations of caste and community were not only not allowed, they were expressly taboo. And that's that's the kind of language it's quite stern, the language the court uses. And they keep saying basically that the right to equality and the right to freedom from discrimination will effectively become empty bubbles if the executive orders, like the communal general order, are allowed to be implemented or allowed to continue.


So basically, again, an interesting aside, the petitioners were represented by the noted lawyer, Oladi Krishnaswami, a lawyer who again had been one of the key architects of the Constitution and also someone who advised the government on the amendment, which nullified a court order that he himself had, one which I still find the kind of intellectual summersaults that many of these people perform to be quite interesting. But the Madras government basically submits in court. It doesn't it it it never really argued that the quotas don't amount to discrimination.


What it said was as a result of applying the ratio prescribed by the criminal G.O. 77 Brahmins to 24 non Brahmins, 51 Christians, 26 Muslims and 26, hydrogen's had been selected for admission to engineering colleges. If caste and community considerations had been ignored, the numbers would have been 249 Brockman's, 112 non Brahmins, 22 Christians, three Muslims and zero hydrogen's. So to avoid this sort of system and to fulfill what they saw as their responsibility under the directive principles of state policy, they had created this this order.


But again, the court and if you don't mind, I'll just quote like from the from the court order. Again, what they say is the communal geode denies equal treatment for all citizens under like circumstances and conditions, both in the privileges conferred and the disabilities imposed. It shuts out students having high qualifications solely on the grounds of the cost of religion and lets in others with inferior qualifications on the same ground as the articles of the Constitution stand. At present, it is difficult to see how the state can make discrimination between applicant and applicant on the grounds of religion or caste and restrict the number of seats that could be secured by applicants of any particular religion or caste, or prescribed different qualifications to applicants of different religions or course to the advantage of some and the disadvantage of others.


Does social justice or the welfare of the state require a suppression of the integrity and freedom of the individual personality of the citizen by reason of his belonging to a particular caste? And so the court is quite strict. And it I mean, even. Even when the end, the judgment, and I quote quote again, is the person in charge for the time being of a state elected, no doubt by a majority of voters at the polls, were free to enforce their own notions of social and economic justice unfettered by constitutional restraints.


There's a possibility of serious and undeserved hardship and injury to large classes of citizens. Declaration of a guaranteed right in Article 15. One of the Constitution would be worthless if the government could disregard or nullify it by executive acts like the communal general order. And so the court is I mean, effectively, what it is saying is that any form of consideration of cost or community or religion into questions about employment or education is expressly taboo. And what's I mean, what's basically prevented by the SEC, the sort of chapter on fundamental rights, cannot then be enabled through the back door by the chapter on director principles.


And again, what the courts really need is a kind of bastion of not really bastion, but a kind of bedrock of constitutional thought that fundamental rights effectively trump the directive principles of state policy. And this is something that the Nauru government doesn't completely agree with. And it's interesting to read Naruse responses to this, because the directive principles of state policy are kind of a hodgepodge of of all sorts of things, including, you know, some concern education, some concerned backward class welfare.


But equally, there are others which can concern animal husbandry and protection of cows. And if that again, as something that we discussed earlier on, if, for example, someone was to take Nehru's position with respect to the article and the directive principles with regard to protection of cows, what could then? You know what it could lead to something sort of consequences that we would today be, you know, be right to question. So, again, anyway, this this judgement comes in.


It really shocks the Madras government because the Madras government is this has been an article of faith in Madras. Initially, of course, the Congress had opposed it when it was the Justice Party doing it. But, uh, this kind of social justice politics had adequate deep roots in in Madras. And the Congolese government had continued with those policies. It was committed to reservations as an ideal. There was, crucially, again, the question of an election coming up.


The McGraths Congress was right in its fears that there was a possibility that it would lose. And so they were quite I mean, this is something that caused a lot of agitation within Madras. Interestingly, this is a question out of like the three sort of faultlines that you mentioned. This is the one that Nehru was the least invested in. So even though there was plenty of pressure from Madras to completely override Article 15 and also I think Article 29, which prohibits discrimination in the matter of admissions to educational institutions receiving state aid, uh, this was something that Nehru caste was something specifically that Nehru was kind of loath to address, I would say.


And so it's unlike the other two in which his mind is quite firmly made up. This third fault line takes a while to kind of build. There's pressure from Madras. The chief minister comes to Delhi to speak to her ministerial delegations from Delhi come to speak to him. Uh, the initially Naruse advice is for them to rewrite. The criminal general order to be in conformity with the Constitution and but of course, eventually he comes around and I think and the election, this is slightly hazy because it's something that is both in a way, there is a kind of consensus that.


