ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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State as a Partisan Entity

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The recent announcement by the Karnataka government to adopt two schemes to brighten the matrimonial prospects of the poor from the Brahmin community raises several fundamental questions about the social character of the state. One of the editorials in this issue of EPW has already expressed some of the most pertinent concerns in this regard. Following from the editorial, let us take the argument a little further and ask some more relevant questions in regard to the schemes ­under reference. Ideally speaking, if marriages are personal or private affairs, should the state interfere in such matters? If yes, what are the normative grounds on which such partisan initiatives can be justified? As a preface to these two questions, an equally important question needs to be raised here. Is the state inherently partisan? If not, what are the sociopolitical conditions that “motivate” the state to step into the domain which is personal or private.

The state, in a liberal sense, is considered non-partisan or impartial, and hence, it exists over and above the mundane matrimonial affairs of the society, which would want the state to stay away from matters, such as marriage, that exclusively ­belong to it. And yet, the state ventures into the private domain and tries to regulate it with its power of patronage. The questions that some people may raise are: Should the state try and regulate this domain on the grounds that it desires to achieve larger goals or should it regulate this domain with strictly partisan motives?

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Updated On : 13th Mar, 2021

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