The Principle of Fraternity

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January 09, 2023

Why in news?

The principle of fraternity which is the touchstone of democratic projects across the world, has gained prominence in recent times.

How about the emergence of the principle of fraternity?

  • The word fraternity (Bandhutva) is derived from French to mean brotherhood, friendship, community and cooperation.

Ideas of Fraternity

  • The Judeo-Christian View - The Judeo-Christian world envisaged a brotherhood among men based on the belief that all men were ‘Children of God’.
  • View of the French Revolution (1789-1799) – It is a more radical and secular view that denotes a sense of solidarity and brotherhood among those who were opposed to the cruel monarchical order.
  • This idea became the basis of modern citizenship.

What about the concept of fraternity in the Indian context?

  • In the Indian context, fraternity emerged during the process of anti-colonial struggle as an associated process of nation-building.
  • While drafting India’s Constitution, Ambedkar laid great stress on fraternity.
  • According to Ambedkar, “Fraternity is a sense of common brotherhood of all Indians that gives unity and solidarity to social life.”


Fraternity in the Constitution

  • Preamble - The Preamble declares that fraternity has to assure
    • The dignity of the individual
    • The unity and integrity of the nation
  • Article 1 describes India as a 'Union of States', emphasising the Indian Union's indestructibility.
  • Fundamental duty - Article 51A states that it shall be the duty of every citizen of India to promote harmony and the spirit of common brotherhood amongst all the people of India transcending religious, linguistic and regional or sectional diversities.
  • The Constitution promotes the feeling of fraternity by single citizenship system.

How significant is the concept in modern times?

  • Recent years have violated the ideal of fraternity in a variety of ways.
  • Examples include
    • Gated residential communities which exclude people on the basis of their caste, religion and food preference
    • Lovers who are prevented from entering into relationships because they belong to different religions/castes or same sex
  • Significance of fraternity
  • Injustice and inequality - Fraternity is the necessary foundation to fight all the world’s injustices, hate and inequalities.
  • Social solidarity - The idea of fraternity is closely linked to that of social solidarity, and imbibe the values of caring, compassion, empathy and love.
  • Social protection & justice - The collective caring promotes the idea of social protection in order to provide greater justice.
  • Political democracy - Political democracy cannot last unless there lies at the base of it social democracy.
  • Social democracy - Social democracy means a way of life which recognizes liberty, equality and fraternity as the principles of life.
  • The principles of liberty, equality and fraternity form a union of trinity in the sense that to divorce one from the other is to defeat the very purpose of democracy.



  1. The Hindu | Imagining the politics of fraternity
  2. The India Forum | Fraternity: The Missing Link of India’s Democracy
  3. Outlook India | Fraternity
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