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A People's Constitution$
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Rohit De

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780691174433

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: May 2019

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691174433.001.0001

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The Case of the Constable’s Nose

The Case of the Constable’s Nose

Policing Prohibition in Bombay

(p.32) 1 The Case of the Constable’s Nose
A People's Constitution

Rohit De

Princeton University Press

This chapter discusses the litigation over the imposition of a draconian Prohibition regime on Bombay. The Prohibition laws in Bombay and other provinces, brought in to enforce Article 47 of the Constitution, were among the earliest attempts by the postcolonial state to regulate the everyday life of its citizens. The Prohibition policy was a critical aspect of the attempt of the state to fashion a postcolonial identity for itself by freeing its citizens from what it called the foreign practice of drinking. However, it relied on the mechanisms of the colonial state for its implementation, opening up questions about state involvement in private life and the role of the police in a democracy. Given that the majority of litigants were Parsis (Indian Zoroastrians), a community with strong links to the liquor trade, the chapter also considers the emerging idea of public interest and the relationship between liberty, property, and community identity.

Keywords:   Prohibition laws, Bombay, postcolonial state, postcolonial identity, police, democracy, Parsis, Indian Zoroastrians, liquor trade, public interest

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