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Fraternity in the Indian Constitution

GS Paper 2

 Syllabus: Indian Constitution

 

Source: IE

 Context: The article discusses how the concept of fraternity in India, as enshrined in the Constitution, differs significantly from its historical and philosophical origins.

 

We published an article on a similar theme in April Daily CA: The concept of fraternity

 

What is Fraternity?

According to Dr. Ambedkar “Fraternity means a sense of common brotherhood of all Indians — of Indians being one people. It is the principle which gives unity and solidarity to social life,”.

No one should treat a fellow citizen as inferior. While the morals of the Preamble like– Justice, Equality, and Liberty have been explicitly and implicitly ensured through Fundamental Rights, Directive Principles and other constitutional provisions, this is not the case with Fraternity.

  

More about Fraternity:

AspectDescription
Political Philosophy RootsFraternity is deeply embedded in political philosophy, emphasizing empowerment and emancipation in politics. It’s a fundamental element of liberal political thought, alongside liberty and equality.
Ancient OriginsThe concept traces back to Plato, who introduced it as “philia” (love) involving the sharing of knowledge, and deepening friendships. Aristotle later associated it with justice and friendship within the “polis,” marking its early political foundations.
Historical EvolutionThroughout the Middle Ages, fraternity found resonance within Christianity in Europe. It gained significant political prominence during the French Revolution, notably with the famous slogan “liberté, égalité, fraternité.”
Fraternity in IndiaFraternity was underscored during India’s struggle for independence and is enshrined as a vital constitutional principle.

 

Fraternity’s Significance in India’s Independence:

  • Foundational Role: Liberty, equality, and fraternity were pivotal ideals during India’s independence struggle and the establishment of its constitutional democracy. They provided guidance to a diverse society transitioning into an independent republic.
  • Ambedkar’s Emphasis: Ambedkar emphasized the inseparability of liberty, equality, and fraternity. He recognized the fraternity’s crucial role in India’s diverse and divided society.
  • Demand: 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, who also drafted the Objectives Resolution.

  

Constitutional Provisions:

Constitutional ProvisionDescription
PreambleThe Preamble of the Indian Constitution mentions fraternity as one of its objectives. It ends with “…and to promote among them all fraternity assuring the dignity of the individual and the unity and integrity of the Nation.”
Directive Principles of State PolicyArticle 38: The state shall strive to promote the welfare of the people by securing and protecting a social order that fosters fraternity among the citizens.
Fundamental DutiesArticle 51A(e): The duty of every citizen to promote harmony and the spirit of common brotherhood among all the people of India transcending religious, linguistic, and regional diversities

  

Fraternity meaning in the constitution:

MeaningDescription
Signifies moral obligationFraternity in the Constitution implies a moral obligation to treat fellow human beings justly and respectfully, prioritizing social cohesion over individual identity.
 Acharya Kripalani pointed out that the contents of the Preamble were not only legal and political principles but also had moral, spiritual and mystical content.
Pillar of constitutional moralityIt is one of the four pillars of constitutional morality as stated in the Preamble, alongside justice, liberty, and equality
Affirming the dignity of the individualFraternity in the Constitution affirms the dignity of the individual by recognizing moral equality and mutual respect among individuals despite differences in religious beliefs, caste, language, culture, ethnicity, class, and gender.

 

Challenges in Achieving Fraternity:

ChallengesDescription
Social and Cultural DifferencesDifferences based on religion or caste may result in mistrust, discrimination, and violence.
Economic DisparitiesEconomic disparities can lead to a breakdown in social cohesion, a key aspect of fraternity
Political DifferencesPolarization along political lines can foster hostility and intolerance, hindering common goals.
Lack of TrustA lack of trust and mutual understanding undermines the spirit of brotherhood.
Failure of Constitutional MoralityIts failure can lead to a loss of confidence in institutions and the rule of law, creating instability.
Inadequate Moral OrderFailure in this area can erode fraternity, as unethical actions without consequences hinder trust.

 

Measures to Achieve Fraternity in the Indian Context:

MeasuresDescription
Promote Interfaith DialogueEncourage dialogue and understanding among diverse religious communities to build fraternity.
Celebrate DiversityEmbrace and celebrate India’s cultural and religious diversity to bring people closer.
Educate People About Constitutional ValuesEducate citizens about the values enshrined in the Indian Constitution, including fraternity.
Encourage VolunteeringEngage people in volunteering for social causes to foster cooperation and a sense of fraternity.
Support Social InitiativesBack social initiatives that promote inclusivity and equality, contributing to the fraternity.
Foster a Sense of National PridePromote patriotism and national pride to unite people, enhancing fraternity and unity.

 

Conclusion

Ambedkar dreamed of an India in which divisions of caste and religion would gradually fade away in the spirit of fraternity. Therefore, investing in concepts like fraternity would save society from fragmentation.

 

Insta links:

Preamble

  

Mains Links:

Discuss each adjective attached to the word ‘Republic’ in the ‘Preamble’. Are they defendable in the present circumstances? (UPSC 2016)

 

Prelims Links:

Which one of the following objectives is not embodied in the Preamble to the Constitution of India? (UPSC 2017)

(a) Liberty of thought
(b) Economic liberty
(c) Liberty of expression
(d) Liberty of belief

 

Ans: (b)