Wednesday, January 26, 2011

India celebrates 62nd Republic Day - Interesting facts about 'Making of our Constitution'

Today (26th Jan 2011), India celebrates the 62nd Republic Day with joy and gaiety.  While conveying the Greetings to all the members of the group, I thought of sharing some interesting facts about the significance  of this day for the benefit of our young members. 
British Rule
First Britisher entered India in 1579.  Thereafter merchants started coming and ruled us.  In 1765, the Authority got transferred to East India Company formally.  Then British Parliament took over the  administration.  Indians started protesting the foreign rule even from the  18th century.  Indian National Congress was formed in 1885 to formally fight the foreign rulers.  After the entry of Mahatma Gandhi, the freedom movement became dynamic.  Before Independence, India was governed by various Acts enacted by British Parliament.  Government of India Act 1858, Government of India Act 1909, Government of India Act 1919 and finally the Govt. of India Act 1935 framed by British Parliament governed Indians. (These Acts became irrelevant after Independence and adoption of Indian Constitution)
Constituent Assembly formed
First day of
Constituent Assembly
After the prolonged struggle and negotiations, as a fore-runner of Independence, a 'Constituent Assembly' was formed with the members representing different regions and religions.  The first meeting of the Constituent Assembly was held on 9th December 1946.  Many great leaders  were part of this Assembly.  On the first day 207 members participated. 
On the first day, Acharya Kriplani, one of the respected leaders started the proceedings invoking the 'divine blessings' and proposing the name of Shri Sachchidananda Sinha (Bihar), the eldest member of the Assembly  as 'Provisional Chairman' till the Chairman was elected.  
Shri C Rajagopalachari (Rajaji) was the first member to present the credentials and sign the register to become the member of the Constituent Assembly.  
On the third day, Dr Rajendra Prasad was elected as Chairman of the Constituent Assembly. The designation 'Chairman' was subsequently replaced as 'President of the Constituent Assembly'.  
India got the freedom and Independence on 15th August 1947 and this Constituent Assembly took the Governance of India from British Parliament.  Lord Mountbatten was requested by Constituent Assembly to continue as Governor General for some time.  Shri C Rajagopalachari (Rajaji) took over the Governor General on 21st June 1948 and he continued till 26th Jan 1950.  Rajaji was the first Indian Governor General of India.  After 26th Jan 1950, Governor General post was made as President of India.  Dr Rajendra Prasad become the first President of India. 
Framing Draft Constitution for India
Draft Constitution
Committee members
After Indian Independence, Constituent Assembly wanted to frame the Constitution for India. They constituted a 'Committee to draft the constitution' on 29th August 1947 with the Chairmanship of Dr B R Ambedkar.  Shri Alladi Krishnaswamy Ayyar, Shri N Gopalaswami Ayyangar, Shri K M Mushi, Shri Saiyid Mohd Saadulla, Shri B L Mitter and Shri D P Khaitan were included as  other members  of this Committee.
These eminent people drafted the Indian Constitution and presented to the Constituent Assembly on 4th November 1947.
Discussion in the Constituent Assembly
Dr Ambedkar handing over
the draft Constitution to
Dr Rajendra Prasad
The Constituent Assembly discussed this Draft Constitution in 114  sittings, spread over 2 years 11 months and 17 days thoroughly.  The final Constitution was adopted by the Constituent Assembly on 26th November 1949.  This day is also known as National Law Day.  
Constitution document signed
On 24th January 1950, 284 members of the Constitutent Assembly signed the document and presented the official Constitution to the Nation.  Two hand written copies of our Constitution (one in English and the other in Hindi), illuminated by artists and one print copy of English Version were signed by the Members.  
After putting their signatures, all the members including Dr Rajendra Prasad (President of India Elect) and other Members sang Vandemataram and Jana Gana Mana in Chorus, symbolising a great achievement of Sovereign Independent Republic of India, after a struggle of nearly three centuries.  
If you want to read the proceedings of the Constitutent Assembly verbatim, please click the link
This constitution came into force from 26th Jan 1950.  From that day, India has become a Sovereign independent Republic.  
When the new Constitution was signed by the members on 24th Jan 1950, it was drizzling outside the Parliament at Delhi.  It was considered by them as a good omen.  
This Constitutent Assembly was made as a 'Provisional Indian Parliament' from 26th Jan 1950.  The first General Election was held in 1952 and the 1st Lok Sabha was constituted.  
Indian Constitution - Some interesting facts
Indian Constitution, drafted by great visionaries, continues to be one of the best constitutions in the world.  Many global legal experts have praised our constitution.  Indian Constitution contains 22 parts, 395 articles, 12 schedules and 2 appendices.  Over a period of 62 years, the Constitution has undergone 94 amendments. 
I am writing this finer details for the benefit of all the youngsters.  The freedom and soverignity, we enjoy has not come on a single day.  Our elders have struggled and lost their life in the freedom movement spread over near 300 years.  The great Visionary leaders have also provided us a wonderful Constitution.  None of these leaders, who have signed the constitution are alive today.  
It is the responsiblity of every one of us to salute our great leaders and freedom fighters on this day and live upto their Vision. 


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