The Indian Constituent Assembly laid the foundations of the largest democracy in the world. The debates between the members of the Assembly form the bedrock of the Indian Constitution. The chapters in this volume propose a range of methodological perspectives from which these critical debates might be read. Adopting a multidisciplinary approach, they explore themes such as party politics, ideas of rights, including caste and minority rights, social justice and the philosophy of free speech.

A major contribution to the study of Indian politics, this book will be indispensable to political scientists, political theorists, legal scholars, historians, lawyers and general readers interested in the history of the Indian Constitution.

chapter |9 pages


chapter 1|28 pages

“We the people?”

Politics and the conundrum of framing a constitution on the eve of decolonisation

chapter 2|20 pages

Conflict, not consensus

Towards a political economy of the making of the Indian Constitution

chapter 3|25 pages

Pride and prejudice in Austin’s cornerstone

Passions in the Constituent Assembly of India

chapter 5|27 pages

The conservative constitution

Freedom of speech and the Constituent Assembly Debates

chapter 6|33 pages

Freedom of speech in the early constitution

A study of the Constitution (First Amendment) Bill

chapter 7|18 pages

Between inequality and identity

The Indian Constituent Assembly Debates and religious difference, 1946–50

chapter 8|15 pages

“We the people”

Seamless webs and social revolution in India’s Constituent Assembly Debates

chapter 9|28 pages

India’s republican moment