Analysing the Constituent Assembly debates reveals of a vital process

What is the news?

A textual study of the Constitution of India has been done by the researchers. The study aims to analyze how “We, The People” came to where we have reached.

What are the findings of the research regarding the Constitutional Assembly?

Diversity and participation: In terms of gender, there were only 15 women (around 8% literate women). A quarter of the members were from the princely states. Apart from that, 90% of members were Hindu. Party-wise, congress has an overwhelming presence in the assembly, but the party members have great diversity in their ideological positions.

But the study found that, despite the diversity, the diverse viewpoints of the members were not considered. Researchers, draw the Lorenz curve for the number of words spoken by each member, which represents unequal distribution. It was found that less than 6% of members spoke 50% of words uttered in the Assembly. Women members spoke less than 2%. Prominent national leaders like Nehru and Patel contributed to merely 2.18% and 1.47% of the debate by word count.

Lorenz Curve: It is a graphical distribution of wealth, shows the proportion of income earned by any given percentage of the population.

Gini coefficient: It measures the degree of income equality in a population.

Not only the Lorenz curve, but the Gini coefficient also showed an unbalanced result. The number of words spoken in the Constitutional Assembly debate is 0.756 which is worse than the Gini Index of income in South Africa. (World’s most unequal country in terms of income).

Constitutional Ideas: The study also analyzed some important constitutional concepts which are even relevant today. It was found that “Rights” came to be the most invoked word. Member spoke about ideas involving “religion, caste. Hindu, Muslim”. More members talked about education compared to health. Words like secular were used more than dharma or morality. Women was invoked more than adivasis.

Although the count of a single word does not say about the nature and direction of words, but the co-occurrence of words in speech reflects the importance of that topic. For eg: The prohibition of alcohol was hotly debated in Assembly by 51 members and was used 212 times.

Source: This post is based on the article ” Analysing the Constituent Assembly debates reveals of a vital process” published in Livemint on 26th November 2021.

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