Gautam Bhatia | The Transformative Constitution?

Gautam Bhatia | The Transformative Constitution?

  9 - 10:30 a.m.
   Zoom Event (Off Campus)
Gautam Bhatia, Clare Talwalker

We think of Independence as a moment of political transformation from the erstwhile colonial regime to a democratic and republican government. The Indian Constitution is meant to embody this moment of transformation. However, the Constitution was meant to go much further than simply set out the blueprint for a political transition, or a mere transfer of power: it was intended to facilitate a thoroughgoing transformation of society itself, through the trinity of "liberty, equality, and fraternity", and democratise hierarchical relations in the "private sphere", such as those of caste, gender, and the economy.

Join us as legal scholar, constitutional (Indian) lawyer and sci-fi writer, Gautam Bhatia, talks about how close attention to the radical social movements that led up the framing of the Constitution, along with the Constituent Assembly Debates, reflects the democratic radical and transformative character of the Constitution, a character that has more often than not been obscured by subsequent scholarship as well as by judicial decisions.

DATE: Thursday, March 18, 2021
TIME: 9am Berkeley | 4pm London | 9pm Lahore | 9:30pm New Delhi | Calculate Your Local Time


This event will also be live streamed on the Institute's FB page: ISASatUCBerkeley

Speaker Bio
Gautam Bhatia is a legal scholar specializing in Indian constitutional issues. He was a practicing lawyer for four years in Delhi, and was part of the legal teams involved in the right to privacy judgment, the Aadhaar constitutional challenge, the challenge to Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code (same-sex relations), and also worked on a number of labour law cases. His work has been cited by the Supreme Court on four occasions. He is the author of Offend, Shock, or Disturb: Freedom of Speech under the Indian Constitution (OUP 2015) and, more recently, The Transformative Constitution (HarperCollins 2019) and he writes on Indian constitutional issues at

Gautam Bhatia is also a science fiction writer, reviewer and an editor of the award-winning Strange Horizons magazine. His debut novel is The Wall, a speculative sci-fi story set around a dystopian walled city called “Sumer”.

Mr. Bhatia graduated from the National Law School of India University in 2011, and then read for the BCL and the MPhil at the University of Oxford (on a Rhodes Scholarship), and for an LLM at Yale Law School. Presently, he is reading for a D.Phil in Law at the University of Oxford.

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The event is FREE and OPEN to the public.