Indian Constitution at Work In short, it is committed to freedom, equality, social justice, and some form of national unity. But underneath all this, there is a clear emphasis on peaceful and democratic measures for putting this philosophy into practice. Individual freedom The first point to note about the Constitution is its commitment to individual freedom. This commitment did not emerge miraculously out of calm deliberations around a table. Rather, it was the product of continuous intellectual and political activity of well over a century. As early as the beginning of the nineteenth century, Rammohan Roy protested against curtailment of the freedom of the press by the British colonial state. Roy argued that a state responsive to the needs of individuals must provide them the means by which their needs are communicated. Therefore, the state must permit unlimited liberty of publication. Likewise, Indians continued to demand a free press throughout the British rule. It is not surprising therefore that freedom of expression is an integral part of the Indian Constitution. So is the freedom from arbitrary arrest. After all, the infamous Rowlatt Act, which the national movement opposed so vehemently, sought to deny this basic freedom. These and other individual freedoms such as freedom of conscience are part of the liberal ideology. On this basis, we can say that the Indian Constitution has a pretty strong liberal character. In the chapter on fundamental rights we have already seen how the Constitution values individual freedom. It might be recalled that for over forty years before the adoption of the Constitution, every single resolution, scheme, bill and report of the Indian National Congress mentioned individual rights, not just in passing but as a nonnegotiable value. Social Justice When we say that the Indian Constitution is liberal, we do not mean that it is liberal only in the classical western sense. In the book on Political Theory, you will learn more about the idea of liberalism. Classical liberalism always privileges rights of the individuals over demands of social justice and community values.

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