“All is not well with our democracy”: Ashwani Kumar Former Minister of Law and Justice speaks on the challenges in Indian democracy

4th May, 2017, Sonipat

O.P. Jindal Global University (JGU) hosted Dr. Ashwani Kumar, eminent lawyer and former Minister of Law and Justice to deliberate on his new book, ‘Hope in a Challenged Democracy: An Indian Narrative‘ at its university campus in Sonepat, Haryana on 4th May.

The book titled ‘Hope in a Challenged Democracy: An Indian Narrative’ critically analyses issues of fundamental importance in the framework of the dignitarian goals of the republic, the role of a ‘living Constitution’, the necessity of equilibrium between executive, legislature and judiciary, the role of media, importance of equitable growth, a responsive justice system and a rising India’s engagement with the world.

Amidst a full house audience, author Dr. Ashwani Kumar was joined by JGU Founding Vice-Chancellor, Professor (Dr) C Raj Kumar and Professor, Shiv Vishwanathan, Vice Dean, Jindal Global Law School for the discourse.

Dr. Ashwani Kumar said, “In its entirety the book is a reflection on the politics and future of constitutional democracy. It is about contested ideas for and competing equity, ideological preferences and proclaimed biases, legacy of liberalism and impulses of parliamentary majorities, the suborning of principles to political expediency and gradual erosion of constitutional order. It is about the decline of deliberative democracy, leadership and ascendency of ceaseless competitive politics”.

Talking about his own long political journey, he was reflective about penning down his interventions in subjects that continue to be of utmost relevance to the future of our democracy‎ to the future of our country.

Dr Ashwani Kumar also spoke about the dis equilibrium in the functional space of our constitution and “issues that go to the root of the future of our democracy”.

Speaking about the intriguing issues that pose a threat to the democratic set up, he opined that “unless we openly and candidly admit that all is not well with our democracy, that there are challenges that need to be faced and addressed, we will not be able to protect it and nurture it or to strengthen it”.

Professor (Dr) C Raj Kumar, Vice Chancellor Jindal Global University taking part in the discourse said, the book despite its multiplicity of themes, which are at times seemingly disparate still successfully weaves an in-depth narrative of Indian democracy. It provides a statesman’s perspective on addressing challenges and optimizing responses with a view to transforming our democracy as a true reflection of the collective conscience of the nation.

Professor Shiv Visvanathan, Vice Dean, Jindal Global Law School said, the book is of multiple narratives, it is a study in law, study in democracy, study in politics, and it’s also a personal story what he dubbed as an “epithet to memoir”. He said that the book strongly hides under the backdrop of tensions between Congress versus BJP with the rising power of BJP.

The publication has also received some notable reviews from both India and abroad.

A book with a profound historical perspective, which enriches the analysis and encourages to show great ambitions for the country.
Dominique de Villepin, former Prime Minister of France

The book is a must-read for students of politics, philosophy and history. A tour de force indeed!
Lord Karan Billimoria, CBE DL, Member, House of Lords

The book illuminates an astonishing range of the issues with perceptiveness and wisdom, informed by an increasingly rare sense of values. We need more leaders like him.
KS Bajpai, former Secretary, Ministry of External Affairs, former Indian Ambassador to Pakistan, China and the United States of America

The author poses in this highly readable book the question: can we invest our politics with dignity and anchor it in high principle? Nothing is quite as important to India’s democratic future as the answer to this question.
Gurcharan Das, author of India Unbound and The Difficulty of Being Good.

About the Author

Dr. Ashwani Kumar, an eminent lawyer, author and veteran parliamentarian was member of the Rajya Sabha for fourteen consecutive years till his retirement in April 2016. During this time, he held various ministerial positions including Minister for Law and Justice, Special Envoy of PM Manmohan Singh to Japan (2013) and chaired several important parliamentary committees. Dr Kumar represented the Indian Government at the highest forums of diplomacy including in the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) and the World Economic Forum. He is a senior advocate of the Supreme Court, a former Additional Solicitor General, widely recognised for his eloquence as a spokesperson of the Congress Party and for the intellectual depth of his writings and parliamentary interventions. He was honoured with Honoris Causa by Punjab University in 2005, was a visiting Distinguished Fellow at the Trinity College Dublin (2016) and has spoken at the Oxford Human Rights Hub, The Fletcher School of Law & Diplomacy, University of Birmingham and Kings College London amongst others. His publications include Laws, Ideas & Ideology in Politics: Perspectives of an Activist

Related Post