The Constitution of India is the most comprehensive and superior constitution in the world. The Constituent Assembly, chaired by Dr. Rajendra Prasad, produced a unique document for the Union of India in a period of two years, eleven months and eighteen days, which along with the smooth functioning of the system, emphasises on governance of the country on the basis of democratic values, accords equality - the most elemental, effective and important aspect of human life - without any kind of discrimination. It provides protection to everyone and ensures all-round progress of all citizens - women and men.
The first sitting of the Constituent Assembly was held on December 9, 1946 and the last on November 26, 1949 AD. In the last meeting (on November 26, 1949 AD), Dr. Bhimrao Ambedkar, the Chairman of the Drafting Committee of the Constituent Assembly presented the original copy of the Constitution, duly signed and adopted by its members to Dr. Rajendra Prasad. The Constitution became effective on January 26, 1950.Therefore, November 26 is remembered as the Indian Constitution Day while January 26th is celebrated as the Republic Day of India.
We should, first of all, pay our heartfelt tribute to Mahatma Gandhi, who left a deep impression on the Constitution, our Constitution-makers, all the office-bearers of the Constituent Assembly, heads of committees and members.
For Dr. Rajendra Prasad, the President of the Constituent Assembly, the trinity (Trimurti) – Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru, Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel and B. Pattabhi Sitaramayya, who left their significantly contributory mark on most of the articles of the Constitution, Dr. Bhimrao Ambedkar, the Chairman of the Drafting Committee, who, undoubtedly, put immense labour in drafting the document using his wisdom, Acharya Jivatram Bhagwandas Kripalani, Dr. Shyama Prasad Mukherjee, Chakravarti Rajagopalachari, HC Mookerjee, Dr. KM Munshi, Maulana Abul Kalam Azad, BN Rao, Rajkumari Amrit Kaur, VT Krishnamachari, N. Gopalaswami Ayyangar, Durgabai Deshmukh, Gopinath Bardoloi, Professor NG Ranga, Frank Anthony and Hifzur Rahman Seoharwi especially deserve to be remembered on the occasion of celebrating the Republic Day.
Our original Constitution had 395 articles divided into 22 parts for the purpose of ensuring all aspects of national unity and integrity and the welfare of the citizens. It had eight Schedules as well. The Constitution has been amended from time-to-time according to the demands of time and circumstances or even for other reasons. More than one hundred amendments have been done so far in the Constitution of India. Along with the most important provisions like the Fundamental Rights of the citizens and the Directive Principles of States Policy – the guidelines given to the federal institutes governing the State of India to be kept in citation while framing the laws and making policies, the provision made through an amendment in the Constitution for the Fundamental Duties of Citizens can also be seen in this context in particular. But, even after all this, the basic spirit of the Indian Constitution, the vision of our intelligent and devoted Constitution-makers, or their intense desire, was to bring each and every citizen of the country within the ambit of equality by providing equal opportunities to one and all for everyone’s all-round development.
Equality is the most beautiful, important and necessary feature of human life. Freedom, justice and rights are the three other important aspects of human life essentially connected with equality. In principle, an individual not only accepts the reality of equality of fellow beings but respects it as well. A theist even considers this as the Eternal Law of the Creator. In this regard, however, the practical situation is different. Accepting equality in practices – in mutual behaviours, is a very difficult task. I believe the creation of a state of equality in all manners with the availability of equal opportunities is a very important aspect of the Constitution of India. Under Article 14 of the Constitution, the provision for ‘Equality before the Law and Equal Protection of Laws’ is, in fact, the reflection of this spirit. It is dedicated to the guarantee of equal treatment for all citizens of the country. This guarantee is, undoubtedly, the medium and the way of all-round development of each and every citizen.
While celebrating the Republic Day, we the citizens of India, must keep the equality aspect of our Constitution in our mind prominently. On this day, we should especially be committed that we will follow the basic spirit of our Constitution and its expectation from the citizens towards equality in their actions and mutual behaviours. Only by doing so, we will make the day graceful and significant.
*A Padma Shri and Sardar Patel National Awardee Indologist Dr. Ravindra Kumar is a Former Vice Chancellor of CCS University, Meerut; he is also the Editor-in-Chief of Global Peace International Journal.