The territorial demarcations of a nation constitute mere geometry of the physicality of nation and such ‘dimension-status’ is predominantly valuable from the angle of economics and defence; it is essentially the ‘governance paradigm’ adopted by a nation which defines, delineates and expresses the ‘personhood’ of a nation. In fact, it is the ‘governance paradigm’ constitutionally embraced by the nation which kindles spirit of nationalism and awakens the ‘soul’ of the nation.

Republic, a people-centric and people-energized paradigm of political governance, quintessentially represents the felicity, vivacity, vibrancy and resilience of the power-structures in the polity of a nation. A republican form of governance is energized by ideals of social justice, liberty and egalitarianism.
The politically-cherished appellation ‘Republic’, having its etymological roots in the Latin expression Res Publica ( public thing or public affairs ), is the affirmative choice of 159 nations out of globally recognized 206 Sovereign States. The political expression ‘Republic’ broadly signifies a political State where the supreme political power resides in the people of the State and such political power is exercised in the name of the State usually by the representatives elected by the people. Thus a Republic stands in contrast with political model of ‘Monarchy’.
Article IV of the Constitution of America guarantees a Republican form of government in each State of the Union. However, the Declaration of Independence is conspicuously silent qua the republican status of governance. Identically Soviet Union, having 15 federal multinational subdivisions, describes itself as ‘Soviet Socialist Republics’.
Law Lexicon defines Republic as a government for the protection of the citizen against exercise of all unjust power. It is a government administered by a few, as representatives of the people and for their benefit. Another lexical version of the term ‘Republic’ reads: “A Republic is an independent sovereign power- in other words, a State- just as certainly and in the same sense as Monarchy, limited or absolute; and every State is a person, an artificial person, in a more extensive and higher sense than an ordinary corporation.”
The term ‘Republic’ finds its initial mention in formal way in the Renaissance period (16th and 17th century) when political thinkers like Machiavelli, Milton, Montesquieu, propounded different theories which are broadly described as classical republicanism or civic humanism. However, in 6th century BCE in India Confederacy of Vajji, had adopted the political model described as Vajji Mahajanapada, at its political capital , Vaishali. This parliamentary model of Vajji Mahajanapada is politically treated as a historically recorded example of Republic in ancient India.
Even in Middle age there are historically recorded instances, such as election of Gopalan in Bengal region, of political existence of Republican government, in the polity of India.

Republic, though often associated with democracy because of shared principle of rule of consent of the governed, is not necessarily a synonym for democracy. The republicanism does not ipso facto define how the people are to rule.
The term republic encompasses both the political concepts of ‘democracy’ or ‘aristocracy’ or even ‘oligarchy’.
The Cambridge school of historical analysis, also represented by J. G. A .Pocock, distinguished the concept of ‘Republic’ from the intersectional concept of ‘liberal democracy’. James Madison opined that ‘Republic’ is State that does not practice direct democracy but rather has the government indirectly controlled by the people.
In Italian sub continent the roman nation was described as Respublica, while the citizenry of Rome (accessible through three routes of birth, naturalization and manumission of slaves) was described as populus romanus..
While in 1849 case, Luther v Borden, the Court refused to delve into the issue concerning the political form and structure of ‘Republic’, holding that it is purely a political question, the Court belatedly in the year 1875 ruled in States v Cruikshank that equal rights of citizens is necessary ingredient of ‘Republic’.
The republican States are having multiple political identities: Federal, Unitary, Theocratic, and Presidential and Parliamentary besides others. While USA is an example of Federal Republic, Ireland, Egypt, France Iran and Finland are examples of Unitary Republics. However, Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan and Mauritania are examples of Theocratic Republics. The examples of Presidential Republics are USA and Algeria. India is a political model of Parliamentary Republic.

