The text of the Preamble of the Indian constitution reads:
“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 constitution came into force on January 26, 1950. The January 26 became the Republic Day of India. Let us look back with some sense of introspection and consider whether we have lived up to the lofty ideals of the Preamble of the constitution of the Republic India. It is a mixed bag, to my mind, of good and bad.
The Good – we are prevailing as a sovereign country and are a dignified member of the comity of nations. We are the largest democracy of the world. The words ‘Socialist and Secular’ were added to the preamble were added on the recommendations of the Swaran Singh Committee later sometime in the early 70s. It could be anybody’s guess or opinion whether we are socialist and secular? The redeeming factor is that the constitution is working. If, somehow, polarization of political forces on the basis of ideology and programme happens, Indian democracy would be the most vibrant and successful.
The Bad – Could we secure for ourselves Justice, Liberty and Equality and promote Fraternity, as visualized by the founding fathers? The answer, most probably, is in the negative. The justice is delayed, costly, lopsided and hard to find. The liberty is discriminatory. The Media is totally commercialized. The intellectual class is self-centered. The Equality is yet to come by in the caste ridden society. We have failed to promote fraternity in the society at large. Communal strife is getting strengthened. Religious bigotry is gaining support. But it is satisfactory to note that we still swear to uphold the constitution. Many positive things have happened and much is underway.Anyway, we have come a long way but still we have to go a long way. We need to work and strive in unison.
Dr. B.R. Ambedkar rightly said in his last speech in the Constituent Assembly on November 25, 1949 and I quote “….. I shall not therefore enter into the merits of the Constitution. Because I feel, however good a Constitution may be, it is sure to turn out bad because those who are called to work it, happen to be a bad lot. However bad a Constitution may be, it may turn out to be good if those who are called to work it, happen to be a good lot. The working of a Constitution does not depend wholly upon the nature of the Constitution. The Constitution can provide only the organs of State such as the Legislature, the Executive and the Judiciary. The factors on which the working of those organs of the State depends are the people and the political parties they will set up as their instruments to carry out their wishes and their politics. “