This state should be committed to the welfare of of backward classes of citizens and in a way, there's no real clarity as to what it implies, because there had been no unlike the question of the scheduled course which had been tackled in the Constitution, this was still a sort of work in progress. Nobody really knew what it was going to entail or who was going to kind of be classified as a as a backward class, what criteria would be used.


So some of the opposition that came, of course, to the amendment did note that there was no clarity on this. There was, um, there was no real way to tell what the what the consequences would be and no way to really tell whether it would be misused by the state, although many suspected that it would be misused by the state. So it's this is, I think, the kind of that in which NERU was less the driving force and more the kind of, uh, I think his his role was more or less like he he wasn't against it, but he was not something that he was strongly concerned with.


So I think it just it just the fact that the three things kind of came together, uh, sort of provided him with an opportunity to, you know, create the constitutional architecture for. Something that they might want to do in the future and just I mean, just just as a sort of last point, and this is something this is something that's not very clear in their correspondence. But I would suspect that it was one of the sort of ways where how someone like Ambedkar was brought to agree with with the whole amendment and with the whole sort of broad contours of the amendment, because we know that Ambedkar was.


Uh, not quite in agreement with the strand of it that targeted free speech, for example, and so I think my just have it might also have been a way of kind of sort of neutralizing a dissent by bringing in several elements into one package, really.


So let me try to, you know, parse and put in simple terms what this particular judgment would have meant and what the court's point of view would be. And you can tell me if I'm summarizing it correctly, is that the court basically referred to the fundamental right of equality and said that, look, the state has to treat everyone equally. That means the state cannot discriminate on the basis of cost. And these reservations are in this discrimination on the basis of cost.


Now, you might justify it in this instance saying this is my lofty goal and the you know, this is how this will let me get there. And that is an entirely separate argument. I mean, today, of course, reservations are conflated with getting about cost. So, you know, it's deeply politically incorrect to make an argument that, you know, there are better ways to get rid of caste reservations might actually be a top down thing that make them worse or can be misused.


But leave that aside, even if it is a tool that would work. The point that they're making is that once you give in to the temptation of infringing this fundamental right of equality for whatever reason, then what is to stop a popular argument in the future from also infringing it for some reason of their own in some other way that they deserve it, and therefore it is better that we hold it as sacrosanct and just stick to it. Would that be a correct summation?


Yeah, I think that was more or less the court's reasoning. They were they were quite certain and they said quite clearly that if any government elected by a majority of the voters were allowed to have, you know, put their own considerations, express their own considerations through these sort of executive acts, then the entire I mean, Article 15 of the Constitution would effectively become worthless. And the court those are the court's words. So that's yeah, that's a correct summation of the position.


Interestingly, one of the sort of questions that comes up is how do you define social and educational backwardness? Are the two, you know, synonymous and how much of a consideration is cost and how much of a consideration are other questions? And one of the key points of the amendment is, is that it leaves out any mention of economic circumstances. So the only way what it effectively did was the only way in which such backwardness could be charged was on the basis of cost.


So economic considerations were expressly disallowed. And so that in itself has led to the kind of it's it's that debate in itself goes on now and questions the on issues about like, for example, the idea of the criminal that, you know, it comes up every time a question about reservations reaches the courts, about how do you exclude people who are supposedly socially backward but economically well-to-do. And many of these debates go again, go back to this kind of this moment in time.


And so, again, on the question of Article 15, when the amendment was discussed within the cabinet, there's a rare sort of, uh, uh, a sort of consensus on what should be done, because from Madras, the idea is that there should be alteration of Article 15, but also Article 29, which had prevented discrimination in the matter of admissions to two educational institutes. And they basically wanted an amendment to the effect stating that nothing in Article 15, Article 29 two would prevent special provisions for the educational, economic and social advancement of the backward classes and the Cabinet.


I think most were of the belief, or at least that's what was expressed, that there was you know, this could not be misused for any class discrimination that was against the spirit of of the Constitution. There was, I think, broad based consensus that the spirit of the Constitution implied. That measures were taken for for social justice, measures were taken for kind of the advancement of backward classes. But again, if I am just going to quote directly from my book, in a new twist, the cabinet also recommended that all references to economic and economically be dropped and the language be limited to socially and educationally backward classes.


