• Anish Mathew Palathinadiyil Samanvaya Theology College, Bhopal


Human Dignity, Indian Constitution, Indian Democracy


The article aims at perceiving the concept of human dignity in the Indian democracy based on the present socio-political situation. The pertaining question the article treats is whether human dignity is already realized or it is an ideal yet to be realized in the present situation of the nation. The first part of the article makes an investigation into the notion of human dignity as presented in the Indian constitution. The preamble, fundamental rights and some significant judgments by the judiciary emphasize human dignity. However, the present socio-political situation gives a different picture. In India democracy is flawed, politics is criminalized, dissents and media are silenced, administrative structures are being nullified, widespread corruption, violence, lynching, casteism, pro-rich economic policies, post-truth culture and attacks on women constantly challenge human dignity. The second part of the article tries to understand the theological and biblical foundations of human dignity. Based on this, the political ramifications of human dignity are analysed. Steps to regard Indian constitution as a sacred book, to take national pledge seriously and to actively participate in the democratic processes are proposed.

Author Biography

Anish Mathew Palathinadiyil, Samanvaya Theology College, Bhopal

Anish Mathew Palathinadiyil is a Religious Priest belonging to Carmelites of Mary Immaculate (CMI). After his priestly ordination in 2010 he worked in the fields of education, pastoral ministry and formation in Maharashtra, India. He completed his Bachelors in Education (BEd) in 2012 and Masters in Arts (English) in 2015. He successfully completed Licentiate in Moral Theology (LTh) in 2020 from Dharmaram Vidya Kshetram. At present he is in Samanvaya Theology College, Bhopal as a staff member.


“Fascism Quotes” [Accessed on 12 September 2020].

“Global Hunger Index,” Index#Ranking [Accessed on 17 September 2020].

“Hidden Apartheid,” 0207webwcover_0.pdf [Accessed on 17 September 2020].

“India’s Criminal Politicians,” [Accessed on 17 September 2020].

“National Pledge of India,” Pledge_India [Accessed on 27 September, 2020].

“Poverty in India,”, [Accessed on 28 September 2020]

“Preamble of Indian Constitution,” article-750-preamble-to-the-indian-constitution.html. Italics by the author.

“Word of the Year 2016,”

A.J. Philip, “What a National Shame,” Indian Currents, 30, 30 (2018) 11-14, at 11.

A.K. Sikri, “Human Dignity as a Constitutional Value.” elp/files/2016/06/HUMAN-DIGNITY-HAWAI.pdf [Accessed on 2 October 2020].

Amritraj Joshua Paul, “Truthing in a Post-Truth Political Society: A Hermeneutical Proposal,” Mar Thoma Seminary Journal of Theology 7, 01 (2018): 21-33, at 24.

Andrew Anil Sequeira, Living Christian Life, vol. 1, Bangalore: Claretian Publications, 2015, 184-185.

Antony Arulraj, “Biblical Vision and Notion of Human Dignity,” in Human Dignity in Catholic Social Thought, ed., Charles Irudayam, Bangalore: Asian Trading Corporation, 2014, 1-12, at 2.

Catechism of the Catholic Church, #1700.

Cedric Prakash, “India,” Indian Currents 30, 29 (2018) 26-27, at 26.

Cedric Prakash, “Justice for We, the People,” Indian Currents 30, 04 (2018) 20-25, at 21.

Cedric Prakash, “Rights Endangered,” Indian Currents 30, 49 (2018) 11-14, at 11.

Cedric Prakash, “Scourge of Violence,” Indian Currents 30, 41 (2018) 20-21, at 21.

David Hollenbach, The Common Good and Christian Ethics, New York: Cambridge University, 2003, 11.

George Plathottam, “How many more Nirbhayas must we Mourn?,” Indian Currents, 29, 17 (2018) 16-19, at 18.

George V. Lobo, Christian Living according to Vatican II. Bangalore: Theological Publications in India, 1980, 269.

Hannes Kuch, “The Rituality of Humiliation: Exploring Symbolic Vulnerability,” in Humiliation, Degradation, Dehumanization: Human Dignity Violated, ed. Paulus Kaufmann, Hannes Kuch, Christian Neuhäuser and Elaine Webster, New York: Springer, 2011, 37-56, at 38.

