Views & Reviews
By the People, for the People
The 75th R-Day celebrations remind us about our loyalty to our statute
India is the most populous country and the largest democracy of the world. Of late, Elon Musk, the world’s richest person and Tesla CEO, backed India to be a permanent member of the United Nations Security Council (UNSC). In a post on ‘X’, Elon Musk, pened, “India not having a permanent seat on the Security Council, despite being the most populous country on Earth, is absurd.” Notwithstandingly, UNSC, which consists of five permanent members, has not been expanded since 1965 and India’s bid to secure a place at the global high table has faced opposition from Beijing and Pakistan.
We, the conscious citizens of India, are celebrating our 75th Republic Day on January 26, 2024, with grand regimental parades in Delhi. French President Emmanuel Macron is the Chief Guest of the day-long celebrations
The Republic Day honours the adoption of the Constitution of India. The Constituent Assembly had drafted the Indian Constitution. The Constituent Assembly held its first sitting on December 9, 1946. It reassembled on August 14, 1947, as the sovereign Constituent Assembly for the Dominion of India. The Constituent Assembly passed it on November 26, 1949. It came into effect on January 26, 1950.
Every country has its own Constitution with special features because the historical background, social life, economic background and political conditions influence the making of the Constitution. All these factors have contributed to the making of the Constitution of India.
On 29 August 1947, the Constituent Assembly set up a Drafting Committee. This Drafting Committee was headed by Dr. Bhimrao Ambedkar. The drafting committee had seven members: Alladi Krishnaswami Ayyar, N. Gopalaswami, B.R. Ambedkar (Chairman of the drafting committee), K.M Munshi, Mohammad Saadulla (from Assam), B.L. Mitter and D.P. Khaitan.
The preamble of the Indian Constitution: A Preamble means an introduction to the statute. The objectives before the Constituent Assembly were to comprise and compose India into a “sovereign democratic republic” for securing to all its citizens “justice liberty, equality and fraternity”. The Preamble is the key to the Constitution.
A preamble is an introductory statement in a document that explains the document’s philosophy and objectives.
In a Constitution, it presents the intention of its framers, the history behind its creation, and the core values and principles of the nation.
Now, we proceed to mention three examples as the outgrowth of our world’s largest democracy.
Dr. Bhimrao Ramji Ambedkar: Dr. Bhimrao Ramji Ambedkar was one of the builders of Modern India. His contribution to India’s political thought has been unparalleled. Dr. Ambedkar (1891-1956) was born on April 14, 1891 in Mhow Cantonment, Madhya Pradesh. He completed his primary schooling in Satara, Maharashtra and completed his secondary education from Elphinstone High School in Bombay. His education was achieved in the face of significant discrimination, for he belonged to the Scheduled Caste (then considered as ‘untouchables’). In his autobiographical note ‘Waiting for a Visa’, he recalled how he was not allowed to drink water from the common water tap at his school, writing, “no peon, no water”. For his excellent performance at college, in 1913, he was awarded a scholarship by Sayajirao Gaikwad, then Maharaja (King) of Baroda state to pursue his M.A. and Ph.D. at Columbia University in New York, USA. His Master’s thesis in 1916 was titled “The Administration and Finance of the East India Company”. He submitted his Ph.D. thesis on “The Evolution of Provincial Finance in India: A Study in the Provincial Decentralisation of Imperial Finance”. After the first General Election in 1952, he became a member of the Rajya Sabha. He was also awarded an honorary doctorate degree from Columbia University in the same year. In 1953, he was also awarded another honorary doctorate from Osmania University, Hyderabad. Dr. Ambedkar’s health worsened in 1955 due to prolonged illness. He passed away in his sleep on 6 December 1956 in Delhi.
(ii) Newspaper seller Dr Kalam becomes India’s President: We get an insightful and inspiring life lesson from the biography of Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam, the People’s President of India. For the extreme poverty Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam became not only a vegetarian, but also a newspaper boy who used to distribute newspapers in his home town Rameswaram in Tamil Nadu. His firm determination, hard work, dedication to studies under the guidance of his teachers, etc. finally made him the Missile Man and the 11th President of India.
With the passage of time the great people of India made him a noted nuke scientist and the first citizen of the subcontinent. In 2002, he became the President of India. It wasn’t just his scientific achievements but also his simplicity and warm smile that often made the media refer to him as the People’s President. So, once he said in Silchar (Assam) to the students community, “Small aim in life is a crime.” Sad to say, he expired in Shillong on July 27, 2015.
Notably, Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam Centre for Policy Research and Analysis was set up in the Pine City — Shillong. It is the outcome of a tripartite agreement between Indian Institute of Management, Shillong (IIMS), Ministry of Development of North Eastern Region (MDoNER) and North Eastern Council (NEC) signed on October 15, 2016. It acts in undertaking and initiating cross-functional research and generating data with a motivation of assisting proper understanding of ground realities and providing critical appraisals to the policy makers of the Northeastern region.
(iii) When a tea seller becomes the PM of India: The people of India made a tea-selling boy (during childhood days) the Prime Minister of the country. This is, indeed, a great event for India’s political history. In fact, Modi used to serve the military personnel and sell out tea at the railway station of Vadodara, Gujarat. History was scripted in the forecourt of Rashtrapati Bhawan on the evening of May 26, 2014 as Shri Narendra Damodardas Modi took oath as the Prime Minister of India after a historic mandate from the people of India. In 2019, he became the PM for the second consecutive time.
The Constitution of India is considered as the Superior Law of the land. It places down the structure describing the governmental principles, constructs the structures, policy powers and responsibilities and obligations of executive, administrative and governmental establishments and organisation, sets the basic rights and duties of every citizen.
That is, the 75th R-Day celebrations remind us about our loyalty to this statute. With the active support of the USA, the UK, Australia, etc. India should be inducted as a permanent member in UNSC soon. The reason is not far to seek. The entire world is currently expecting a pivotal role of the new ‘Bharat’ in the international arena.
Amar Krishna Paul
(Mr. Paul is a Guwahati-based writer and analyst on Current Affairs. He can be reached at email@example.com)