Through this sleight of hand, the Cabinet sought to achieve two objectives. First, it would remove any prospect of economic criteria coming in the way of calculating the backwardness of a class based on their social and educational standing. Second, it would preempt and negate any demands for special provisions or reservations for those who could be termed economically backward without the corresponding status of social or educational backwardness. So basically they wanted power to legislate for reservations, but equally they wanted to prevent a kind of open ended, almost race to a race to the bottom, because as again, as far as giving, you know, quite pointedly intervenes in the debate.


And he says when the question of backwardness, while 90 percent of the country is backward and there is no way of really differentiating who's educationally and socially backward. Through the use of the lens of cost and community, but of course, I mean, that was not a popular position. And so the exclusion of economic backwardness from the kind of ambit of Indian reservation policy was, again, something that can be traced back to the First Amendment. And I think, again, the cabinet and many of the parliamentarians were not quite certain as to how the process or the policy of reservations was going to be developed because it was something that had yet to really be, you know, finalized.


I think the first backward class commission was appointed much after this. So I think today many of the questions that we would consider today, questions about recent before the 2009 elections, of course, the government announced a kind of preservation policy for economically weaker sections. And of course, the question of the Kronmiller within within the backward classes keeps cropping up. And again, that's a question that goes back to the First Amendment. And I think that's it's one of most interesting sort of fault line of the three.


It's probably possibly the most interesting, because at the time, it also seems to be the least important, the least amount of attention is paid to it, except in the South, where Periyar railed against the judgment in rallies and the Times of India, you know, wrote about called Crusader's for a separate standard once again on the march stockwood. And I imagine this would also have sort of put pressure on Nehru that, you know, the center must hold.


These political imperatives also matter, along with all the factors you mentioned before, such as, you know, maybe keeping America enthusiastic was part of the mix. So now that, you know, all these three, four planes have come together and you've repeatedly quoted two different parts of the book, basically shitting on the Constitution, saying that, hey, we need to kind of you know, if the Constitution isn't going along with us and we must get, you know, change the Constitution and you sum it up very well here.


So I'll quickly put this book where you write at the time of the you know, just before the First Amendment is happening, you write, quote, The prime minister was essentially making three claims. First, that the failure of the Congress or, you know, when confronted with the Constitution should be regarded as an intolerable situation, since he did not want to face the populous and be accused of breaching his promise, the Constitution would have to give way to the primacy of the Congress program.


Second, that the social policies devised by elected legislatures sites of popular sovereignty being held unconstitutional by the courts was a denial of democracy. Even if the legislatures had been elected on a distinctly limited and narrow franchise in true Democratic spirit, the Constitution would have to bend to accommodate the will of the people as represented by a legislature elected indirectly and on a limited franchise. Could the three pillars of the state, the judiciary, the executive and the legislature were not equal.


The executive was to create and give effect to social policy, and it was to have primacy over the other wings of the state, especially the judiciary. It was a slippery slope structure. And separately, in an interview, you've spoken about how the First Amendment showed the judiciary its place. So what is the process like now? So, you know, he wants to, you know, his own cabinet members like Ambedkar Dadaji and whoever are on board with him.


And Patel dies in December 1950. And the First Amendment actually goes for, you know, all the voting happens in fifty one. So what's happening? You've spoken about all the opposition leaders are kind of gathered around in. But what's the overall sort of what's happening in the political space? Like if Republic TV existed, what would they be showing? They would still be showing film stars taking drugs, actually. So answer that question.


But interesting that you you mention what the media would be showing because. If you were to simply go by Naruse utterances, the media didn't seem to be all that different back in the day, even though we know it was, but now who consistently rails against the media? And one of the things he keeps saying is what will be the effect of on, you know, on our soldiers and what will be the effect on our youth is reading this trash.


So I think he might have probably written the same thing, same thing about the public, but to go back to your question, Nehru makes this claim the sort of three claims that you mentioned, and he makes them quite, quite strongly. So there is there is a letter where he basically says that the job of the government is no longer simply to, you know, to make policy. It is now to basically direct social change and to see it through.


And he's firmly committed to that line. Politically, things kind of progressively reach at least what he thinks as a kind of difficult time, because he's I mean, the abolition is something that he is very committed to both Patel's death. There is no real challenger within the Congress establishment. And as the sort of new year kind of opens, there's the feeling that there has to be a sort of reckoning with these questions. So what happens is and again, this is, to Nehru's credit, is that Nehru initially aims to hold elections in the summer of 1951.


He's kind of stopped because of obstructionism by the states. Many of the states, mainly for these reasons, are kind of not quite ready to, uh, to test their popularity. And you can kind of see why, because, for example, in Madras, the Congress fails to win a majority in the first election. So there's a kind of obstructionism that happens in the states. Nehru presses his chief ministers quite hard without success. And so elections are eventually delayed.


