List of Contents
Source– The post is based on the article “Constitution Day: A rare, enduring document” published in The India Express and “The Constitution of India deserves better” published in The Hindu on 26th November 2022.
Syllabus: GS2- Indian Constitution
Relevance: Making of Indian constitution
News- The article explains the basic facts about evolution and present working of the constitution of India.
The Constitution of India was adopted by the Constituent Assembly on November 26, 1949. The day began to be celebrated as Constitution Day since 2015.
How the constituent assembly drafted the Indian constitution?
Constitution-making itself is a relatively unexceptional endeavor. According to a study, on average, the constitution-making process took 16 months. India’s constitution took about three years for completion from 1946 to 1949.
It was written under extraordinarily difficult conditions. The partition of India was accompanied by mass deaths, devastation, violence, and brutality.
Constituent assembly relied on consensus-oriented methods. For instance, when debating the adoption of Hindi as a national language, Rajendra Prasad said that the choice of national language would have to be “carried out by the whole country”.
While the drafters opted for compromise and consensus in some areas, they made bold choices on others. For instance, breaking down traditional privileges like the abolition of princely states and royal titles, and crafting the country as a democracy based on universal adult franchise, and ending discrimination on grounds of caste, or sex or religion.
Why does the constitution of India enjoy legitimacy among people?
People would submit to a constitution, when the constituent assembly crafts a narrative about the creation of the body that is both politically acceptable and historically plausible.
Key national leaders enjoyed political goodwill. It was used by drafters of the constitution to give legitimacy to the Constitution.
The freedom movement provided good training for drafting the constitution. Reforms introduced by the British colonizer were designed to fulfill certain demands. These reforms lead to inspiring new agitations.
The Constitution had its inspiration in sources like Tilak’s Swaraj Bill of 1895 and the Declaration of Rights of 1918. These sources contained civil and political rights.
The constitution of India also drew from the Resolution of Fundamental Rights and Economic Changes at the Karachi Session of the Congress in 1931. This resolution argues that “in order to end exploitation of the masses, political freedom must include economic freedom”.
All these demands would find their way into Part III and Part IV of the Constitution. Government of India Act, 1935 also heavily influenced the constitution.
Why is there indifference to the constitution in India?
There is a lack of awareness among people about the constitution. Even the well-educated and well-placed don’t have a copy of the Constitution in their houses unless they are advocates. While educated people are broadly aware about fundamental rights, they are largely unaware of the fundamental duties enshrined in the Constitution.
Society is unable to inculcate constitutional values like treating every citizen equally irrespective of caste and religion among children.
There is hardly any focus on the Constitution at the school level, not to speak of tertiary education.
What is the way forward to inculcate constitutional values ?
The Constitution should get due recognition across the educational system.
We should not restrict ourselves to symbolism. We should look at the substantive issues dealt with by the Constitution.
Our ancient texts teach us that Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam. We should first learn to treat fellow Indians as a fraternity.