So far I have asked around 10,000 Indians if they have read the Indian Constitution. Not one of them admitted to having read it. A few say yes initially but when probed a bit admit that they haven’t really read the whole thing. Some claim to have read the preamble. That is like saying that they have seen the movie merely because they have seen the ad in the newspaper or have had lunch because they checked out the lunch menu.
The constitution is not a holy book, to be kept on an alter and worshiped, to be believed but not examined, to be considered divinely inspired and therefore implicitly trusted.
With very rare exceptions, all Indians whom I have met believe that the constitution is great and wonderful. The operative word is “believe.” Although they have not read it, they are nevertheless fully convinced that it is simply marvelous.
A very intelligent, well-read, awesomely informed, truly articulate, highly educated friend of mine just a few days ago confessed that he did not even know how long the Indian constitution was.
It is a pathetic state of affairs. A document that lays the foundations of a nation, which lies at the core of what the nation is about, which dictates what the government is about, which informs all policies that affect every aspect of public affairs and the lives of all citizens is a closed book. Not only is the constitution unread, it is probably unreadable.
An informed citizenry is the necessary precondition for a functioning democracy. Widespread ignorance of the constitution is inconsistent with any meaningful democracy.
In my opinion, the constitution is the fountainhead of all of India’s troubles. Unless and until it is replaced, India will continue to languish at the bottom of the heap. Scrap it and write one that is good and worth a read.