And of course, that kind of gives them enough time to basically address these issues before going into election. So basically, if I could, on the morning of 25th January 1951, the Congress Working Committee meets at Congress headquarters. And again, the question, as reported by the press, is they discuss the question of how to galvanize the Indian National Congress, is to maintain its moral and political hold over the people. Over the final quarter of would sort of tail end of 1950, there had Sardar Patel had died and there had been the formation of a kind of dissident unit within the Congress called the Democratic Front, led by Kripalani and Raffia McKelvey.


There was kind of speculation that several senior figures could quit. The Nehru government itself had been had, you know, three major ministerial resignations over 1950, Matari Mukherjee, Neoguri.


And it's sort of surreal to look back now and read the kind of press reports because there are several editorials which keep questioning me. They will Congress survive in its present form, you know, what will be the future. And there so I think even if it seems surreal to us now to look back and think, well, you know, why would people doubt the ability of the Congress to survive? And in 1951, there were several who did. And so I think this this kind of backdrop is important to remember.


And I think that kind of gives impetus to this kind of feeling that all these questions now have to be tackled head on before they go back to the people. And, of course, the Allahabad High Court then stops the yuppy. It grants injunctions against the upcoming Abolition Act, which it takes up for examination. And that kind of builds this idea that there's almost the government is sort of under a form of judicial siege, because these are I mean, these are quite big sort of cornerstones of of government policy.


So as things build up over the first few months of 1951, you have in January, you have the Allahabad High Court judgement, which effectively stays the operation of the UPA act. You then have in March the judgment of the Buttner High Court, which declares the BEHA Act to be unconstitutional. And then you also have a sort of in between.


You have all of these things kind of brewing in the background you have once, you know, my satirising has been released, as I pointed out in a previous part of the conversation, he kind of declared his intention to bring on board invites the communists and the Hindu Masaba to join him on a common platform. There is this sort of Democratic front, which is, you know, bubbling within the Congress. So there are all of these I wouldn't really class it as political turmoil.


But there's all this there's a lot of politics going on, going on in the background. And I think it kind of leads to a situation where progressively the government there have been adverse judgments in, you know, on huge matters of policy, on reservations, on abolition. And progressively the impression that one gets from reading Nehru's correspondence is a kind of feeling of siege almost. And there is within the Congress broad backing for for a kind of collision with the Constitution and the judiciary.


And when matters finally reach a head, there is and you notice that there is more or less almost I wouldn't say universal consensus, but there's more or less like enough support within the Congress party for the amendment to be contemplated. And it's done. They start drafting it as early as March, even though Neru publicly keeps denying that an amendment is coming or, you know, assures, for example, he attends a meeting of the or the newspaper editors conference where he assures them that the freedom of the press is something that is very dear to them.


And they take it to mean that he has dropped the idea for a constitutional amendment. And, you know, they thank him voluminously for for his generosity. So there's there's a lot that's going on. And politically, the kind of sense that I get is of consistently every government consistently being forced onto the back foot and on on matters that had considered very close to if there was anything that was the kind of matter of faith within the Congress. Those I mean, those two things definitely were it.


Yeah, in fact, you know, you were speaking with the press and the newspaper editors, and it kind of made me smile because I read the code first by the Times of India, and then Nehru's response very sounds less like Nehru and more like Donald Trump, actually. But The Times of India, quote, good. And this is after they come to know of the First Amendment, obviously, quote, It is a tragic irony that our popular government should at every stage feel the need of repressive laws against which leaders of our struggle for freedom cried themselves hoarse.


For generations, the whirling of games brings some strange revengers the details of a government, one storm satanic flattr our previous rulers. By imitation, they resort to preventive detention even without declaring a state of emergency stop quote. And this is written in nineteen fifty one friends, not 20-20. And Nehru's response to this is, you know, so he speaks to the Parliament about the person. Then as you quote him, he's writing to his chief ministers about what he told Parliament.


So he says about that quote, While appreciating the role of newspapers generally, I pointed out that some weekly periodicals especially had passed all limits of decency and were carrying on persistently. A propaganda, falsehood and malice to remain silent may also have consequences. I have appealed to the newspaper editors to take it in hand, but if they fail, then something else will have to be thought of. Stockwood, which is quite a threat at the end of it, that something else will have to be thought of in other ways is fulmination against sort of fake news through use.