The ideology of republicanism is also described as ‘civic humanism’ and ‘civic virtue’. These attributes, ‘civic humanism’ and ‘civic virtue’, subsequently came to be recognized as rule of law.
In the Indian context the republic status is well delineated in the constitutional scheme. Thus at the very first session of Constituent Assembly, Pt. Jawahar LaL Nehru expressed his seminal view, in the following words, while moving the Objectives Resolution;
“This Constituent Assembly declares its firm and solemn resolve to proclaim India an independent sovereign Republic….wherein all power and authority of Sovereign Independent India, its constituent parts and organs of Government, are derived from people”.
The resolution of objectives was unanimously adopted by the Constituent Assembly. The founding fathers of the constitution of India were indeed having a natural antipathy even to the shadows of imperialism. Thus while adopting the Bagehotian imperatives (refer Walter Bagehot: The English Constitution, 1888) articulated out of his well-received thesis on British constitutionalism. Thus the Constituent Assembly avoided even symbolism of imperialism in the constitutional scheme by affirmatively opting for a Republican form of polity, with an elected Head of the State. It deserves to be noted that the said political thinker, Walter Bagehot, distinguished ‘efficient parts’ of Constitution from the ‘dignified parts’. He opined that the ‘dignified parts’ are to ‘excite and preserve reverence of the population’, while the efficient parts are those by which the constitution, in fact, works and rules. Bagehot opined and rightly so that there are ‘dignified parts’ of institutions to ‘impress many’ as distinguished from ‘efficient parts’ of institutions to ‘govern many’. Thus the Constitutional monarchy in England was treated by Walter Bagehot as only dignified part of the Constitution. However, India opted for Westminster democratic institutions with an elected Head of the State.

However, in S R Chaudhari V State of Punjab ( 2001) 7 SCC 126 , Hon’ble Bench observed :
“The words ‘We, the People of India’ emphasize the republican and democratic character of the polity and all power ultimately stems from the people. These words are indicative of source of constitution”.
Contemplating on the fundamental features of Republic , justice V R Krishna Iyer in Narendra Madivalappa Kheni v Manikrao Patil (1977) 4 SCC 16 held as under ;
“The faith of the people in good faith of government is basic to a republic. Administrative syndrome that harms the citizens’ hopes in State often manifests itself in callously slow action or gravely suspicious instant action…”
The magnum opus of Plato ‘Republic’, written in a ‘dialogue’ form, engages the readers in a thematically adorned stage for a critical public discourse. The seat of the discourse is the notionally located in an ‘ideated city’, named Kallipolis (also spelt as Callipolis ) . The narrative records debates of Socrates with many Athenians and foreigners ( Piraeus, Glaucon, Polemarchus and Thrasymachus ) aimed to analytically evaluate the nature of existing or ideal political regimes . The ideated city ‘Kallipolis’ represents a paragon of good life (idealized as Eudaemonia : happiness ) based on the principles crystallized as an outcome of the said debates. The book divided in ten parts (described as Book I to Book X) and is a classic in political philosophy.
The exploration of philosophy of ideated political values contributing to eudaemonia as per Plato is carried through critical processes stirred and nurtured by the agency of human soul (psyche or essence of a person). The Platonic soul (psyche or essence of a person) is believed to comprise of three parts, identified to be located in three different regions of the body. The location of the said three parts of soul (psyche or essence of a person) is identified as under;
The first part, Lagos or logistikan, is stated to be located in the head and is a primordial source of reason to regulate other parts. The second part, Thymos or thumetikon is stated to be located near chest and relates to anger and allied emotions. The third part, Eros or Epithumetikon, is stated to be located in the stomach and is reservoir of desires. These three parts of the soul, often referred to as tripartite division of soul, are the three imagined paths in the higher quest of Plato for ideals of a just Republic in Kallipolis. When these paths, are cleared of roadblocks(impediments of injustice ), as per theories set out in the book I to Book X of the Republic, through ideal political processes, human life is believed to attain a state of harmony and happiness(Eudaemonia).
In a famous book ‘English Constitution’, Walter Bagehot, well acknowledged author, theorises: ‘Do not be fooled by constitutional theories (paper theories) and formal institutional continuities (deceptive appearances). Only the real centers of power in the polity need to be evaluated .A ‘living political reality’, actually hosting, in the form of a mega-stadium, all the institutional field activities needs to be effectively surveyed to assess the life-specific value of constitutional ideals’.

