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EDITORIAL ANALYSIS : The challenge of reviving a sense of fraternity


Source: The Hindu

Prelims: Supreme Court, Article 1, Preamble, Article 25, 26 and Article 14, Objectives Resolution, FDs etc

Mains GS Paper I and II: Structure, organization and functioning of judiciary, role of judiciary in furnishing FRs etc



  • The Constitution of India was drafted by the Constituent Assembly.
    • The idea was initially proposed in 1934 by M.N. Roy(pioneer of the Communist movement in India and an advocate of radical democracy)

current affairs




  • A preamble is an introductory statement in a document that explains the document’s philosophy and objectives.
  • In a Constitution, it presents the intention of its framers, the history behind its creation, and the core values and principles of the nation.
  • The preamble basically gives idea of the following things/objects:
    • Source of the Constitution
    • Nature of Indian State
    • Statement of its objectives
    • Date of its adoption


Background of Constitution:

  • The idea was initially proposed in 1934 by M.N. Roy
  • It became an official demand of the Indian National Congress in 1935 and was officially adopted in the Lucknow session in April 1936 presided by Jawaharlal Nehru
    • J l Nehru drafted the Objectives Resolution.
  • The Drafting Committee was presided over by R. Ambedkar.
    • R. Ambedkar:“The second thing we are wanting is recognition of the principle of fraternity.


Fraternity(by B R Ambedkar):

  • It means a sense of common brotherhood of all Indians — if Indians being one people.
  • It is the principle which gives unity and solidarity to social life.
    • It is a difficult thing to achieve.
  • Without fraternity equality and liberty will be no deeper
  • Fraternity has been most forgotten in our Constitution and in our electoral process.
  • The idea of fraternity is closely linked to that of social solidarity, which is impossible to accomplish without public empathy.
  • Along with liberty, equality and justice, fraternity was added to the principles in the Preamble.
  • The French Revolution disrupted the message of the 1792 Edict of Fraternity (‘All governments are our enemies, all people our friends’).
  • Acharya Kripalani(October 17, 1949): The contents of the Preamble were not only legal and political principles but also had a moral, spiritual and mystical content:
    • If we want to use democracy as only a legal, constitutional and formal device, I submit, we shall fail.


Implication of other principles and of the duties arising from them:

  • Article 51A(Fundamental Duties): Added by the 42nd Amendment in 1977 and further amended by 86th Amendment in 2010,
  • Article 51A(e):‘to promote harmony and the spirit of common brotherhood amongst all the people of India’.
  • Sir Ernest Barker: distinction has to be made between the psychological fact of common emotion and the political principle of fraternity or co-operation.
  • ‘Fraternity is a dubious word, which may be used to denote both emotion and principle.
  • It is generally used to denote emotion rather than principle.
    • The emotion of loyalty to the state.
    • Emotion of nationalism for national society are, or should be, controlled emotions.’
  • Rajeev Bhargava:A pressing need to excavate the moral values embedded in the Constitution to bring out their connections.
    • To identify the coherent or not-so-coherent worldviews contained within it.’


Conditions Precedent for the Successful Working of Democracy:

  • It is a method of government by discussion that brings about revolutionary changes in the economic and social life of people without bloodshed.
  • There must not be glaring inequalities in society
  • There must also be an opposition
  • An equality in law as well as equal protection of law
  • Administration and observance of constitutional morality.
  • There must be no tyranny of the majority over the minority.
  • A functioning moral order in society and a public conscience are essential.



  • Inequalities continue to persist and so do those emanating from the caste system
  • The democratic opposition has progressively declined in substance,
  • Equality in law does not necessarily mean equal protection of the law, and little regard is paid to constitutional morality.
  • Each of Gandhi’s Seven Social Sins seem to hold good in the functioning of the polity.


Way Forward

  • There is also an unfortunate legacy of violence at birth that persists and takes different forms.
    • This necessitates the functioning in practice of these principles in all their diversity and in individual and collective terms.
  • Without imputing inability, a sense of fraternity as an essential virtue is thus unavoidable.
    • This cannot be merely in formal terms and has to be imbibed individually and collectively.
    • Nor can it merely be a legal or formal venture and must ascend to what Acharya Kripalani described as a moral and spiritual content.
  • A legislative shape to it, to go beyond the wording of Article 51A(e) – a ‘duty’ notionally in the shape of a pious hope without going beyond the consequences of the non-observance of other duties specified in this Article.
  • Invest in democracy with moral content at the individual and collective levels.



The spirit of tolerance and love is not only an interesting feature of Indian society from very early times, but it is also playing an important part at the present. Elaborate.(UPSC 2017) (200 WORDS, 10 MARKS)