Indian Constitution – The Basis of Our Democracy

34. BH-Constitution
The Constitution of India is the fundamental document which runs as the essense of the Indian nation state. Called Bharat Ka Samvidhaan in Hindi, it is the supreme law of India. An understanding of the Constitution is imperative if you are to understand the framework which governs Indian polity, economy and democracy. Not only that, in order to be a responsible, ethical and active citizen of the country, the reading of this document is important.

Now, you might be wondering, how to actually go through this voluminous document. True, it is the longest written Constitution among all on this planet. However, don’t be deterred by its length. It is a fascinating document. Today happens to be the day its drafting got completed in 1949 (and it became effective on 26th January, 1950), and hence, it is a good day for us to tell you some fascinating facts about it. Here, read on.

  1. The original Constitution, the first text, remains preserved to date. It can be found in a helium filled case in the Parliament library, New Delhi. The Constitution is preserved in both, its English and Hindi versions.
  2. The original Constitution of India was handwritten. Its letters were beautifully committed to paper by Prem Behari Narain Raizada. Graceful italic handwriting flows in the original Indian Constitution, adorned with calligraphy. It took Raizada 6 months to complete writing the original document.
  3. The beauty of the document doesn’t end here. Each and every page of the Constitution was decorated by seasoned artists from Shanti Niketan. Acharya Nandlal Bose from Kala Bhawan led the effort from the front, and painstakingly guided his students to adorn each page. In its original form, this humongous document also speaks of artistic brilliance.
  4. The first page of the Constitution, the Preamble, was decorated by Beohar Rammanohar Sinha. He was a student of Nandlal’s.
  5. We’re already told you it is the longest Constitution in the world. We’d also like to tell you that it took a mammoth period of 2 years, 11 months and 18 days for the Constituent Assembly to finish drafting it. That is almost 3 years! That is how long it took to lay the foundations of our great nation.
  6. Our Constitution is a living document. By which we mean to tell you, it can undergo amendments to evolve along with the times. However, an interesting fact is that even before being finalized, the draft Constitution itself underwent around 2000 amendments before reaching the final form! Since its adoption, however, the Constitution has been amended only a 100 times. Speaks of how meticulously was it drafted.
  7. It was on 24th January 1950, that the handwritten Constitution was signed. Among the signatories were 248 members, out of which, a mere 15 were women. Two days later, on 26th January 1950, the Indian Constitution formally came into force.
  8. The Constitution opens with the This Preamble holds together the soul of the Constitution and is inspired from the American Constitution. Both, the Indian and American Preambles begin with ‘We, the people…’

Doesn’t all of the above inspire fascination in you? If yes, then research, explore and read the Constitution. It will help you develop a better understanding of this huge, diverse country of ours!