Thus ‘Republic’ or ‘Monarchy’ must necessarily establish their own essentiality as an ideal form of government, solely on the basis of ‘happiness principle’ (Eudaemonia).
A monarchy (distinguishable from the functional paradigm of constitutional monarchy of United Kingdom) as a governance model is often critiqued. The contrapuntal discourse in such critiques usually hovers around negative premises and non-affirmative conclusions, predominantly due to the systemically-ingrained and inalienable feature of Monarchy, where the ‘power center’ remains perpetually distanced from the masses.
A ‘Republic’, as a form of government, also countenances, on the basis of empirical studies, almost identical indictment, time in and time out, in the political domains. After all, the forms of government have to prove their worth on the touchstone of justice, which indeed is not a cloistered virtue. It is incontrovertible fact that a republic ipso facto cannot boast of a having meaningful proximity to the masses, especially the masses in distress. Such sinful absence of any worthwhile proximity of the government with the ‘governed’ is, of course, due to unpardonable failures of men controlling the institutions often erupts as a cri de coeur of the civic society. The recent incidents in India of persons stranded in floods as well as migrant laborers critically facing lockdown- related stresses speak volumes of the ‘actual distance’ of the institutions from the masses, even in a republican government .
Alexander Pope, the legendary poet, very aptly admonishes: “For forms of government, let fools contest, whatever is best administered is best”. This ageless aphorism is indeed an indelible epilogue of the scholarly treatises on the subject.

A republic remains a republic in an ideal form, if and only if, the institutions of government remain under effective surveillance with impenetrable barbs (not just the playful ‘norms’) of accountability which goad and not inhibit the institutions to work tirelessly to accomplish the tasks.
India became a Republic on 26th January 19509 (forenoon), when Dr. Rajendra Prasad(‘Rajen Babu’ to many was appointed by majority vote of constituent assembly as First President ,by out-numbering the Nehru-supported candidature of Shri Chakravarti Rajagopalachari) Thereafter on May 2,1952 the elections were held and Dr. Rajendra Prasad won election against rival Sh. K T Shah by securing more than 83% of total votes. Dr. Rajendra Prasad again won second election as President of India on May 6 1957 ( total votes in his favour 459698) by defeating two nearest rivals , namely, Chowdhry Hari Ram ( only 2672 votes ) and Nagendera Narayan Das( only 2000 votes ) . The gap of votes in favour of Dr. Rajendra Prasad speaks volumes for his popularity as well as political stature. Dr. Rajendra Prasad took oath the first time on 26.01.1950 in the historic central hall of the Parliament as the First President of India. The oath of the office was administered to him by His Excellency Shri Chakravarti Rajagopalachari, the then Governor General of India. Almost concurrently with appointment of Dr Rajendra Prasad as First President of india , Shri Chakravarti Rajagopalachari demitted his office of Governor General.

The architects of Constitution of India while constructing a Democratic Republic took pains to obliterate in toto even the vestigial traces of imperialism from the functional scheme of the Republic. Thus while under Articles 52 to Article 54 of the constitution contemplate President of India as an elected person to hold exalted status of the Executive Head of the State, Article 74(1) literally binds the President of India to act in accordance with advice of the council of ministers. Supreme Court of India, delineates the status and role of President of India in Shamsher Singh v State of Punjab (1974)2 SCC 831 through the following well-chosen words of precision;
“The President of India is not at all a glorified cipher. He represents the majesty of the state, is at its apex, though only symbolically, and has rapport with the people and parties being above politics. His vigilant presence makes for good government if only he uses, what Bagehot described as the right to be consulted, to warn and encourage. Indeed Article 78 wisely used, keeps the president in close touch with the prime Minister on matters of national importance and policy significance and there is no doubt that the imprint of his personality may chasten and correct the political government, although the actual exercise of the functions entrusted to him by law is in effect and in law carried on by his duly appointed mentors, i.e. the Prime Minister and his colleagues. In short, the President, like the King, has not merely been constitutionally romanticized but actually vested with persuasive role”.
Thus the finest puritanical and ethical seeds of a ‘Republic’ sown in the text and soul of Constitution of India stood consistently nurtured by the robust political processes over the years and have now ripened into full-blossomed ‘democratic Republic’.


Long live the democratic Republic!




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