Modern terminology is reminiscent of Leto's one would often associate with him.


No, he does it quite often. I mean, it's it's something that is really pretty sort of eating into him because he says it several times in Parliament. He says it to the when he addresses the newspaper's editors conference. And most interestingly, he says it to. At the end, when he you know, after the amendment has been passed on 11 June, now he was questioned on how the amendment was going to affect the press. And he says, I do not think that in spite of the heat raised in the recent debates, it affects the press much.


You will forgive me if I say we talk so much of the freedom of the press, but the more and more I see that that freedom might as well be exercised by anyone who has money enough to buy up a paper recently. It is rather an odd experience for me to see a newspaper within a week or 10 days completely change its policy tone and everything except in regard to one matter. And that was its rather extreme dislike of the government and me.


That is the freedom of the press. So, I mean, he's quite it's quite easy to see that this was something that he took very, very seriously and that he was very averse to to any form of criticism. No.


And it also seems to me that, you know, he would be someone who would have felt entitled to the adulation and adoration of his fellow Indians after all these years in the freedom struggle. But suddenly he's actually replaced or he's in charge of the colonial aboutus, which was otherwise oppressing them. And I can imagine the sense of entitlement he feels and indeed that his descendants still feel that they are not in a similar position of power other than standard. I found interesting in your book was about how, you know, Rajendra Prasad, the president at the time, spoke out against him and, you know, repeatedly asked him not to go ahead with the First Amendment at one point in the episode is called Part B of the Constitution, which lays down the fundamental rights as a special importance and significance of its own.


And it's an irony of late that this Part B stands above every other part of the Constitution is supposed to be a sealed court. And you also point out, and this was seemed very strange and petty to me, that when, you know, he wrote this letter to the cabinet and Nehru said he read it out to the cabinet, but then he writes to him, quote, It would be exceedingly unfortunate that the public became aware that the president had a contrary position to that of the cabinet in such a matter and was pressing for the adoption by the cabinet or in effect, telling, you know, Assad to shut up.


So, you know, how was this sort of a dynamic playing out? I mean, today, of course, the president is a figurehead, but General Assad was the leader in the Congress party. And, you know, and how was all of this playing out?


It's very interesting because Prasada New Dynamic went through its its ups and downs. Assad, for starters, considered himself Naruse equal. Secondly, his own conception of the president's role was not simply I mean, he took the idea that he was to advise and guide quite seriously. So he wasn't a rubber stamp sort of president. And equally, Persad was very willing to intervene in government and let his views be known. But crucially, he was well aware of the sort of need to maintain constitutional rectitude or, you know, set good precedents.


And so, for example, when I write stuff and tells him, it would be exceedingly unfortunate if your if your views were to become publicly known, Prasada actually doesn't let his views be publicly known. He's I mean, he's quite he's he's willing to write to the prime minister, but he's not willing to kind of jeopardise the whole setup by, you know, stepping outside constitutional bounds, which, to be honest, he could have done if he if he really wanted to.


But he he doesn't. And the same thing kind of happens when the Mindarie Abolition Act is passed. The president has to certify that the Abolition Act, because it obviously contravenes a part of the Constitution and it can be saved or at least it's assumed to be saved by a presidential notification or presidential approval. And when he gets the BEHA law, that obviously recognises the flaws in it and he kind of carries by asking for legal opinion and he sits on it and, you know, Nehru writes to him, I can when I quote and he says and effectively tells him that the cabinet have agreed to it and threatens to resign if the president doesn't certify the act and of course, then promptly does certify it, even though he doesn't really quite agree with Nehru or recognise what the need for this sort of tearing hurry is.


So it's it's interesting to note that Prasad takes his role seriously, but is also effectively very committed to the constitutional order. At no point does he seek to kind of overturn it or to even intervene in a way that could be seen to be deliberately intervening in areas of government that he really should not be intervening in. So that that is a very, very interesting dynamic. Equally, when Nehru often thinks that agenda, Prasad has a propensity to exceed his brief because.


His reading of the situation is that the president is duty bound to follow the advice of his council of ministers and things kind of come to a head when the amendment reaches right in the because he obviously doesn't sign it immediately. He seeks legal opinion because he thinks the amendment itself might well be unconstitutional, because the method used to pass it coincidentally eerily similar to what was used recently in the case of Article 370. So Prasad suspects that the amendment itself may be unconstitutional, and he asks for advice from a Lady Krishnaswami lawyer whose advice we don't have on record, but obviously Prasad signs it in the end.


