Despite being the lengthiest in the world, Indian Constitution is considered to be the superior one, perhaps, because of the Constituent Assembly, which had sought inspiration from various other Constitutions of different states (thus called ‘bag of borrowings’). What sets the benchmark for this rule book of laws is the Preamble that was inspired by the Preamble of the USA, which also starts with ‘We, the People’. The following accounts a simplified explanation of the technical terms of the Preamble that states:
‘We, the People of India, having solemnly resolved to constitute India into a SOVEREIGN SOCIALIST SECULAR DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC and to secure to 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.’
Clearly, the text entails two major components:
- Structure of the State
- What will it ensure?
Structure of the State:
- Sovereignty ensures that the nation-state and its decisions are not influenced by any other state at any condition; and are free of any kind of imperialism or intervention.
- Socialism ensures equal social status to every citizen, regardless of its social belonging e.g. caste, religion, language, region, race, gender etc. (different from the economic reference)
- Secularism ensures every citizen the freedom to pursue his/ her own choice of religion; and the governing bodies would not be inclined towards any specific religious body(s).
- Democracy ensures that the government that takes decisions for the country would be elected by the people, would comprise of and be representative of the people as well as would work for the people.
- Republic nation is where the head of the state is chosen by the citizens of the state, who then works according to the rule of laws followed by the state for its welfare.
Simply put, India is free from any foreign control (sovereignty), where government is by the people, for the people and of the people (democracy), and head of the state is elected by the citizens, who works for the welfare of the state following the rule of law, i.e. the Constitution (republic). Indian state ensures that every individual has the freedom to choose his or her religion (Secular) and that there would be equal status to every individual regardless of his/her belonging (Socialism).
What will it ensure?
These components that structure our country become the guiding principle ensuring access to JUSTICE; freedom to think, express, believe, worship our choices (LIBERTY); no discrimination of status or opportunities based on religion, caste, class, race, gender etc. (EQUALITY) and inclusion and encouragement of communities of different ethnicities (FRATERNITY) – and furthermore, contributing together towards maintaining the unity and integrity of the nation.
The values under trial
The validation of our Constitution, however, gets endangered when the big claims of the Preamble itself falls flat:
- the religion angle when the confessions of Swami Aseemanand and Afzal Guru are addressed differently;
- when Akhlaq lynching gets disillusioned by the lab confirming the meat to be beef and FIR gets ordered against the family that was awaiting ‘justice’ for a permanent loss;
- political leaders shamelessly express their hate for Dalits, Muslims and easily get away with it;
- freedom to express is condoned, Ghar Wapsi is encouraged, women are restricted from worshipping, human rights are violated via AFSPA;
- LGBT rights, denial or delay of justice to minorities (Rohith Vemula case), role of RSS and Colonel Purohit’s inclination towards Abhinav Bharat (a Hindu extremist body) and that of the Prime Minister of the country too!
If the ranting continues.. perhaps it wont end soon!
Yet, faith restores in ‘Satyameva Jayate’
Unlike North Korea and other dictator countries, in India, issues are allowed to be brought under public ambit: for debates, administration criticisms, thereby putting pressure for justice on concerned authorities. We can’t be less grateful to the creators of our Constitution that had drafted the remedies to allow dissent, curb minorities’ atrocities, and so forth; is even open for further amendments, as and when required. There have been instances lately of intolerance to freedom of expressions leading to violence, however, the courts’ intervention at par with the Constitutional rights, has been validating the values of the Preamble in the year post-2000: even amidst the thin blanket of pessimism.