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Everything You Need To Know About India’s Republic Day

India will be celebrating its 75th Republic Day on January 26, 2024. The 2024 Republic Day theme is “India Mother of Democracy” and “viksit Bharat” (Developed India). Republic Day marks the occasion when the Constitution of India came into effect on January 26, 1950, replacing the Government of India Act (1935) as the governing document of India. The Indian National Congress announced Purna Swaraj (full independence) on January 26, 1930, in opposition to the British government’s dominion status in the country. This is why January 26 was chosen for the implementation of the Constitution.

Also Read, India’s Republic Day: History And Celebrations

How Is Republic Day Celebrated?

Republic Day is celebrated across India with a lot of excitement. At Kartavya Marg (formerly known as Rajpath) in the country’s national capital – New Delhi, magnificent parades by regiments of the Indian Army, Navy, Air Force, police, and paramilitary forces are held. There is also a display of India’s Defence prowess with latest missiles, aircrafts, and weapon systems. Beautiful tableaus, representing the beauty of all the states of India are also showcased during the parade. There are also skyshows by the Air Force.

Some Fun Facts About Republic Day Celebrations

The first Republic day parade was held in 1950. It took place at the Irwin Amphitheater (now Major Dhyan Chand National Stadium). Three thousand Indian military personnel and over 100 aircrafts participated in the first parade. Indonesian President Sukarno was the chief guest of India’s first Republic Day parade.

From 1950 to 1954, the Republic Day Parade was held at Irwin Stadium (now known as Major Dhyan Chand National Stadium), Kingsway (now known as Kartavya Marg), Red Fort, and Ramleela Maidan.

The first Republic Day parade at Rajpath (now known as Kartavya Marg) was organised in 1955. Pakistan’s then Governor General Malik Ghulam Muhammad attended the event as chief guest. It was the first of the only two times that a Pakistani leader was given the honour.

The Republic Day parade starts after the arrival of the President of India. The President’s cavalier bodyguards salute the National Flag first.

The Republic Day parade starts from the Rashtrapati Bhavan (which is the home of the President) and moves on to India Gate.

21 gun salutes are given every year when the President of India hoists the national flag on Republic Day at India Gate. Dr. Rajendra Prasad was the first President to hoist the flag.

On Republic Day, bravery awards are also given to deserving candidates. Bravery awards including the Veer Chakra, Maha Veer Chakra, Param Veer Chakra, Kirti Chakra, and Ashoka Chakra are given during the celebrations.

Every year the preparations for the parade begin in July of the previous year!

This year’s Republic Day parade will feature two all-women contingents from the Defence forces marching. The Defence officials have said that “One contingent, consisting of 144 personnel, will comprise all women soldiers, with 60 from the Army and the remainder from the Indian Air Force and Indian Navy”.

Did You Know?

The Beating Retreat ceremony has its roots in an old custom from the 1600s. It is held annually on January 29 at Vijay Chowk in New Delhi. The custom of announcing the troops’ homecoming dates back to King James Il, who gave the command for his soldiers to beat drums, lower flags, and stage a parade to mark the conclusion of a battle day.

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Everything You Need To Know About The Constitution Of India

Who Drafted the Constitution of India?

The Indian Constitution was drafted by an assembly of elected members collectively called the Constituent Assembly. The election to the Constit-ent Assembly was held in July 1946 and its first meeting was held on December 9, 1946. The members of the Constituent Assembly were mainly elected by the members of the then existing Provincial Legislatures. The Constituent Assembly had 299 members that wrote the Constitution. 

Also read full article on, India’s Republic Day: History And Celebrations

Dr. Rajendra Prasad was appointed as the first President of the Constituent Assembly in December 1946.

The Drafting Committee

The Constituent Assembly established a Drafting Committee on August 29, 1947, under the chairmanship of Dr. B.R. Ambedkar, to come up with a draft Constitution for India for discussion. The members discussed and debated the draft Constitution for 114 days spread over three years. On February 21, 1948, the Drafting Committee submitted the draft Constitu-tion, as settled by it, to the President of the Constituent Assembly.

Public Circulation of the Draft Constitution

After the submission of the Draft Constitution, copies of it were widely circulated to the public. Many suggestions, comments, and criticisms were received. The President of the Constituent Assembly had directed the Drafting Committee to consider the suggestions received. Special committees were also formed by the President of the Constituent Assembly to go through the comments and suggestions. Subsequently, the Drafting Committee re-submitted the Draft Constitution after including the recommended amendments, for adoption.

Which Language was the Constitution Originally Drafted in?

The original copies of the Indian Constitution were written in Hindi and English. Each member of the Constituent Assembly that drafted the Con-stitution, signed two copies of the Constitution, one in Hindi and the other in English.

Interestingly, both the versions of the Constitution, Hindi and English, were handwritten. Each word was carefully calligraphed by Prem Behari Narain Raizada. Further, the Constitution has been beautifully illustrated by artist Nandalal Bose and his students.

Where was the Constitution Drafted?

The historic task of drafting the Constitution of India was undertaken in the Constitution Hall, which is now known as the Central Hall of Parliament House, New Delhi.

DID YOU KNOW?

Every word discussed and every document presented during this discussion in the Constituent Assembly is preserved in a document called “Constituent Assembly Debates”.

MN Roy was the first person to suggest the idea of establishing a Constituent Assembly in 1934.

DRAFTING OF THE INDIAN CONSTITUTION

Adoption of the Constitution of India

The Constitution of India was formally adopted by the Constituent Assembly on November 26, 1949 and was formally signed by the members of the Assembly on January 24, 1950. November 26th is known as the Constitution Day or the National Day and is celebrated to commemorate the adoption of the Constitution of India.

When Did The Constitution Come into force?

