Obituary Granville Austin: The Social Constitutionalist

Publication Date01 December 2014
AuthorAshutosh Kumar
Date01 December 2014
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Global Thrasa-Mullah Complex
Studies in Indian Politics
2(2) 261–262
Granville Austin:
© 2014 Lokniti, Centre for the
Study of Developing Societies
The Social Constitutionalist
SAGE Publications
Los Angeles, London,
New Delhi, Singapore,
Washington DC
DOI: 10.1177/2321023014551892
Granville Austin (1927–2014) would be remembered by students of India’s politics and Constitution for
having influenced the study of the making and working of India’s Constitution. The last two and half
decades have witnessed a major thrust in the study of India’s political and economic processes as they
have evolved rapidly and have almost managed to reconfigure the nature of India’s political and social
democracy. An important component of many such studies has been to refer to the relevant constitutional
aspects also, be it related to the ongoing contestations relating to what were for long considered the
foundational principles of India’s democracy or to the evolving nature of political–economic structure
and the inherent challenges therein. Such studies, sensitive to the constitutional experiences of a ‘new
democracy’, have enriched themselves by undertaking an in-depth analysis of the way the constitutional
provisions have been put into practice and also by making an attempt to explore the core ideas that
guided the constitution-makers during the deliberations in the Constituent Assembly. This genre of stud-
ies owe a lot to Granville Austin, the eminent constitutionalist, who with his two definitive books widely
acclaimed as classics (Austin, 1966, 1999), not only showed the way to the interested researchers as to
how they could use the reading of the constitution as well as the constitutional developments in their
political analysis but also provided them a wealth of material culled from primary sources to build on.
The first book (Austin, 1966), as Austin himself put it, was ‘a...

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