Himes, Responses to 101 Questions on Catholic Social Teaching, 19, 20, 38.

In 2009 a two-judge bench of the Delhi High Court had decided that treating consensual homosexual sex between adults as a crime is a violation of fundamental rights protected by India’s constitution. (Ref. 20090826035913/ APS0207 2009CW74552001.pdf)

Jacob Peenikaparambil, “Mobocracy to Derail Democracy,” Indian Currents 30, 45 (2018) 17-19, at 19.

James F. Childress and John Macquarrie, ed., The Westminster Dictionary of Christian Ethics, Philadelphia: The Westminster Press, 1986, 279.

Jaswant Kaur, “Inequality-Galloping Gap,” Indian Currents 30, 39 (2018) 22-24, at 22 .

John C. Bennett, The Radical Imperative: From Theology to Social Ethics, Philadelphia: Westminster Press, 1975, 12.

John E. Hare, God’s Command, God’s Command, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2015, 28.

John Karuvelil, “Structural Legitimization of Dehumanization in India,” in Doing Asian Theological Ethics, ed., Yiu Sing Lúcás Chan, James F. Keenan and Shaji George Kochuthara, Bengaluru: Dharmaram Publications, 2016, 125-139.

John S. Feinberg and Paul D. Feinberg, Ethics for a Brave New World, Illinois: Crossway Books, 1993, 393.

Jose Vallikkatt, “Complex Web of Lynching,” Indian Currents 30, 29 (2018) 22-25, at 25.

Kenneth R. Himes, Responses to 101 Questions on Catholic Social Teaching, New York: Paulist Press, 1998, 20.

Khosa, “Adding Fuel to Fire,” Indian Currents 30, 38 (2018): 18-20, at 18.

Myron J. Pereira, “Post Truth, Fake News and Alternative Facts, Indian Currents, 29, 46 (2017) 33-34, at 33.

Nirbhaya is the nickname given to a girl who was gangraped by six men in a moving bus in Delhi in 2012.

Paul, “Truthing in a Post-Truth Political Society: A Hermeneutical Proposal,” 25.

Peenikaparambil, “Mobocracy to Derail Democracy,” 18.

Prakash, “Scourge of Violence,” 21.

Ralf Stoecker, “Three Crucial Turns on the Road to an Adequate Understanding of Human Dignity,” in Humiliation, Degradation, Dehumanization: Human Dignity Violated, ed. Paulus Kaufmann, Hannes Kuch, Christian Neuhäuser and Elaine Webster, New York: Springer, 2011, 7-17, at 15.

Saji Kanayankal, “Theological Education in the Post-Truth Era,” Asian Horizons: Dharmaram Journal of Theology 12, 04 (2018) 727-740, at 729.

Shachi Chakrabarti and Nirmal Chakrabarti, ed. Gender Justice. vol. 2. Kolkata: R Cambray and Co. 2008, 339.

Suresh Mathew, “Rights on Paper, Wrongs on Ground,” Indian Currents 30, 49 (2018) 5.

The Hindu business line, January 18, 2018.

Thomas Hughson, The Believer as Citizen, New York: Paulist Press, 1993, 21.

Thomas Menamparampil, “Saving our Freedom,” Indian Currents 30, 39 (2018) 12-16, at 13.

Thomas Menamparampil, “The Other Side,” Indian Currents 30, 05 (2018) 20-23, at 21.

V.T. Rajshekar, Hinduism, Fascism and Gandhism, Bangalore: Dalit Sahitya Academy, 1985, 28.

Vinay Bhargava, “Curing the Cancer of Corruption,” in Global Issues for Global Citizens: An Introduction to Key Development Challenges. Edited by Vinay Bhargava, Washington: World Bank, 2006, 315-359, at 341.

William Brennan, Dehumanizing the Vulnerable: When Word Games takes Lives, Chicago: Loyola University Press, 1995, 69.

William E. May, Sex and the Sanctity of Human Life, Christendom Publication, Virginia, 1984, 11.




How to Cite

Palathinadiyil, A. M. . (2020). HUMAN DIGNITY IN INDIAN DEMOCRACY: ALREADY OR NOT YET?. Asian Horizons, 14(4), 927–940. Retrieved from