So I think legal advice he received probably indicated that that's what he should do. So it's it's a very interesting dynamic, but it doesn't shy away from letting his views be known.


And in most cases, those views are quite the opposite of what the government government has.


Yeah, and it's quite remarkable because in the current day, you know, your a person receives a letter like that. It's like leaked in 30 seconds on times now and all of that. So in your book also has this unlikely sort of liberal hero. Now, you'd expect a uniform. Many people seem to think of Nehru as a liberal hero for some reason. But Nehru is a person who says all these fundamental rights are a 19th century artefact. We are not in the French Revolution and, you know, blah, blah, blah.


But the person who is really defending them and defending them with great eloquence and passion is Chamaco Mukherjee when he talks about how the First Amendment got scored at the very root of the fundamental principles of the Constitution. He calls it, quote, the beginning of the encroachment of the liberty of the people of India stop quote. And then addressing Nehru during the heated debates, he says, quote, By this amendment, you are saying that whatever legislation is passed, it is deemed to be law.


Then why have your constitution, why have your fundamental rights? Who asked you to have fundamental rights at all? You are treating the Constitution as a scrap of paper stopgap and at one point you got irritated and apparently wanted to charge him with sedition and Patel stopped him from doing that. But you know, what is our sense of Mukherjee? Because there isn't much written about him. To my knowledge, there isn't a great biography. He didn't really leave much writing behind.


But, you know, you read him in the constitutional debates with Nehru and so on. And this seems like, you know, one of the most principled leaders. So what's your sense of all of that?


He was he was actually a remarkably principled man. And he that's borne out by, for example, his resignation from the Nehru cabinet. It's also borne out, quite importantly, by his resignation from the Hindu Masaba, because what people don't realize is that he quit the arguments about because he felt that once we have a secular state, there was no need or no space for a quote unquote, Hindu party anymore. So he's that way. He's a very, very interesting and complex figure to look at.


But and one of the things that comes across in these is debates with Nehru is that unlike Nehru, whose, you know, debates are very impassioned but also often short on facts and logic, Mukherjee is a very incisive speaker. And it's again, this is borne out when they speak, because most of the time when the debate happens, obviously Nehru presents his case and then Mukherjee replies as the leader of the opposition. So the first time the bill is kind of debated in parliament, Mukherjee replies.


And immediately after Modi replies, the person to speak is Engy Runga, Congress stalwart and later one of the founders of the Southern Party. And he compares Mukherjee to Edmund Burke and course, one of the greatest speeches that he's ever heard in Indian parliament. So it's interesting to note the kind of impression that you get of Mukerjee is very unlike what is often believed, because you hear of him in the context of Kashmir, in the context of 370. But you often don't hear of him in the context of.


You know, freedom of speech, for example, and Mukherji is one of the most dogged defenders of that freedom and in many ways very, very patient, because he keeps one of the reasons that he criticizes Nehru again is because he's well aware that what Nehru is doing is laying a precedent for something far worse in the future or in some ways providing legal and constitutional tools that are prone to misuse by anyone who, you know, is willing to kind of transcend his scruples or like his commitment to constitutionalism.


And Mukherjee almost leads the kind of charge against the bill. And it's I think he makes a very, very, very successful case. For himself and for the opposition, it's reported widely in the press, it's again, commentators often note that, you know, whatever the I think the line that I remember offhand is the Times of India describing the debate between now Mukherjee and noting that. The prime minister's passion was more than outmatched by the incisive logic of McCarty's arguments, and I think that it's that's quite apparent that he sort of read between the lines of what was happening far more clearly than many of the others did.


And he was willing to stake out a principled position, despite the fact that it had, you know, caused him to leave the Nehru cabinet, almost kind of enter the political wilderness and in many ways stake out a position that many of his own ideological fellow travellers are perhaps not the most comfortable with now.


And it would seem that, you know, Mukherjee was, of course, borne out by history, not the history of the last few decades, but just the history of the next few years in the sense that it wasn't just about those specific amendments or those specific policies which Nehru wanted to get through, but about the desecration of the Constitution and of constitutionalism itself, which had led to Justice Chief Justice Hidayatullah to once quipped that Oz was the only constitution which needed protection against itself and the father of a constitution, Biodome Bidgood.


In fact, in 1954, I think after the Fourth Amendment, when he was no longer in government, said, quote, We built a temple for God to come in and recite, but before the God could be installed, if the devil has taken possession of it, what else could we do except destroy the temple? We did not intend that it should be occupied by the Asuras. We intended it to be occupied by the Devils. That is the reason I said I would rather like to burn it.


