Wednesday, August 22, 2012

The Indian Constitution

My close friend Madhav Khosla, who was my classmate at National Law School, Bangalore and is currently a PhD candidate in political theory at Harvard University has authored a book - The Indian Constitution (Oxford University Press, 2012).

The book is part of the Oxford India Short Introductions and provides a lucid introduction to the Indian Constitution, dealing thematically with topics like Separation of Powers, Federalism, Rights and Amendments. The book will be very useful for civil service aspirants as it would provide a deeper understanding of the the Constitution. At present students studying polity for the GS paper use either PM Bakshi or DD Basu. This book would be a very good addition as it not only deals with issues in a thematic fashion but also provides an understanding of how the constitution has evolved. For those with Law as one of the optionals I would highly recommend the book.

A review of the book can which appeared recently in Frontline be found here and it is available for order on flikpkart.

This is is what appears in the front and back covers of the book:

Giving identity to over a billion people, the Indian Constitution is one of the world's great political texts. Drafted over six decades ago, its endurance and operation have fascinated and surprised many. In this short introduction, Madhav Khosla brings to light its many features, aspirations, and controversies. How does the Constitution separate power between different political actors? What form of citizenship does it embrace? And how can it change? In answering questions such as these, Khosla unravels the document's remarkable and challenging journey, inviting readers to reflect upon the theory and practice of constitutionalism in the world's largest democracy.

"Written in clear, jargon-free prose, this critical study will be a marvellous resource for lawyers and non-lawyers alike." - Justice Ruma Pal, Former Judge, Supreme Court of India

"A wonderful introduction to an exciting subject. Khosla presents an analytical and deeply insightful account of one of the landmark constitutions of our time." - Justice Aharon Barak, Former Chief Justice of Israel

"The Indian Constitution anchors India's political identity and has shaped the country's destiny-though not always in ways the founders anticipated. Yet, for all its formal centrality and its easy invocation by disparate political projects, the ambiguities of its commitments and the vicissitudes of its history remain little understood. In this remarkable book ... Madhav Khosla compels us to think seriously both about the fitful evolution of constitutional interpretation and about the place acquired by the Constitution in our democratic life. Khosla's outstanding book is far and away the most stimulating introduction to the life of our Constitution: and it signals the arrival of an important new voice in our intellectual life." - Sunil Khilnani, author of The Idea of India

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