Celebrating Constitution Day

November 26, 2015 07:52 am | Updated September 23, 2017 12:50 pm IST

The first President of India, Rajendra Prasad, signing the calligraphic copy of the constitution. Photo: The Hindu Archives

The first President of India, Rajendra Prasad, signing the calligraphic copy of the constitution. Photo: The Hindu Archives

In October, while laying the foundation stone of Dr. B. R. Ambedkar Memorial in Mumbai, Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced that this year onwards, November 26 would be observed as Constitution Day.

The Constitution Day events will be a part of the year-long nationwide celebrations to mark the 125th birth anniversary of Ambedkar.

>How informed are you about the Constitution of India?

November 26 is Constitution Day. How much do students and teachers know about the features of the supreme law of India?

>How the Indian Constitution has evolved over the years

We’ve mapped every Constitutional amendment ever, searchable by year, government, Article of the Constitution, and amendment.

>India’s deceptive Constitution

The written Constitution diverges to such an extent from Indian constitutional law that it is not just an incomplete statement but can be positively misleading

Here's a look at the difficult circumstances under which our Constitution was adopted:
»271 men and women who were part of the Constituent Assembly, drafted the Indian Constituion after three years of debate over the governing charter of India.
»The Constitution consists of 90,000 words carefully handwritten in English and Hindi. The books were also illustrated with events from Indian history exquisitely prepared by the great national artist, Nandalal Bose of Santiniketan.
»There were no foreign consultants involved in framing the Constitution. The founders were adamant that Indians should have full control over the drafting procedure. Thus, the assistance of several lawyer-members were sought: Nehru, Prasad, Ambedkar, and Alladi Krishnaswami Ayyar were part of the historic draft.
»Based on expert inputs, the Assembly's Constitutional Adviser B.N. Rau prepared an initial draft constitution in February 1948. Rau's draft was further revised by Ambedkar's drafting committee and issued in November 1948.
»The Assembly took almost a year to discuss it. More than 2,000 amendments were considered and several were accepted. The drafting committee produced a revised draft, which was eventually adopted by the Assembly, with some changes, as the Constitution on November 26, 1949.
»When the Assembly convened for its final session on January 24, 1950, its secretary, H.V.R. Iengar announced that Rajendra Prasad had been elected unopposed as India's first President. He invited members to sign the Constitution's calligraphic copies. Nehru was the first to do so and members from Madras followed him.
»After the last member had signed the books, Prasad decided that he, too, must do so. But, rather than signing behind the last signatory, he inserted his name in the small space between the last line of the text and Nehru's signature.
»Two days later, the Constitution became fully effective. At a ceremony held in Rashtrapathi Bhavan's Durbar Hall, Governor General Rajagopalachari solemnly proclaimed India as a “Sovereign, Democratic Republic”.
»Through its unprecedented abolition of untouchability, the Constitution serves as a powerful emancipation proclamation ending centuries of caste-based discrimination and social exclusion.
»The Constitution expressly guarantees every citizen important fundamental rights, which may be subject to only certain restrictions. These rights include the ability to freely speak and express oneself; the freedom of conscience and to profess, practise, and even propagate a religion; basic protections against arbitrary arrest and detention by authorities, and various cultural and educational guarantees.

Top News Today

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

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.