History

India became free on 15th August 1947, but also divided. Due to partition, lakhs of people moved to and from India. Simultaneously, a third of Indian subcontinent was under nawabs and maharajas, many of whom dreamed of independent power. Members of Constituent Assembly came from provinces of British India, and from princely states also. Majority of members in the Assembly came from the Congress party. Discussions in Constituent Assembly were influenced by public opinions. Jawaharlal Nehru, a major member of the Assembly, introduced Objectives Resolution in December 1946, outlining ideals of Constitution of independent India.

Majority of leaders in the Constituent Assembly, including Sardar Patel, G.B. Pant and Begum Aizas Rasul opposed separate electorates. Other members noted that grievances of the tribals and Depressed Classes must be addressed. Constituent Assembly recommended abolition of untouchability. It also discussed respective rights of Central government and the states. Jawaharlal Nehru and Ambedkar wanted a strong centre. On the language issue, R. V. Dhulekar, a Congressman, wanted to use Hindi as the language of constitution-making. Dhulekar’s speech in Hindi split the house. He also wanted Hindi to be declared as national language. Ultimately, Language Committee of the Constituent Assembly proposed that Hindi in the Devanagari script would be the official language. Simultaneously, for the first fifteen years, English would be used for all official purposes.

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