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The Rising Tiger and The White Knight

M. R. Pamidi, Ph. D.
Thursday, October 6, 2011
M. R. Pamidi, Ph. D.
The Past

The United States and India are the world’s richest and largest democracies, respectively. Democracy has survived and thrived in the U. S. for almost 240 years without a single hiatus, despite the various wars we have fought – Civil, Mexican-American, World Wars I and II, Korean, Vietnam, Iraq, and Afghanistan. And, the U. S. has never had a military coup d'état since gaining freedom from the British Rule. Modern India is a much younger democracy, a little over 60 years old. Remarkably, India has not had a single coup since its independence, even though its neighbors Bangladesh and Pakistan have suffered a constant onslaught of dictators and tyrants.

After gaining independence from the British in 1947, the new leaders in India were wondering what form of government they should set up. Under the British Rule, India was a Constitutional Monarchy. It could follow an American-style Constitutional Republic. What did India choose?

Dr. B. R. Ambedkar, a freedom fighter and often called the Father of Indian Constitution, rose to preeminence after attending the University of Bombay, Columbia University, University of London, and the London School of Economics. Having faced untold discriminations in India, because he was a dalit, an untouchable, and having lived in both the U. S. and England, he drew the best of both countries, thoroughly studied the Constitutions of both these countries – after all, he was a lawyer – and, with other leaders, recommended that India should adopt a Parliamentary Republic system. He was instrumental in drafting the Indian Constitution, which is relatively more malleable and hence by no means perfect, because there have been 94 Amendments to it since 1950 vis-à-vis 27 for the U. S. Constitution since it was adopted in 1787.


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