Stockwood, which are strong words from someone who actually, you know, was the driving force behind our Constitution. So, you know, eventually it gets passed and it's a done deal. And you've, you know, sort of I want to ask you about the aftermath, but before that I quickly called you from your book where you've written this very eloquent passage about the relationship between the state and the citizen was altered for all time. A precedent was set for easy, almost casual amending of the Constitution and the passing of retrospective legislation.


A mechanism for bypassing judicial review was created. Sedition had been retrospectively validated by a host of public safety, and pest control laws had been made operational. Again, free speech was curtailed. No longer would it be necessary for the security of the state to be seriously undermined. For it to proscribe free expression, it merely had to be in its interest to do so. The subservience of the Constitution to government policy was demonstrated. The constitutional groundwork was laid for a host of repressive legislation to follow a wider cardinal.


Change had occurred, which would have immense long term consequences for India, its people and its politics. Stockwood And the thing is, you know, despite people paying so much lip service, I mean, people pay so much lip service to the Constitution, even though Prime Minister Modi once said that it's his holy book. And and, you know, for all practical purposes, the Constitution is like what Mukherjee said. NATO was turning it into a scrap of paper where any government, if it has the numbers, can just change it.


And it's nowhere near as liberal as many people seem to think it is. And this is becoming, you know, more and more explicit by the day if it wasn't already before. What do you think are the consequences for the Constitution no longer matter or, you know, different question entirely, perhaps? Do those principles no longer matter? Was the experiment doomed to failure from the start?


I'm not sure that I would say the experiment was doomed to failure from the start. I think it was it was quite a brave leap of faith. And everyone involved acknowledged it as as a leap of faith. But I think, again, I'll quote you. It's a quote that I took from Sunil Khilnani again, where he says, basically in a setting such as into individuality, as a way of social being, was a precarious undertaking. And then he describes Indian liberalism to be crippled from its origins, stamped by utilitarianism, and squeezed into a culture that had little room for the individual.


So we I mean, everyone knew that it was a kind of challenging project to begin with. It was never going to be easy. It was never going to be, as I put it, clean in a way.


It was always going to be a messy process. But I wouldn't say it was kind of doomed to failure. If anything, the kind of first the story of the First Amendment proves that actually there were many who were willing to, you know, take it at face value. The judiciary certainly was they were willing to you know, they were willing to uphold constitutional freedoms and kind of read them quite expansively. There was certainly quite important figures within the political set up who seemed to be at least to be votaries of constitutional freedoms.


There was a press that was quite like quite a. Vigorous and it's in a sort of position and defense of the right to free speech organizations such as the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry, who I mean today we would term is probably completely obsequious, was, for example, willing to stand up and, you know, and be counted in a matter of, you know, such political importance. So I don't think I would say it was doomed to failure.


I mean, if anything, that kind of year proved that there was that it could actually have been quite a successful experiment if if it hadn't really been betrayed. And it's sort of essentials by the people who kind of midwife the experiment to begin with. I mean, we can't deny that these are the people who also wrote up the Constitution. So it was I mean, it was their experiment and they failed it more than anything else.


And you think sort of institutions also shape society in a deeper way. For example, you know, there's this common lament that, oh, look, you know, at the time of our independence, at the time of our freedom struggle, we had such strong leaders and we have such not all leaders now, so to say. And again, using incentives to sort of talk about this, while pointing out that all the freedom fighters who came to the fore and who were leaders at the time of our independence had entered the freedom struggle and become leaders, not because they had power at the end of it or money at the end of it.


They did just restraint of for principles. There was no reward. So politics attracted that kind of a person. But when you have the later on, when you have both sort of a structure where there's a state is an overarching mobile and has so much power and essentially the similar oppressive role toward the colonial state, then it'll draw the kind of leaders who are attracted to power for power, seeking power to whatever. And therefore, those all vulnerable leaders will no longer emerge.


And it would seem to me that the the degrading of the Constitution, in a sense, would also have been a further disincentive for people of principle to actually enter the fray. Do you think there's something to that?


I mean, I think it's yes, yes and no. So, yes. Sort of institutions and, you know, precedents and the law itself and the constitution itself to shape society in in certain ways. I mean, it's hard to deny or even overstate the kind of normative power that they wield even today. For example, protesters who hold copies of the Constitution aloft, kind of what they try to do is they're trying to channel the normative power of the Constitution rather than, you know, actually looking at the nitty gritty of what the Constitution says.


