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

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The Language of Ultimatum


The language that involves the determinative word “Ultimatum” has been frequently used in the spectrum of politics, from protests ranging from the left to the far right. Such a language, however, finds its most vocal expression in the politics of communal divisiveness. Such a language acquires a combative or aggressive character in a war-like situation between two warring nations or two groups protesting violently. Ultimatum, in such situations, is preceded by warning. On the other side of the spectrum, the language of ultimatum has been issued, for example, by B R Ambedkar in 1935 at Yeola in Nashik, Maharashtra to the leaders of the religion that continued to be based on the discriminatory and humiliating caste inequalities and hierarchy. The language of ultimatum, in a deliberative sense, is the result of the failure in persuasion. Ultimatum, thus, is not a sudden eruption. In fact, it emerges from the sincere gentle warning. The language of ultimatum, in the context of social emancipation, suggests the peaceful withdrawal into a more egalitarian religion such as neo-Buddhism. The language of ultimatum can also indicate the anomalies that are against the spirit of normative principles. Ultimatum, which is preceded by the sincere practice of persuasion, looks fair because it is not sudden and is a part of deliberation.

In the context of such an understanding, we need to raise the more fundamental question: Is the ultimatum given by leaders representing the right-wing ideology, to remove the loudspeakers from the mosque on the part of fairness, a pre-eminent justice injunction? Arguably, such language does indicate an attitude of arrogance and oversized ego. It is unfair on account of its sudden eruption and arbitrary tone that demands unconditional compliance from the minority community to an ultimatum, despite the fact that the court has not suggested so. Further, the ultimatum is also unfair on account of its unwillingness to take recourse to reason that is provided in the Constitution. Thus, it tends to exist over and above both the legal as well as constitutional authority with the intent of imposing compliance on the members, forcing the latter to remove the loudspeaker from the mosque.

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Updated On : 14th May, 2022
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