26th November is Dr Ambedkar’s birthday and celebrated in India as the Constitution day. The Constitution is the country’s supreme law and not only defines the framework of the basic political principles but also establishes what the different government institutions should do in terms of procedure, powers and duties. It contains fundamental rights, directive principles and the duties of citizens.
Why do we need a Constitution, though? Almost every aspect of our lives is governed by a set of rules. Think of the games we play. Almost each one has its own specific regulations; our schools have certain rules that we have to follow. Adults are not exempt from rules; workplaces have them. Some are imposed by custom and tradition. Similarly, society also needs certain rules so that people can live together in a safe manner. These are called Laws and are made by legislatures like our Parliament. The Constitution is the supreme law of the country and it contains laws concerning the government and its relationships with the people. In fact, In his book Making of India’s Constitution, a well-known Supreme Court judge Justice H.R. Khanna wrote that a country’s citizens are the trustees and custodians of the values in the Constitution. “A constitution is not a parchment of paper; it is a way of life. Eternal vigilance is the price of liberty and, in the final analysis, its only keepers are the people.”
As soon as we won our independence in 1947, a Drafting Committee was constituted with Dr. B. R. Ambedkar as Chairman to prepare a Draft Constitution. This committee finally finished their work on November 26, 1949. The date is therefore known as Constitution or National Law Day. The process was complete when the members signed the document — two copies in English and Hindi — on January 24, 1950. Along with Dr Ambedkar, some of the important names in this assembly were Alladi Krishnaswamy Iyer, B.R. Ambedkar, C. Rajagopalachari, G.V. Mavalankar, Jawaharlal Nehru, K.M. Munshi, Maulana Abul Kalam Azad, Rajendra Prasad, Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, and Shyama Prasad Mukherjee.
Watch this beautiful 2-minute video of journalist Rajdeep Sardesai interviewing our eminent historian, Dr Ramchandra Guha, on the drafting of the Indian Constitution.
Makes us proud, doesn’t it? We at Desh Apnayen urge you all to watch some of these debates over the weekend and truly salute the Constitutional Heroes of our nation.