I'm quite shocked if they were to actually see what the Constitution says. But it's one of the reasons that the Constitution was written in the way that it was, was that a lot of figures, ambacher especially, had little faith in the ability of Indian society to reform itself or for there to be a sense of collective impulse originating from within society. And because they didn't have that faith in the self-correcting ability of society almost or the possibility of any idea of social reform really originating from within society or taking hold organically within society, they almost had an overdependence on using legal forms to drive what they saw as social or political change.


And ultimately, I mean, recently, Poterba Numata, for example, wrote a column where he very generously quoted from my book. But again, the sort of crux of the column was that there's only so much that can be accomplished by the use of legal and constitutional tools. I mean, there if fundamentally, fundamentally social questions can only partially be addressed in terms of legality. And I think that's one point where, uh, figures like Nehru and Ambedkar were perhaps overenthusiastic about how much the law could achieve.


And secondly, I think they were perhaps quite cavalier in thinking about the effects that would be generated by by the sort of institutional mechanisms, because Nehru, for example, seemed almost. Unaware, I mean, it's and it's hard to judge whether he was deliberately ignorant or genuinely unaware of the kind of incentives that would be generated or the kind of consequences that would be generated through the First Amendment. It's hard to tell. Um, you could I mean, at best, he was naive.


At worst he was, you know. Malevolent and so I think both these strands kind of intersected at this point.


So sort of leaving history aside now and leaving your book aside and coming to the present moment and coming to the personal, I'm curious about how your book has been received, because, you know, as we discussed at the start of the show, we are in times where history has been weaponized, where NATO is looked upon as on one side, as exclusively the ideal liberal who could do no wrong, and on the other side, as a demon who is responsible for everything that has gone wrong with India.


And obviously, like any person and as your book acknowledges, you know, all figures in history contain multitudes. So all of it is true and all of it is false and all of that. But I would imagine that nevertheless, in your book, it would seem as if it's ideal fodder for those who want to blame NATO for where India is today. So is there something you be wary of? And has that impacted the way your book has been read where people are not actually reading the book for the nuance and the history, but they are just sort of urbanizing?


It hasn't happened?


I don't think so. I mean, I think history is always complex and it's always I don't think the job of a historian is to be kind really to anyone. It's to be as kind of as incisive as possible and shine the spotlight as bright as you can. And that's something that I've tried to do. I think I'm sure there are people who've read it because it can provide sort of intellectual fodder for an attack on Nehru and originalism. And I'm sure there are some people who've read it or perhaps used it like that.


But most reviews have generally been quite complimentary with most of the the book doesn't set out to to target Nehru. It's just that the things unfold in in the way they do. And the episode is not particularly complimentary to Nehru. But equally, I think it's very revealing in the way that it kind of looks at Nehru as well, because Nehru had many aspects to his personality and the fact that he was impatient, kind of authoritarian, imperious in many ways.


I mean, those aspects of his personality are as important as anything else as his sort of commitment, often kind of pedantic and tendentious, as it were, his commitment to democracy, to the idea of collective decision making, etc. And so to have a more complete or rounded picture, you need you need both sides. And I think in that way, this this story is very, very revealing. But some perhaps might have used the book in that way.


But I think most people have taken it in in the right spirit. I haven't really seen all of the reviews have been quite sort of complimentary. And quite nobody has really kind of seen the book as a as a sort of weapon against Nehru. I mean, it is what it is just I mean, just just one more point if I make it, is that I'm sure there are plenty of people who would have disliked it or not read it or not engaged with it equally because they see Nehru as this kind of, um, you know, grand liberal figure who I've kind of set out to defame.


And so neither of those things are true. I mean, history is not a kind generous. It just is. It is what it is.


And I found your book was, you know, very fair to all the characters. And what I found especially revealing about your book is not so much necessarily the people and the events involved, but also how it shows through them that intersection of human nature and the structure of our politics and how, you know, people in positions of power are corrupted by that power and are, you know, responding to incentives at a great time during a book. And I recommend to all my listeners that they go out and buy them of have taken a lot of your time today.


Thank you so much for sharing your insights.


No, the pleasure's all mine. Thank you so much for inviting me. And it's been a great honour to to be able to have this conversation with you.


If you enjoyed listening to this episode to hop on over to your nearest bookstore online or offline and buy to put the once excellent book, 16 Stormy Days, it's a must read. You can also follow us on Twitter at People Don't Be Oribe. You are in the end, you can follow me on Twitter. Ramit what my be army. You can browse past episodes of the scene in the unseen, unseen, unseen eye and thank you for listening and please behave in a constitutionally whatever that means.


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