“We, the people of India…hereby adopt, enact and give to ourselves this constitution” – so goes the Preamble to the Constitution of India, clearly expressing the authority that it derives from the Indian citizens. Indeed, as the largest democracy in the world where diversity is a way of life, the Indian Constitution defines how we conduct ourselves within the constitutional framework.
In the simplest terms, it is the supreme rulebook that lays down the instructions to be followed for the governance of India. Often termed as a living document, the Constitution of India has provisions for amendments to accommodate changing scenarios and progression in the citizens’ outlook and aspirations.
As the bulkiest constitution of the world, countless snippets about the Constitution of India remain obscure from public knowledge that is sure to give you a sense of pride. With the 73rd Republic Day of India just around the corner, it is apt that we bring to you 10 such interesting facts about our constitution.
The Constituent Assembly comprising 389 members representing the various provinces and states framed the Constitution of India. Later, the number of members was reduced to 299 with the withdrawal of the Muslim League. Finally, after the Constitution was ready to be enacted, 284 members appended their signature to it on January 24, 1950.
The Indian Constitution is an amalgamation of the best features of the constitutions of several other nations including the USA, UK, USSR, Ireland, Japan, Canada, and so on. As such, our Constitution is often termed as the Bag of Borrowings.
Besides drawing from foreign Constitutions, legislation drafted by British India like the Government of India Acts, and several political documents like the Swaraj Bill, Nehru Report, etc., also influenced the final Constitution of India significantly.
The Indian Constitution originally had 117,369 words in its English version alone and comprised 395 articles, 22 chapters, and 8 schedules. 105 amendments later, the Constitution now contains 448 articles split into 25 parts and 12 schedules.
The entire Constitution was handwritten in Calligraphy font in both Hindi and English languages. Prem Behari Narain Raizada undertook this mammoth task and did not accept any remuneration for his efforts. Instead, he requested that his and his mentor’s names be inscribed in the book.
The Indian Constitution is the only one in the world to feature illustrations. A team from Vishwa Bharati, Shantiniketan, led by Nandalal Bose, illustrated each page of the Constitution drawing from the history and legends of India.
Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru proposed the Objective Resolutions to the Assembly, which was later incorporated as the Preamble to the Constitution of India. The Preamble defines India as a sovereign, socialist, secular, democratic, republic. The terms socialist and secular were added to the original Preamble in 1976, through the 42nd amendment. Further, the words “unity of the nation” in the Preamble was modified to “unity and integrity of the nation”. Incidentally, the 42nd amendment is also referred to as Mini-constitution as it introduced sweeping changes to the original constitution.
The Assembly appointed 13 committees for looking into the various aspects of the Constitution. The Drafting Committee, chaired by Dr Ambedkar, deliberated on the initial draft, created by Sir B N Rau, and later discussed and discarded about 2473 amendments out of the 7635 tabled during the process. The time taken in formulating the final contents of the Constitution was precisely 2-years, 11-months, and 18-days.
The Indian Constitution is a strange dichotomy of flexibility and rigidity. Certain constitutional provisions allow amendments by simple parliamentary majority, while others require approval from both parliament and the state legislatures. Further, despite being a Union of States, the constitution provides for a federal structure with a strong center and clearly defines powers to the states.
Dr Ambedkar specified article 32 as the “heart and soul” of the Indian Constitution as it defines the Right to Constitutional Remedies. Any Indian who feels that her/ his fundamental rights have been threatened or violated can seek justice directly from the apex court of the country.
We have mentioned these important facts about the Constitution of India to be aware of these. We hope you enjoyed reading the list.