Kollam is India’s first Constitution literate district

Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan will confer the honour on the district today. As part of the campaign, around 16.3 lakh people in the district above the age of 10 have been educated on various aspects of the Constitution

Updated - January 13, 2023 07:29 pm IST

Published - January 13, 2023 07:16 pm IST - KOLLAM

Shanta placing the Preamble at her home in Kulathupuzha, Kollam

Shanta placing the Preamble at her home in Kulathupuzha, Kollam | Photo Credit: SPECIAL ARRAGEMENT

Shanta hardly knew that liberty of expression or equality of status was her right. Once enlightened, the 63-year-old has no doubt where to place the Preamble of the Constitution of India.

In her modest two-room house in rural Kulathupuzha, the preamble shares a wall with gods. A Bhagavatham reciter by profession, she is one among thousands of neo-literates who have been educated on the Indian Constitution as part of The Citizen, a Constitution literacy campaign jointly launched by the Kollam district panchayat, District Planning Committee and the Kerala Institute of Local Administration (KILA).

“When I first read the preamble, I was overwhelmed as it sees everyone as equals just like the way gods do. I didn’t know such a document existed and it guaranteed basic human rights like equality and freedom to all citizens. We have no separate puja room and so I decided to keep it along the pictures of Lord Krishna and Shiva,” says Shanta, who could not continue her studies beyond Class VIII.

2,200 trainees

As part of the ambitious campaign, around 16.3 lakh people in the district above the age of 10 have been educated on various aspects of the Constitution and the strenuous process involved 2,200 trainers called ‘senators’.

R. Abi, a businessman who worked as a senator for the campaign, says it is the most rewarding experience in his life. “There were people who believed January 26 was some religious holiday and we also came across several educated professionals who had no idea about the Constitution. Some women seemed totally surprised when briefed about their rights and some expressed their disappointment in not knowing it earlier,” he says.

7-month drive

During the seven-month campaign, the senators visited schools, offices, auto stands and tribal councils to spread awareness.

“Apart from the initial hiccups, the response has been tremendous. On Sundays the entire congregation, including elders, stayed back after mass for our classes and we were welcomed by temple committees and Jamaats,” says Arun Krishnan, senator.

At the same time, some sections like youngsters who had discontinued their education after Plus Two remained elusive.

“We waited for them at playgrounds and requested them to spare a few minutes. But when we started the session, they were intrigued and kept asking questions,” he adds.

Kollam will be officially declared India’s first Constitution literate district by Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan on Saturday and the authorities say the campaign will continue even after that.

“We had conducted an examination to test the knowledge of the neo-literates in Chitara panchayat and more than 10,000 families attended it. As part of the campaign, the Preamble of the Constitution has been distributed in all households and installed at government, quasi-government and private institutions and schools. We are planning to go ahead with such activities,” says V.Sudesan, Deputy Development Commissioner and Faculty, KILA.

0 / 0
Sign in to unlock member-only benefits!
  • Access 10 free stories every month
  • Save stories to read later
  • Access to comment on every story
  • Sign-up/manage your newsletter subscriptions with a single click
  • Get notified by email for early access to discounts & offers on our products
Sign in


Comments have to be in English, and in full sentences. They cannot be abusive or personal. Please abide by our community guidelines for posting your comments.

We have migrated to a new commenting platform. If you are already a registered user of The Hindu and logged in, you may continue to engage with our articles. If you do not have an account please register and login to post comments. Users can access their older comments by logging into their accounts on Vuukle.