26 November is a day of national importance, celebrated Constitution Day by everyone in the country to exhibit the pride we take in being citizens of the world’s largest democracy. But what makes this day so unique? On this very day in 1949, under the chairmanship of Baba Sahab Dr. B. R. Ambedkar, India finally had its own constitution almost after three years of ousting the colonial masters. It was the completion and adoption of this book that made India a Republic in true sense.
India is among the world’s most diverse countries with a population of over 1.35 billion people, six major world religions, thirty plus official languages, thousands of dialects with so many different castes, sects, faiths, creed and people who do not agree over anything, yet we have a progressive and inclusive document like the Indian Constitution. It is a vision that does not discriminate against anyone and allows all the citizens of the country, rights and freedoms that they want and deserve.
On Constitution Day read some of the unknown facts about the Indian Constitution:
Indian Constitution does not start by invoking any god unlike most of the countries whose constitution usually starts with the phrase, “In the name of God…” India is amongst the most religious countries with more than 33 crore Gods worshipped by different faiths and sects. There was a heated debate amongst the Constituent Assembly where some people wanted the word “God” in the constitution while others did not. The proposal went for a vote, and it is said the “god lost by one vote.” Ergo, after such a bitter debate, it was decided that our constitution would not start by mentioning any god.
India was among the few countries in the world to give all its citizens Universal Adult Franchise and the Right to Vote as soon as it came into being as a modern nation. It does not deny voting rights, notwithstanding religion, caste, class, creed, gender, and even education. Believe it or not, countries like the USA, Australia, Canada, and their likes did not give its citizens the right to vote till much after India. Switzerland gave its citizens the Right to Vote 21 years after India did.
Indian Constitution is amongst the longest constitutions in the world, and it took ten days short of three years for it to be written. In 1948 when one draft of the Constitution was ready it was circulated amongst members and the general public for comments and feedback; making ours a truly democratic constitution.
The Constituent Assembly was made up of members from all communities present in India, and surprisingly, there were 14 women including one Dalit woman named Dakshayani Velayudhan who made some very imperative interventions about unfree labour and Begaari (forced unpaid labour).
Indian Constitution does not just talk about what kinds of laws should be in place to govern the country but also tries to change the society for better by abolishing practices like Untouchability and Begaari, among others. It even talks about how citizens should be in a fraternity with each other, inculcating scientific temper. It also speaks about being compassionate towards the environment and animals.