Constitution Day 2022: History, Significance, Celebrations, and Key FactsExplained by Ninong Ering |
Constitution Day greetings to all of you!
Today is a day to remember the Father of the Indian Constitution Dr B R Ambedkar and all the other respected and erudite members of the drafting committee who gave us the supreme document of India. On this occasion let us pledge to rededicate ourselves to the ideals and principles of our great constitution and spread the philosophies and thoughts of the Father of the Indian Constitution. Today is also an occasion to pay tribute to those who sacrificed their lives in the freedom struggle. Today, 26/11 is also a sad day for us when the Pakistan-sponsored terrorists carried out heinous terrorist attacks in the financial capital of India, Mumbai. We will be eternally grateful to all the security forces personnel who valiantly fought the terrorists & made the supreme sacrifice for Mother India on that day.
The Indian constitution drafted by our founding fathers has stood the test of time as India has been a thriving & vibrant democracy, unlike many other countries that became independent at the same time, but are struggling for a robust democratic setup. India is the world’s largest democracy. It serves as a guiding light for all of us. I know you all are feeling proud of our great democracy and great constitution today on this occasion. Today, we are one of the world’s fastest-growing economies and developing at a rapid pace. Over the years, our path of progress and journey of growth has been made possible due to the guidance provided by the ideals in our Constitution which focuses on the minutest aspects of the political, executive and legal systems of the country. It also inspires citizens to give equal importance to both the fundamental rights and duties of the citizens of India.
Ours is a “Transformative Constitution” with a vision of a progressive future for all. Dr. Rajendra Prasad, Dr. Bhimrao Baba Saheb Ambedkar, Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, Pandit Nehru, Acharya Sukrani ji, Maulana Azad, Purushottam Das Tandon, Sucheta Kripalani, Hansa Mehta, LD Krishnaswamy Iyer, N.K. Gopalaswamy Ayyangar, John Matthai -there are countless such personalities who had brainstormed for months to prepare the groundwork for the bright future of the country through the Constitution. With their experience in public life, thought-provoking discussions & debates, they channelled their entire thought towards nation-building.
The members of the Constituent Assembly discussed and debated each and every provision of the Constitution at great length with the vision of ensuring a better future for generations to come. Dr. Sarvapalli Radhakrishnan, Member of the Constituent Assembly (1946-1949), said during the First Session in December 1946:
“It is essential for any constitution which is drawn up to make all the citizens realise that their basic privileges — education, social and economic are afforded to them; that there will be cultural autonomy; that nobody will be suppressed…” He continued, “that it will be a constitution which will be democratic in the true sense of the term, where, from political freedom we will march on to economic freedom and equity.” This statement shows the sensitivity & seriousness our founding fathers towards ensuring welfare for all through the Constitution.
The Constitution motivates us to commit ourselves to the welfare of the nation and it strengthens the spirit of ‘Ek Bharat, Shrestha Bharat’. The Constitution of India is a hand-written document. It is one of the longest hand-written documents in the world. It binds the entire country full of diversities, many languages, dialects, sects, castes, etc together in a single thread. The makers of our constitution always kept unity, integrity and national interest supreme.
Our founding fathers have given us a great gift and we should always remember them in the form of this sacred document forever. They fought for the values of Justice, Liberty, Equality and Fraternity that are enshrined in the preamble of our Constitution. We need to religiously follow these great national ideals in our daily lives and world towards the betterment of the country & society. The ideals & thoughts of our constitution makers continue to guide us in the collective endeavour of our nation to scale new heights of progress, prosperity & development. We need to be devoted to the Constitution in letter and spirit.
Our Constitution is people-centric. Our Constitution begins with the words “We the people of India”. It was the people of India who gave themselves this Constitution through the Constituent Assembly. For the welfare of the people, the makers of the constitution borrowed noble thoughts & ideas from all over the world and adapted them to our national context. Our Constitution is a mixture of both indigenous values as well as western concepts that are relevant in the Indian context & good for the people of India. The ultimate goal is the empowerment of people & giving them better lives irrespective of their caste, class, religion and gender. People are always at the centre of overall development architecture and Government policies and programmes. Empowering people means empowering the nation. They are the agents of growth & transformation. In order to serve people well, all three organs of the State must be strengthened and they must work with all responsibility and sincerity. They must work following the values of the constitution and ensure that every Indian should be enabled to contribute to national development in an efficient manner. The ‘inclusion’ of each and every individual should be the main goal of each and every public policy and governance model.
The framers of the Constitution were great believers of democracy, equality, liberty and justice. They gave the right to universal adult franchise to all citizens because they believed in the concept of democratic governance and equal representation of each and every section of society. For them, the voice of each and every individual mattered a lot. In 1925, Mahatma Gandhi remarked that “As long as women do not come to public life and purify it, we are not likely to attain … swaraj. Even if we did, we would have no use for that kind of swaraj to which women have not made their full contribution.” A few years later, he said, “the role women played in the freedom struggle should be written in letters of gold”. After achieving Independence, women parliamentarians played a crucial role in shaping the constitution of our nation. While it took 144 years for the US and 100 years for the UK to confer voting rights on women and the working class, we had given voting rights to women from the very beginning and it allowed us to shape the future of the nation better. Of the 389 members of the Indian Constituent Assembly, 15 were women. So, we had both founding fathers as well as founding mothers. It’s a great achievement for our great nation.
Today, on Constitution Day, it is important to create awareness of Fundamental Duties as enshrined in the Indian Constitution. Fundamental duties are also important for the growth & progress of the nation. Let us all follow what Mahatma Gandhi said, ‘The true source of rights is duty. If we all discharge our duties, rights will not be far to seek.” Gandhi Ji always fought for the rights of the citizens of India but at the same time, he also laid a great emphasis on duties as well. Today, every citizen has an important duty in building a New, Stronger & Resurgent India. Sardar Patel Ji had said, “Every Indian should forget that he is a Rajput, a Sikh, or a Jaat. He must remember that he is an Indian and he has every right in his country but with certain duties.” Rights, duties and responsibilities go hand in hand. One had to perform the duties to seek rights. It is our duty to fulfil our responsibilities towards the nation as one with passion. In this context, Sardar Ji had said, “ ….in the long run, it would be in the interest of all to forget that there is anything like majority or minority community in this country and that in India there is only one community”.
The Constitution has enabled us to move towards the path of progress with full confidence and realize the dreams of freedom fighters. Many of the challenges of modern world problems can be solved with the help of our great constitution. For that, we need to shed our colonial mindset first. We cannot solve modern problems with the colonial mindset which is a big obstacle in further strengthening the nation’s growth trajectory. Today, on this occasion let us pledge to solve our problems with lenses and our worldview and not from the borrowed & archaic wisdom of others which has no relevance in the present world. The need of the hour is a modern & innovative solution to solve many of the problems that plague the nation at present be it poverty, malnutrition, unequal development, illiteracy, etc.
Today, let us pledge to strengthen our commitment to contribute towards nation-building. Constitution Day is a great day to start working with new energy towards ensuring that the light of democracy and progress shines bright on all. With this spirit, I end my speech by conveying many best wishes to all of you.