By Prerna Kundu,
Edited by Anjini Chandra
We, the People of India; honoring the Constitution of India
65 years ago on this day, the 26th of January, the Constitution of India came into force and India became a Republic. This marked the zenith of the freedom struggle and the effort by Indians to carve out a nation for themselves. With a preamble proclaiming India to be a sovereign democratic nation, India set out on its journey to rediscover itself, govern itself and seek a future for itself in the world.
The founding fathers of our nation embodied the spirit of nationalism, secularism, freedom and equality in the Constitution of India. Enshrined within these pages that form the ruling law of the land, is the legacy of our freedom struggle movement which captures the dreams and aspirations of every Indian citizen. The Indian youth is not just the future of our country, but also its present, and as they face this contemporary world with its challenges and difficulties, they must look towards this Constitution of ours for wisdom, inspiration and self-realisation.
A comprehensive understanding of the Constitution is essential not only to educate and create awareness of our rights, but also to make us realise our fundamental duties towards the state. Not having faced adversities, the youth these days often take the freedom they enjoy now for granted. The freedom to express ourselves, or to protest peacefully, are freedoms guaranteed to us by the Constitution. Justice can only be ensured if we know what our rights are. Enlisted in the Constitution are also the duties that we as responsible citizens have towards our people and our society.
The Constitution laid down the roadmap that Indian governments have followed over the years, and it is indeed a testimony to the foresight of the members of the Drafting Committee that the Indian democracy has stood strong for these 65 years. Throughout the world, from Africa to Asia, democracy in de-colonised states fell to the brute force of dictatorships, nations faltered in the face of international pressures, and people lost their faith in a democratic solution to their aspirations. In times like these, the Indian government provided a stellar example to the world, of a strong democracy and a vibrant and contemporary Constitution.
In 1951-52, the first General Elections in India were held. It was called the greatest experiment in democratic history, and the world watched with fascination as a newly independent nation with high illiteracy decided to move ahead with Universal Adult Franchise, something that even Europe and America did not promise their people. With a 60% turnout, India got a jump start to democracy, and the rules enshrined in the Constitution ensured that this success story continued.
Members of the Constituent Assembly were of the belief that any nation should not remain frozen in time, and must be dynamic to keep up with changing contemporary realities. The Constitution of India, was hence, left with enough scope for its structures to be amended to cater to the future generations of India. As of December 2014, the Indian Constitution has been amended 99 times since it was first amended.
We, as a nation, have indeed come a long way since 26th January 1950, when the Constitution first came into effect, and the members of the Constituent Assembly would indeed have been proud of our interpretation and trust in the Constitution. However, we have to recognise that a nation that moves forward is one that realises its mistakes and corrects them. The Constitution teaches us the value of justice, but justice delayed is justice denied. With a mind boggling 31.3 million cases pending in various courts of the country, this backlog in the judiciary requires immediate attention. The Directive Principles laid down the guidelines for good governance, and while efforts have been made to implement them, we can achieve the ideal Indian society only with the proper implementation of these principles.
This Republic Day, let us pledge to learn from our Constitution, breathe in the spirit of its cultural heritage and awaken a new India. We can be everything our Constitution makers thought us capable of, and we can unlock the immense potential we as a nation possess.
Prerna Kundu is a first year Economics Honours student at Sri Ram College of Commerce, Delhi University. A part of the debating society, she is fascinated by politics and economics. Her love for reading is nurtured by an inquisitive nature and her favourite genres are historical fiction, classical literature and fantasy. She loves to travel and dreams of trekking around the world once in her life.