ISSN 2330-717X

India And Embracing The Constitution: The Making Of The Constitution As A Social Document – OpEd

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Introduction:

The birth of Indian republic is marking its 70th republic this year. The republic day celebration this time, has witnessing a paradigm shift from symbolic show of national pride and affirmation of national unity to reconnoitering its fundamentals of being a republic. Indian democracy is defining itself through people’s quest of democratic spirit and people’s strength to maintain democratic values.

The nature of the Indian republic narrates the saga of its glorious continuation of the democratic resilience.  Making and unmaking of the world’s largest democracy passed through the initial speculation of collapsing by the western scholars, but it survived through the test of time. 

Democracy in India has the tradition of civil resistance, dissent and the culture of deriving commonality between agreement and non- agreement. Indian national congress during the time of independence represents the abode of opinion from far left to far right including Hindu nationalist. The umbrella of diversity under Indian national congress has its footprints on the constitution too, which by and large reflects the aspirations of each communities of the Indian social structure.

The Indian constitution since its inception remains merely political document and was serving the political purpose. The late December of 2019, comes with the phase of transition and challenged the status quo, when the constitution became the song of the people’s protest. The holy document of republic has broken the cage of academic discourse in the closed seminar halls and cherishes its ideal on the streets, across the nation.

In this piece I am going to analyze the departure of the Indian constitution from being a political document to social document and how the Indian nationalism or a sense of patriotism is celebrating through the symbols of reciting preamble, and challenging the establishment within the constitutional realm. I call this is the glorious phase of Indian constitution as to defend the constitution people are fighting with the constitution.

SHIFTING THE MEANS OF POPULAR STRUGGLE 

The enactment of the controversial citizenship Amendment act by the Indian Government led to the widespread protest in the country. The culmination of India as an independent nation was itself the consequence of the long popular struggle of the masses. The popular methods of showing dissent during the national movement viz. – Sit-ins, fast to death and non- cooperating with the government became the insignia of passive resistance.

The phenomenal aspects of current ongoing resistance narrates the saga of departure from the traditional Gandhian notions of passive resistance to cherishing the ideals of the fundamental rights. Last 70 years of the Indian constitution, it never became the center of the people’s movement although it served its administrative purpose for, regulating the affairs the country.

The political unrest, which taught the lesson of political accountability to the nation in the, decades of 70s which finally culminated, into the black letter of Indian democracy as emergency or the anti- Hindi movement followed after the independence, has not witnessed any instances of the celebrating constitution as a means to defining the idea of the country and defending its core value. 

It is to be noted that in fact in Anti- Hindi movement, Hindi books and the relevant pages of the constitution were also burnt. Constitutional literacy has always remain a challenge in the expansion of democratic principles. In our context, significant portion of the Indian populace remains unaware of the basic tenets of the constitution. Kerala government in the 2018 has taken the ground breaking decision of imparting constitutional literacy over more than 50 lakh people. 

The increasing awareness of constitution and its basic principles among the masses especially youth irrespective of their regional affiliation, is reshaping the idea of constitutional literacy and the challenging the gap of rights and the accountability of the political representatives in ensuring constitutional rights. 

BREAKING THE GLASS CEILING 

The quest for “She in the constitution “represents our inability to break the iniquitous shackle of patriarchal notion. The constituent assembly had merely 15 member out of 299 representatives and, the legacy of this inadequate representation still manifested in the poor representation of women in the parliament that, since the inception of the republic of India, it has only 78 female Member of Parliament. However Indian national movement has witnessed the active participation in the popular struggle of quit India movement, Non-cooperation and in the other call by the freedom fighter. 

The recent eruption of protest in Shaheen Bagh,( New Delhi) to the capital of India’s most populous state should  be written as a letter of revivalist principle of Gandhian notions of resistance in the Indian history. Indian Women in this century has ruled out the surmise of the father of the Indian constitution who said that that there is no place for either bloody revolution or the Gandhian method.

Dr. Ambedkar extended his view to further “we must abandon the method of civil disobedience, non- cooperation and popular protest. The exquisiteness of the Indian constitution is such a people’s centric that it challenges its own architect and through its means only. Women are breaking the glass ceiling and coming out of the four walls is a phenomenal moment of independent India. Redefining of democracy through the participation of women will sparked the new debate on the idea that do we need a binary role in the life irrespective of its individual life or public life. 

CONCLUSION AND THE WAY FORWARD

Social purpose of the Indian constitution is marching towards its zenith, the improvement in the constitutional literacy and its understanding will give the impetus to transform it into a matured social document.  Constitution is not for the exclusive benefits of the Governments and bureaucrats. It do exists for the common man and it has ability to reflect the voice of the people.

The recent report of “The Economist” reveals the vulnerable state of democracy in India and ranked its status on a lower pedestal which, poses a threat on the constitutional resilience.  Dr. Ambedkar ended his speech with the warning to the unthinking submission to charismatic authority. He quoted John Stuart Mill , who cautioned citizens not ‘ to lay their liberties even at the feet of the great man ,and or trust him with powers which enable him to subvert their institutions’ and India is realizing the Principles of its founding father.

*Rajesh Ranjan is a founding editor of Sociolegalliterary and has written for various national and international journal on Constitutional law, democracy and Governance, Commercial transactions and jurisprudence.  Rajesh Ranjan, second year law student at, National law university Jodhpur.

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