We cannot remind ourselves often enough that the constitution is intended not merely to provide for the exigencies of the moment but to endure through a long lapse of years; and that it was meant to impart such a momentum to the living spirit of the rule of law that democracy and freedom may survive in India beyond our own times and in the days when our place will know us no more.

Further, constitutional developments in India are not a matter of concern to our people alone. We constitute one-sixth of the human race and our choice between the two roads that diverge into the wood will have an imponderable impact on the cause of democracy throughout the world.

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First Published in Illustrated Weekly of India, Jan 1976, p.4–10

More essays and speeches by Nani Palkhivala can be accessed at Indian Liberals, an open, multilingual digital archive committed to preserving liberal voices in the Indian public sphere.

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The opinions expressed in this essay are those of the authors. They do not purport to reflect the opinions or views of CCS.