Preamble controversy :Are liberals losing the plot?

The popular impression is that the political right wing is dogmatic, unreasonable etc, while the left-liberals are the people who listen to logic and reason. But is it really so?

The latest ‘controversy’ over the “deleted words” from the preamble of India’s constitution forces us to rethink such notions.

For those who’ve just climbed out from under a rock, the Narendra Modi government stands accused of effacing two words -socialist and secular- from a photo of the preamble of the Indian constitution used in an advertisement.


It is alleged that this was done as part of a right wing conspiracy to drive India away from its “secular” character. Every liberal and his aunt has already vented their frustration at this travesty of India’s constitution.

But is it really so? Did the mandarins, taking orders from the right-of-center Bharatiya Janata Party ministers, efface the two words from the photo of the preamble?

In fact, just a simple Google search would have revealed the fact of the situation – they have not.

The preamble of India, in the form of a photograph of the first page of the constitution of India, did not have these two words.

The preamble has been written down in a highly ornamental way in the original book, and the photograph of this page has traditionally been used to signify both the constitution and the preamble.

It is this widely used and symbolic photo – totally unaltered – that has been used as faded background for an advertisement taken out by the Modi government to wish citizens on the 66th Republic Day – the anniversary of the adoption of the Indian constitution.

So what could the Mandarins have done?

They could have taken the original photograph of the preamble, and digitally altered it to add the words ‘secular’ and ‘socialist’ into it, or they could have used a photo of the cover of the document.

The fact that they chose to simply use the easiest available picture can be taken as proof of their laziness, rather than of any malafide intent to dilute the secular nature of the Indian republic.

The point can be further driven home when you notice that even online Modi-baiters use the original photo and have not bothered to digitally brush the words ‘secular’ and ‘socialist’ into it (see picture).


Of course, this is not to say that someone sitting in the government did not get some cheap thrill from seeing the original photo put into the ad, but simply to say that this matter is getting blown out of proportion and everyone needs to take a chill pill.