In the foreword to Justice Jois’ volume Justice Ramaswamy
avers, "Manu Smriti occupied centre stage leading
commentary next to Yajnavalkya." The book tells us
that though there are several aspects of Manu Smriti that
have been rightly condemned, one cannot ignore the positive
traits of this "codified" script of rules; e.g.,
"Reject wealth / money and desires which are contrary to Dharma.
Reject also such rules of Dharma, obedience to which
leads to unhappiness to some or brings about public
resentment". Similarly, Vyasa Smriti – another
compilation of rules in ancient India – has a verse, which is
"similar to article 13 of the Constitution of India"
relating to fundamental rights.
The author has
provided original text in Sanskrit with
translations/explanations in English on such topics as the
functions of grihasthashrama, substantive and procedural
law etc. He has gone to great lengths in bringing to us those
aspects of ancient India that tell us how dynamic the society
once was. Dharma was not an unyielding dogma but an
ever-evolving concept that was designed to meet the people’s
aspirations. From time to time great thinkers reinterpreted dharma
to make it more in tune with prevailing circumstances. Hope
Justice Jois will come out with a sequel that will tell us how,
when and why the once vigorous Indian society got bogged down in
Presidency and the Successive Presidents
by M.L. Ahuja. Icon Publications, New Delhi. Pages: x+230. Rs
Is the President
of India a mere figurehead? Not really. As Head of the State he
is empowered to play his role as the protector, preserver and
defender of the Constitution. Says Ahuja, "The Indian
Constitution is of a ‘sovereign, socialist, secular,
democratic republic’ and the office of the President is
highest and constitutionally perpetual." The State
Governors are his nominees and are directly accountable to him.
He can ask them to reserve and transmit any State Bill for his
consideration. He is also the Supreme Commander of our Armed
Forces, and has "unique" ordinance-making powers. Dr.
Rajendra Prasad once remarked, "Constitution can only be
what its people want it to be. If you make good use of the
constitutional provisions you will find that they are good
enough for you." Since ours is a Constitutional Presidency,
its working depends upon the will of the people of India as
expressed in our constitutional provisions.
This book is
divided into three parts. Part 1 deals with the constitutional
provisions determining the President’s status, his powers and
the variegated roles he can play in the parliamentary form of
democracy. Ahuja has given some instances of how various
constitutional crises and challenges were resolved by different
Presidents. Part 2 gives brief biographical sketches of the
Presidents from Dr. Rajendra Prasad to Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam. Part
3 provides source and reference material like the Presidential
and Vice-Presidential Elections Act, 1952 etc.
Literacy Campaign for Out of School Children
by P. Adinarayana Reddy. A.P.H. Publishing, New Delhi. Pages:
xiii+145. Rs 300
Spread of literacy
is the first step in ushering in an educated, well-informed and
vibrant polity. Literacy is indispensable for fashioning
socio-economic transformation in our country. This awareness has
become particularly acute now that we are facing the effects of
globalisation. The focus is not only on enrolling children into
schools but also on such youngsters as are out of school.
With the aim of
eradicating illiteracy from the country the National Literacy
Mission has launched more than 420 District Total Literacy
Campaigns. Chittoor District’s Akshara Tapasman Programme aims
at covering more than 6 lakh illiterates in the age-group of
9-35 years in order to stop the future inflow of unlettered
populace. It also proposes to provide youth with one more chance
to avail of either formal or non-formal education. Reddy’s
study aims at suggesting appropriate entry points for children
into the desired educational streams.