J. Sai Deepak

Indian litigator and author

J. Sai Deepak Iyer is an Indian lawyer primarily known for being the author of the India / Bharat tetralogy. As a counsel, he practices before the Supreme Court of India and the High Court of Delhi.

Quotes edit

India that is Bharat, Coloniality, Civilisation, Constitution, 2021 edit

J Sai Deepak - India that is Bharat_ Coloniality, Civilisation, Constitution-_ Bloomsbury India (2021)
  • Ever since British author and columnist Martin Jacques proposed about a decade ago that China was a ‘civilisation-state’ which Europe could not relate to given the latter’s nation-state-based worldview, similar assertions have been made about Bharat being a civilisation-state. In 2014, Dr. Koenraad Elst wrote a piece on his blog titled ‘India as a civilisation-state’ wherein, citing Zhang Weiwei’s book The China Wave: Rise of a Civilizational State, he contended that Bharat too must make a similar case for itself. Dr. Elst’s position was based on his view that Bharat’s ‘self-understanding’ supported its case of being or becoming a civilisation-state. Subsequently, this position has been echoed by others, including the current National Security Advisor Shri Ajit Doval. In my opinion, such a position must be examined and made good from both a conceptual and practical perspective if the purpose is to give effect to that position at the level of law and policymaking, failing which, it would be reduced to just another fashionable buzzword or a mere talking point.
  • That said, merely because Bharat is a living civilisation in the realm of society, it does not translate to Bharat being a civilisation-state. In other words, a State that presides over a civilisation is not a civilisation-state; instead, a State that is conscious of the civilisational character of its society and structures itself on civilisational lines is a civilisation-state. Therefore, one needs to go beyond the name Bharat to understand if the manner in which the Indian State has been structured and functions, is alive to the fact that the society it presides over is a federal civilisation, and not a nation in the European sense. Specifically, for the Indian State to be treated as an Indic civilisation-state, we would need to examine whether the State has been built on the fundamental building blocks of this civilisation, and whether its political and social infrastructure viewed through the prism of its Constitution is designed to replace the colonial consciousness with Indic consciousness.


  • With this, the discussion sought to be undertaken in this book comes to an end. This much is clear—by the end of 1924, Bharat’s indigeneity may have found a way, although not ideal, to live with a dual consciousness, namely the Bharatiya and the European. However, it was once again confronted with an earlier form of coloniality, namely Middle Eastern, which had managed to revive, reinvent and organise itself after the decline of the Mughal empire and was once again on the march. This time around, Bharat was ill-prepared to deal with this challenge owing to its dual consciousness, which severely limited its ability to call a spade a spade. Consequently, Bharat had embarked on the fatal path of accommodation and compromise under the burden of ‘values’ inherited from the Christian European coloniser, which muddled its sense of self, in the process leaving it woefully ill- equipped to weather the storm, which was no more brewing but had already announced its bloody arrival—or, more accurately, re-arrival—by the end of 1924.
  • To paraphrase writer and philosopher George Santayana, those who do not learn from history are doomed, and dare I say, cursed and condemned to repeat it.

Columns edit

  • " ..“caste” and “tribe” as we understand them today, are ethnocentric categories created by the Christian European coloniser based on ethnographies of Bharat’s society and social organisation prepared by Christian missionaries.." - Indian Express, January 15, 2024 [1]

References edit

External links edit

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