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  • It was difficult to make a constitution for such a diverse and large country as India .
  • The country was born through the partition , based on religious differences .
  • For the people of India and Pakistan , it was a traumatic experience . At least 10 lakh people died on both sides of the border .
  • Another problem was, the Britishers had left it to the rulers of the princely state to decide whether they wanted to merge with India or with Pakistan or remain independent .
  • The merger of the princely state was a difficult and uncertain task .
  • When the constitution was written , the future of the country did not look as secure as it does today. The makers of the constitution had anxiety about the present and the future of the country .

The path to the constitution

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  • The Indian Constitution makers did not have to create a consensus about what a democratic Indian would look like because much of this consensus had evolved during the freedom struggle .
  • Our freedom struggle was not only a struggle against foreign rule but also a struggle to rejuvenate our country and transform our politics and society .
  • There were differences of opinion within the freedom struggle about the path India should take after independence .
  • Yet some basic ideas had been accepted by almost everyone .
  • A constitution for India was drafted by Motilal Nehru and eight other Congress leaders in 1928 .
  • Indian National Congress resolutions from the Karachi session in 1931 discussed how India's constitution should be structured .
  • Both these documents included universal adult franchise , the right to freedom and equality and the protection of the rights of minorities in the constitution of independent India
  • Thus some basic values were accepted by all leaders much before the Constituent Assembly met to deliberate on the constitution .

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  • Voting rights were given to few , during British rule .
  • Based on these, the Britishers introduced very weak legislatures .
  • In 1937 , Elections were held for Provincial Legislatures and ministries all over British India .
  • They were not fully democratic governments but the experience gained by the Indians working in the legislative institution proved to be very useful for the country in setting up its institution and working in them .
  • That is why the Indian constitution adopted many institutional details and procedures from colonial laws like the Government of India Act, of 1935 .
  • Many leaders were inspired by the ideals of the French Revolution , the practice of parliamentary democracy in Britain and the Bill of Rights in the US .
  • The Socialist Revolution in Russia too inspired many Indians to think of shaping a system based on social and economic equality .
  • Yet they were not simply imitating others , they were questioning whether these things will suit our country .
  • All these factors contributed to the making of our constitution .

The Constituent Assembly

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  • The drafting of the document called the constitution was done by an assembly of elected representatives called the constituent assembly .
  • Elections of the first Constituent Assembly were held in July 1946 and the first meeting was held in December 1946 .
  • Soon after the division of India and Pakistan and the Constituent Assembly was also divided into the Constituent Assembly of India and that of Pakistan .
  • The Constituent Assembly that wrote the Indian Constitution had 299 members .
  • The Constituent Assembly adopted a constitution on 26 November 1949 but it came into effect on 26 January 1950 .
  • To mark this day we celebrate 26 January as our Republic Day every year.

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  • We accepted the Constitution made by the Constituent Assembly six decades ago because
  • The  Constitution does not reflect the views of its members alone . It expresses the broad consensus of its time .
  • The second reason for accepting the Constitution is that the Constituent Assembly represented the people of India .
  • There was no universal adult franchise at that time. So the constituent assembly could not have been chosen directly by the people of India . It was elected mainly by the members of the existing Provisional Legislatures .
  • Finally, how the Constituent Assembly worked gives sanctity to the Constitution . The Constituent Assembly worked in a systematic , open and consensual manner .
  • First, some basic principles were decided and agreed upon .
  • Then a Drafting Committee chaired by Dr B.R. Ambedkar prepared a draft constitution for discussion .
  • Several rounds of thorough discussion took place on the Draft Constitution , clause by clause . More than two thousand amendments were considered .
  • Every document presented and every word spoken in the Constituent Assembly has been recorded and preserved . These are called ‘ Constituent Assembly Debates ’.



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Davneet Singh

Davneet Singh has done his B.Tech from Indian Institute of Technology, Kanpur. He has been teaching from the past 14 years. He provides courses for Maths, Science, Social Science, Physics, Chemistry, Computer Science at Teachoo.