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Part-III: Chapter 6 FRAMING THE CONSTITUTION THE BEGINNING OF A NEW ERA
Key concepts in nutshell
- The Indian Constitution, which came into effect on 26 January 1950, has the distinction of being the longest in the world.
- But its length and complexity are perhaps understandable when one considers the country’s size and diversity
- The Indian constitution was framed between Dec.1946 & Dec.1949.
- The Indian Constitution came into effect on 26th Jan.1950.
- The members of the Constituent Assembly were elected on the basis of the provincial elections of 1946.
- The Assembly also had representatives of the princely states.
- Since the Congress was itself a broad front these members held a wide range of views
- The discussions within the Constituent Assembly were also influenced by the opinions expressed by the public.
- As the deliberations continued, the arguments were reported in newspapers, and the proposals were publicly debated
- The total membership of the Constituent Assembly was 300.
- 82 percent members were from congress as Muslim league bycotted the constituent assembly
- Dr.B.R.Ambedkar was the chairman of the Drafting Committee and played an important role in the Constituent Assembly.
- He was assisted by K M Munsi and Alladi Krishnaswami Aiyar
- On 13 Dec.1946 Nehru moved the “Objective Resolution” in the Constituent Assembly.
- It was a momentous resolution that outlined the defining ideals of the Constitution of Independent India and provided the framework within which the work of constitution-making was to proceed
- An interim Government was made under the leadership of Jawaharlal Nehru.
- Leaders like Somnath Lahiri thought that constituent assembly was the creation of the British and urged to be free from imperial influence
- Jawahar Lal Nehru also felt the same and urged the members to work for the will of the people.
- Heated arguments took place on issues of minority rights and separate electorates.
- Mr Jaipal singh demanded seats reserved for the tribal people and special rights for the protection
- J nagappa demanded seats reservation in the legislature and reservation for the depressed class people of India
- After a lot of deliberations, the Constituent Assembly finally recommended that untouchability be abolished, Hindu temples be thrown open to all castes, and seats in legislatures and jobs in government offices be reserved for the lowest castes.
- There was a vigorous debate in the Constituent Assembly on the matter of the rights of the central Government and the state.
- Leaders like B R Ambedkar and Nehru were advocating for a strong centre and k Santhanam defended the rights of the state
- Centralization now was seen as necessary both to forestall chaos and to plan for the country’s economic development.
- The Constitution thus showed a distinct bias towards the right of the Union of India over those of its constituent states.
- The language issue was also debated for many months within the Constituent Assembly.
- Mahatma Gandhi believed that everyone should talk a language which even common man could be able to understand and he advocated Hindustani a mixture of many languages and dialects.
- R V Dhulekar made a strong plea for hindi but the leaders from the south feared the dominance of hindi
- As the discussion became acrimonious, many members appealed for a spirit of accommodation.
- The Constitution of India thus emerged through a process of intense debate and discussion.
- Many of its provisions were arrived at through a process of give-and-take, by forging a middle ground between two opposed positions.