What is the Constitution of India?
The Constitution of India is a document that establishes the political values, the powers of government and the rights of the citizens of the country. It is the supreme law of India and is used by the prime minister, his cabinet of ministers and the courts to govern the country.
Before India came under British rule it was a collection of princely states, each of which had their own law based in separate religions, philosophies, and even ideas about beauty and art. When the British came into power they ruled colonial India with a set of rules and structure of government that was similar to their own.
The leaders of independent India realized that this new code would need to take into consideration the diversity of the land. They used the existing British model of government to set up a new framework that catered to the needs of the various communities of India.
Who wrote the Constitution of India?
The task of framing the constitution fell upon Dr Bhimrao Ambedkar. Although modeled on the British Constitution, it is designed to suit the needs of a developing nation with a much larger population and minorities within it. All this was taken into account when framing the new constitution.
There was a vision for the citizens of free India, an idea or plan for what values the new nation would be built on. This is brought out in the preamble, the introduction to the constitution so to speak.
“We, the people of India, having solemnly resolved to constitute India into a sovereign socialist secular democratic republic and to secure to all its citizens:
Justice, social, economic and political;
Liberty, of thought, expression, belief, faith and worship;
Equality of status and of opportunity;
And to promote among them all
Fraternity assuring the dignity of the individual and the unity and integrity of the nation;
In our constituent assembly this twenty-sixth day of November, 1949, do hereby adopt, enact and give to ourselves this constitution.”
The first line of the Indian Constitution
“We, the people of India, having solemnly resolved to constitute India into a sovereign socialist secular democratic republic and to secure to all its citizens.”
It is a declaration that the people of India have defined themselves as free people (sovereign). That there is social and economic equality in this state and there will be no discrimination based on caste or gender. Everyone has equal rights and opportunities to get jobs and earn their livelihood. For example, the government has started a rural employment scheme (socialist).
The government will not favour any one religion (secular). India will never be defined as a Hindu state, even though there is a majority of Hindus in the country. The government will respect the presence of Muslims, Sikhs, Christians and any other religion that someone chooses to follow.
All citizens are able and allowed to be part of the government and this person must be elected including the head of the state like the president (republic).
The government will be formed of the leaders elected by the people from each region or constituency and every citizen above 18 is eligible to vote barring none (democratic). India has 546 constituencies, therefore 546 leaders in the parliament.
How many Amendments are there in Indian constitution?
Just that one sentence is loaded with so much information, you can only imagine what the entire document is capable of talking about. The best part about the constitution is that it allows ‘amendments’ or changes. Naturally, not all the laws suitable for 1950 are suitable now. So the parliament is allowed to take a joint decision on which article of the constitution has to be amended. There have been 99 amendments so far.
Everything that the ruling party needs to know is laid out in the constitution – how many members of parliament, the number of states, the rights of the central government and the rights of the state governments, the fundamental rights and duties of citizens and so on. These are framed keeping in mind that India must always remain a sovereign, secular, socialist, democratic republic.
We celebrate the framing of the constitution – the rules of our republic – on 26th January each year.
There are 99 amendments to the constitution. Get a friend to find out about 10 of the amendments. Then you do the same. Compare and discuss each individual amendment and how it might relate to the population of India.
What is the Preamble?
The Preamble is the opening statement to the United States Constitution. The preamble explains the reasons why the Framers of the Constitution made our government a republic. By doing this, the founding fathers replaced the Articles of Confederation. The Preamble along with the rest of the Constitution was written over a period of about 6 weeks. The Preamble helped explain why the Constitution was written. However, it is not the law.
Text of the Preamble
The preamble of the United States Constitution is the following:
“We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.”
Understanding the Preamble
The Preamble can be broken down into many important phrases. All of these phrases are very important for understanding the purpose of the United States Constitution.
We the people: This phrase means all the citizens of the United States of America. Even though the Constitution was written up by some of the most well-educated men of the new country, the rights given under the document were given to all American citizens.
In order to form a more perfect union: The previous government was based on the Articles of Confederation, which were very limited. When the Framers wrote this, they felt that they were making new government that would be a better way to govern the country.
Establish justice: The reasons why there was Revolution against England were still important to the American citizens, so they wanted to make sure that they would have justice under the Constitution.
Insure domestic tranquility: One of the main reasons why the Constitutional Convention was held was because of Shays’ Rebellion. This was an uprising of farmers in Massachusetts against the state for having to repay war debts. Citizens were worried with the keeping peace within the country’s borders.
Provide for the common defense: There was still a change of being attacked by other countries. No individual state had the power to defend itself against attacks. Because of this, the Framers knew that it was important for the states to defend the nation together.
Promote the general welfare: This phrase meant that the well-being of the citizens would be taken care of as well as possible by the Federal government.
Secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity: The point of this phrase in the Preamble, and the constitution as a whole was to help protect the country’s hard-earned rights for liberty, unjust laws, and freedom from a tyrannical government.
Ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America: This last phrase of the Preamble is a powerful statement saying that the people made this document, and the people give the country its power.