The ambit of fraternity and the wages of oblivion

  • IASbaba
  • September 23, 2022
  • 0
Indian Polity & Constitution
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“ WE, THE PEOPLE OF INDIA, having solemnly resolved to constitute India into a SOVEREIGN SOCIALIST SECULAR DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC and to secure to all its citizens:

JUSTICE, social, economic, and political; LIBERTY of thought, expression, belief, faith and worship;

EQUALITY of status and of opportunity;

and to promote among them all FRATERNITY assuring the dignity of the individual and the unity and integrity of the Nation;


  • Preamble contains ideals that the Constitution seeks to achieve. It gives direction and purpose to the Constitution.
  • It also enshrines the grand objectives and socio-economic goals which are to be achieved through constitutional processes.

About fraternity:

  • “These principles of liberty, equality and fraternity are not to be treated as separate items in a trinity. They form a union of trinity in the sense that to divorce one from the other is to defeat the very purpose of democracy,’ said B.R. Ambedkar in the Constituent Assembly, in 1949.
  • Dr Ambedkar defines fraternity as “a sense of common brotherhood and sisterhood among all Indians.” He was sure in his opinion that “equality and liberty will be no deeper than coats of paint” without fraternity.

Note: The values of liberty, equality and fraternity in our Preamble is taken directly from the national motto of France: Liberté, égalité, fraternité, which in term came from the French Revolution (1789).

The responsibility of the individual citizen:

  • R. Ambedkar provided its rationale with remarkable foresight: ‘We must begin by acknowledging the fact there is a complete absence of two things in Indian society. One of these is equality’ and as a result of it we would enter into ‘a life of contradictions’ on January 26, 1950.
  • However, practical adherence to this commitment was given shape only by the 42nd Constitutional Amendment (1976) in Article 51A (e) on Fundamental Duties. It makes it the duty of every citizen of India ‘to promote harmony and the spirit of common among all the people of India, transcending religious, linguistic and regional or sectional diversities.’
  • Significantly, the responsibility for bringing this about does not rest with the state but seems to be the responsibility of the individual citizen. We, therefore, need to comprehend the meaning and relevance of this pious wish.
  • The idea of fraternity is based on the view that people have responsibilities to each other. It was defined after the French Revolution in the following terms: ‘Do not do to others what you would not want them to do to you; do constantly to others the good which you would wish to receive from them.’

The shape of inequality:

  • An aggravating factor, often overlooked, is the shape that inequality takes in different segments of our society. It is economic on one plane; on others it is regional, caste and religious.
  • Sociologists have identified nine categories of people who are determined to be socially and/or politically and/or economically excluded. These particularly include Dalits, Adivasis, women and religious minorities.
  • Recent studies on religious minorities who constitute around 20% of India’s population have traced discrimination relating to them to perceptions that relate to the partition of August 1947.
    • They argue that violence was not merely accidental but integral to the foundation of the nation and that the need for fraternity coexisted with the imperative need for restoring social cohesion in segments of society.
  • A primary concern of the Constitution-makers related to cohesion and integration of the units of the new Republic formally described as ‘A Union of States’.
    • In the words of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, ‘the inspiration and the stimulus came from above rather than from below and unless the transplanted growth takes a healthy root in the soil, there will be a danger of collapse and chaos.’ This was amplified by V.P. Menon as the ‘integration of the minds of the people’.

In a speech in the Constituent Assembly on December 22, 1952, B.R. Ambedkar dwelt on what he called ‘Conditions Precedent for the Successful Working of Democracy’. He listed these as:

  • absence of glaring inequalities
  • presence of an opposition
  • equality of law and administration
  • observance of constitutional morality
  • avoidance of tyranny of majority over minority
  • a functioning of moral order in society
  • public conscience.

Fraternity in present times:

  • Over time, uneven development has characterised the States of the Indian Union. Regional and linguistic diversity characterises them. And so does uneven economic development and progress, resulting in uneven levels of education, employment, social cohesion, and contentment.
  • 75 years after independence , a candid assessment of the state of the Republic makes us ponder on evidence of regional diversity, assertion of linguistic identity and emergence of diverging political orientations.
  • Article 51A(e) of the Constitution does not differentiate between citizens on any of the categories mentioned above and makes it an all-encompassing duty and Its ambit therefore is universal.


The term ‘fraternity’ refers to a sense of brotherhood as well as an emotional bond with the country and its people. We must cultivate the sense of this brotherhood in order to truly realise “Azadi ka Amrit Mahotsav’.

Source: The Hindu           

Previous Year Questions

Q.1) What was the exact constitutional status of India on 26th January, 1950? (2021)

  1. A Democratic Republic
  2. A Sovereign Democratic Republic
  3. A Sovereign Secular Democratic Republic
  4. A Sovereign Socialist Secular Democratic Republic

Q.2) The Preamble to the Constitution of India is       (2020)

  1. a part of the Constitution but has no legal effect
  2. not a part of the Constitution and has no legal effect either
  3. part of the Constitution and has the same legal effect as any other part
  4. a part of the Constitution but has no legal effect independently of other parts


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