January 26: Today is the day, when 67 years ago, the stalwarts of the Indian freedom struggle and the foremost proponents of democracy in India brought into effect the biggest and most comprehensive Constitution in the whole world. It’s both a boon and a curse that the Indian Constitution is the bulkiest in the world but it is this very document which keeps the government and the system running. Our fundamental rights and guarantees as the citizen of our country are defined by this piece that is the supreme law.
There are many intriguing and lesser known facts about it, that every Indian must know. Let us look into some of the facts about this constitution that is the backbone of the biggest democracy in the world today. Also Read:
1. Women amongst the builders of our Constitution
The Indian Constitution was drafted by a Constituent Assembly- an Assembly of 389 members, which were elected by elected members of the Provincial Assemblies. These 389 members, had just 15 women amongst them. The nightingale of India Sarojini Naidu, Hansa Mehta, Durgabai Deshmukh, Rajkumari Amrit Kaur and Vijaylakshmi Pandit were amongst the most prominent of them.
2. The Drafting Committee and the endless sessions and deliberations!
The fore most task of the Constituent Assembly was to set up a drafting committee, which was set up on 29 August, 1947 and was headed by the Dr. Bhimrao Ramji Ambedkar. The Committee then set about drafting the Constitution, which took 11 sessions, covering a total of 165 days. During this period, the Assembly moved, discussed and disposed of a whopping 2,473 amendments out of a total of 7,635 that were tabled!
3. Indian Constitution came into effect in two phases
The British ruled India till 1947 and then is when the work on the Indian Constitution began and took more than two years to complete. When the Constitution came into effect on January 26, 1950, India formally ceased to be a dominion of the British Crown and became a sovereign, democratic, Republic. But the Constitution came into effect in parts- some articles had come into effect on 26 November, 1949 itself, while the remaining came into effect on 26 January, 1950.
4. The Original Copy of the Indian Constitution
The first and original copy of the Indian Constitution of India was not printed, but was hand written in beautiful calligraphic font in both English and Hindi, each page was beautified and decorated by artists from Shantiniketan. The original copy has been preserved in special helium filled cases in the Library of the Parliament of India.
5. Not so Secular?
This deserves a special mention, given all the recent debate about the removal of the word ‘secular’ from the Preamble of Indian Constitution. The Indian Constitution Preamble originally described the Indian state as a “sovereign democratic republic”, which changed in 1976, when it was amended to read, “sovereign socialist secular democratic republic”.
Image Credits: Wikipedia, The Hindu archives