Topic outline

  • 01 The Indian Constitution

    In this chapter, we are going to begin with football, a game many of you have probably heard of, or even played. As the name suggests, this is a game that involves the players’ feet. According to the rules of football, if the ball touches the arm of any player (except the goalkeeper), then this is considered a foul. So if players start holding the football in their hands and passing it around, then they are not playing football any more. Similarly other games, such as hockey or cricket, also

    have rules according to which they are played. Each of these rules helps define the game, and helps us distinguish one game from another. As these are fundamental to the game, we can also call them the constitutive rules of the game. Like these games, a society also has constitutive rules that make it what it is and differentiate it from other kinds of societies. In large societies in which different communities of people live together, these rules are formulated through consensus, and in modern countries this consensus is usually available in written form. A written document in which we find such rules is called a Constitution.

  • 02 Understanding Secularism

    Imagine yourself as a Hindu or Muslim living in a partof the United States of America where Christian

    fundamentalism is very powerful. Suppose that despite being a US citizen, no one is willing to rent their house to you. How would this make you feel? Would it not make you feel resentful? What if you decided to complain against this discrimination and were told togo back to India. Would this not make you feel angry?Your anger could take two forms. First, you might react by saying that Christians should get the same treatmentin places where Hindus and Muslims are in a majority.

    This is a form of retaliation. Or, you might take the view that there should be justice for all. You may fight, stating that no one should be discriminated against on grounds of their religious practices and beliefs. This statement rests on the assumption that all forms of domination related to religion should end. This is the essence of secularism. In this chapter, you will read more about what this means in the Indian context.

  • 03 Why Do We Need a Parliament?

    We in India pride ourselves on being a democracy.

    Here we will try and understand the relation between

    the ideas of participation in decision-making and

    the need for all democratic governments to have the

    consent of their citizens.

  • 04 Understanding Laws

    You may be familiar with some laws such as those

    that specify the age of marriage, the age at which a

    person can vote, and perhaps even the laws dealing

    with buying and selling of property. We now know

    that the Parliament is in charge of making laws. Do

    these laws apply to everyone? How do new laws come

    into being? Could there be laws that are unpopular

    or controversial? What should we as citizens do under

    such circumstances?

  • 05 Judiciary

    A glance at the newspaper provides you a glimpse o fthe range of work done by the courts in this country. But can you think of why we need these courts? As you have read in Unit 2, in India we have the rule of law. What this means is that laws apply equally to all persons and that a certain set of fixed procedures need to be followed when a law is violated. To enforce this rule of law, we have a judicial system that consists of the mechanism of courts that a citizen can approach when a law is violated. As an organ of government, the judiciary plays a crucial role in the functioning of India’s democracy. It can play this role only because it is independent. What does an ‘independent judiciary’ mean? Is there any connection between the court in your area and the Supreme Court in New Delhi? In this chapter, you will find answers to these questions.

  • 06 Understanding Our Criminal Justice System

    When we see someone violating the law, we immediately think of informing the police. You might

    have seen, either in real life or in the movies, police officers filing reports and arresting persons. Because

    of the role played by the police in arresting persons,we often get confused and think that it is the police

    who decide whether a person is guilty or not. This, however, is far from true. After a person is arrested,

    it is a court of law that decides whether the accused person is guilty or not. According to the Constitution,every individual charged of a crime has to be given a fair trial.

  • 07 Understanding Marginalisation

    What Does it Mean to be Socially Marginalised?

    To be marginalised is to be forced to occupy the sides or fringes and thus not be at the centre of things. This is something that some of you have probably experienced in the classroom or playground. If you are not like most people in your class, that is, if your taste in music or films is different, if your accent marks you out from others, if you are less chatty than others in your class, if you don’t play the same sport that many of your classmates like, if you dress differently, the chances are that you will not be considered to be ‘in’ by your peers. So, often, you end up feeling that you are ‘not with it’ – as if what you say, feel and think and how you act are not quite right or acceptable to others.

  • 09 Public Facilities

    water as the primary example to discuss public facilities. It is important that the student understand quite clearly what is meant by the idea of public facilities and why the government needs to play a crucial role in their provision and, therefore, take overall responsibility. The idea of equity, or the equal availability, affordability and quality of water for all, is one of the key issues related to public facilities that the chapter highlights.

  • 10 Law and Social Justice

    To protect people from  exploitation, the government makes certain laws. These laws try to ensure that the unfair practices are kept at a minimum in the markets.