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In the shadow of swaraj: constituent power and the Indian political

Tundawala, Moiz (2018) In the shadow of swaraj: constituent power and the Indian political. PhD thesis, The London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE).

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Abstract

My thesis presents India as an active intellectual agent rather than a passive sociological referent in the global intellectual history of constituent power. It does so by exploring the hitherto undertheorized field of its constitutional imagination. It was commonly recognized during the anticolonial movement and the emerging postcolonial context that constituent power, or the power of constitution making, ultimately vested in the people. But this did not imply a purely diffusionist reception of either the revolutionary or the constitutionalist tradition of imagining the concept, both of which had been in wide circulation across the globe since the late eighteenth century. I highlight the ruptures, breaks and discontinuities of the Indian political sensibility in respect of the global, and make a case for situating swaraj as a distinct indigenous expression for collective self rule within a non-Europeanist and non-globalist relational approach to constituent power. The objective of this thesis however, is not to present a celebratory juridical account of an authentic nationalist self realization. Rather, it seeks to decentre formal constitutional principles and inter-institutional relations from discussions of constituent power, and anchors them instead in two fundamentally incompatible legal languages drawn from a philosophical history of the Indian political. It argues that the imaginary institution of society in modern India was marked by a constitutive dissensus between the social law of dharma and the political law of dhamma, and goes on to show how its development has been underpinned in the contemporary domain of constitutional thought in action by the mutual antagonism between these two symbolic lifeworlds. The thesis seeks to demonstrate that the persistent hegemony of a nationalist dharma threatens the very autonomy of the political, and it argues that only where this is effectively interrupted by the counter hegemony of a non-nationalist dhamma has the Indian political come close to realizing its full potential.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Additional Information: © 2018 Moiz Tundawala
Library of Congress subject classification: J Political Science > JQ Political institutions Asia
K Law > K Law (General)
Sets: Departments > Law
Supervisor: Loughlin, Martin and Poole, Thomas
URI: http://etheses.lse.ac.uk/id/eprint/3903

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