Sixteen Stormy Days narrates the riveting story of the First
Amendment to the Constitution of India-one of the pivotal events in
Indian political and constitutional history, and its first great battle
of ideas. Passed in June 1951 in the face of tremendous opposition
within and outside Parliament, the subject of some of independent
India's fiercest parliamentary debates, the First Amendment drastically
curbed freedom of speech; enabled caste-based reservation by restricting
freedom against discrimination; circumscribed the right to property and
validated abolition of the zamindari system; and fashioned a special
schedule of unconstitutional laws immune to judicial challenge.Enacted
months before India's inaugural election, the amendment represents the
most profound changes that the Constitution has ever seen. Faced with an
expansively liberal Constitution that stood in the way of nearly every
major socio-economic plan in the Congress party's manifesto, a judiciary
vigorously upholding civil liberties, and a press fiercely resisting
his attempt to control public discourse, Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru
reasserted executive supremacy, creating the constitutional
architecture for repression and coercion.
What extraordinary set of events led the prime minister-who had championed the Constitution when it was passed in 1950 after three years of deliberation-to radically amend it after a mere sixteen days of debate in 1951?
Drawing on parliamentary debates, press reports, judicial pronouncements, official correspondence and existing scholarship, Sixteen Stormy Days challenges conventional wisdom on iconic figures such as Jawaharlal Nehru, B.R. Ambedkar, Rajendra Prasad, Sardar Patel and Shyama Prasad Mookerji, and lays bare the vast gulf between the liberal promise of India's Constitution and the authoritarian impulses of her first government.
Penguin Random House India's Sixteen Stormy Days: The Story of the First Amendment to the Constitution of India by Tripurdaman Singh
- Publisher: Penguin Random House India
- Book Code: 9780670092871
- Availability: 10