NL subscribers get back with bouquets and brickbats!
Hello NL Team,
I have been a follower of NL for a while but I have only recently become a subscriber. I love the content especially the NL Haftas. I am writing to share a few thoughts about Anand Vardhan’s piece titled “What the commentary on Article 370 isn’t telling you”.
In this piece, Anand has chosen to critique the articles written by Pratap Bhanu Mehta and Yogendra Yadav. I have not read the article by Yogendra Yadav but I did read the one by Mehta and I do not agree with Anand’s critique. Anand basically laments the fact that Mehta does not talk about the tensions between constitutional patriotism and nationalist aspirations. However, I think Mehta did just that. He clearly states that by betraying its constitutional promises, the center has prioritised nationalistic aspirations over constitutional patriotism, which will lead us down a slippery and dangerous slope. Granted that such liberties have been taken in the past but that cannot be a justification for continuing to do so. Anand’s statement about privy purses and the abolition of the right to private property seemed like a justification of not doing things “constitutionally”.
Anand goes on to say that Mehta does not answer whether a state should be sensitive to a people’s right to self-determination, or should the people who are fighting for that right give way to the nation’s vision national interest and territorial security. I don’t understand why that is an important question. The right to self-determination is a cardinal principle of modern international law. From that perspective, it is obvious that the larger nation-state should make way for the people’s right to self-determination, not the other way round.
I felt Anand (maybe subconsciously) was trying to imply that Mehta was not sympathetic to the administrative challenges of big nation-states like India, China, Russia, etc. I do not think Mehta needs to be sympathetic to that challenge. He was just calling out the excesses that such states indulge in and justify them in the name of administrative challenges. Such excesses according to Mehta do more harm than good in upholding the integrity of a nation-state.