The Indian Constitution came into effect on January 26, 1950, when independent India declared itself as a Sovereign, Democratic and a Republic state. This day is observed as Republic Day. The date January 26 was chosen as this day is an important moment in the Indian nationalist move-ment. On January 26, 1930, the Indian National Congress, through the Declaration of Purna Swarai. passed a resolution demanding complete independence for the first time.

What Happened After the Constitution came into force?

After the Constitution of India came into force on January 26, 1950, the Constituent Assembly ceased to exist and transformed itself into the Provisional Parliament of India until a new Parliament was constituted in 1952.

DID YOU KNOW?

1. When the country was divided into India and Pakistan, the Constituent Assembly was also divided into the Constituent Assembly of India and Pakistan.

2. Dr. B.R. Ambedkar is known as the ‘Father of the Indian Constitution’.

THE PREAMBLE

Indian Constitution is the largest written constitution in the world with 1,17,360 words (in the English version). The Preamble of the Constitution of India declares the country as a sovereign, socialist, secular and democratic republic and aims to secure justice, liberty, and equality for all citizens and promote fraternity to maintain the unity and integrity of the nation. The Preamble is the introduction to the Constitution, which provides the main features and ideas of India.

The ideals behind the Preamble to India’s Constitution were laid down by Jawaharlal Nehru’s Objectives Resolution, adopted by the Constituent Assembly on January 22, 1947.

DID YOU KNOW?

The original 1950 constitution is preserved in a helium-filled case at the Parliament House in New Delhi.

IMPORTANT GLOSSARY OF TERMS 

CONSTITUTION

A Constitution is the fundamental and supreme law of any country. It is a rule book by which the government and citizens must abide. All laws of the country have to conform to the Constitution.

SECULAR

Citizens have complete freedom to follow any religion and people of all religions have equal rights. It also means that there is no national or state religion.

JUSTICE

No citizen can be discriminated against on the basis of caste, religion, and, or, gender. Government should work for the welfare of all.

SOVEREIGN

A sovereign state is one that can decide all its own policies. No other country can tell it what to do.

DEMOCRATIC

A form of government where people enjoy equal rights to elect their representatives and hold them accountable.

LIBERTY

There are no unreasonable restrictions on the citizens in what they think, how they wish to express their thoughts and the way they act.

SOCIALIST

Socialism has many different mean-ings. However, in the context of the Indian Constitution it means reducing inequalities in income and improving the lives of people.

REPUBLIC

A republic is a form of government in which the head of state is an elected person. Republics have elected presidents rather than kings and queens.

EQUALITY

All are equal before the law. The government has to ensure that everyone has equal opportunity and enjoy equal protection of law.

FRATERNITY

All of us should behave as if we are the members of the same family. No citizen should be treated as an inferior.

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India’s Republic Day: History And Celebrations

India marks January 26 as its Republic Day every year. Indian independence from the British Raj was achieved in 1947, but it wasn’t until January 26, 1950, when the Indian Constitution took effect and India was proclaimed a republic and an independent state.

All around the nation, Republic Day is celebrated with great fanfare. The yearly procession that starts at Rajpath in Delhi and concludes at the India Gate is the primary event of the Republic Day celebrations. At Rajpath in New Delhi, the country’s president hoists the flag on this day. The ceremonial event also features parades and airshows by the Indian Army, Indian Navy, and Indian Air Force.

History Of Republic Day

India became independent on August 15, 1947. A committee was established to write a permanent constitution for independent India a few days later, on August 29. The committee’s chairman was Dr. BR Ambedkar. The committee wrote the constitution and sent it to the Constituent Assembly on November 4, 1947.

After much deliberation and a few adjustments, the 308 members of the Assembly signed two handwritten versions of the accord on January 24, 1950, one in Hindi and one in English. The constitution went into force on January 26, 1950. On that day, Dr. Rajendra Prasad started his first term as President of the Indian Union.

Also read, History of the Constitution of India

Significance Of January 26

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On January 26, 1950, the Preamble to the Constitution of India, a statement presenting the key principles of the Constitution came into effect. The governing principle of the Indian Constitution is “of the people, for the people and by the people”, which signifies that the power is vested in the hands of the citizens of India. Republic Day marks the celebration of the empowerment of Indian citizens to select their own government. It is a national holiday which commemorates the process of establishment of the Indian Constitution.

Some Interesting Facts –

1. Every year, heads of different countries are invited as chief guests for the celebration. The first-ever chief guest was President Sukarno who was the first President of Indonesia.

2. The Republic Day celebrations in New Delhi is a three-day affair that comes to an end on January 29 with the Beating Retreat. This takes place on Raisina Hill where the Air Force, Army, and the Navy display their individual bands in splendour. The flag is then brought down while the hymn, “Abide with me” is played. The celebration comes to an end with a bugle call, after which all the bands retreat to the tunes of “Sare Jahan Se Acchcha”.

3. The Indian Constitution, till date, is the longest among all constitutions that exist. When it was created, it had 395 articles and 8 schedules in 22 parts. Today, it has 448 articles, 12 schedules, in 25 parts. A team led by Dr B.R. Ambedkar took nearly 35 months to draft the entire constitution.

The constitution was handwritten in Hindi and English and was signed by 308 parliament members on January 24th, 1950 – two days before it became effective.

4. The Indian Air Force was created by the British Empire and was then called the Royal Indian Air Force. The Indian Air Force did not lose the Royal prefix until the nation became a Republic on January 26, 1950, at which point it became a separate organisation.

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History of the Constitution of India

The Indian constitution is the most important book in India. It contains all the rules, regulations, and ideas that govern Indian laws and government. The Constitution of India was drafted or written by a group of people called the Constituent Assembly under the leadership of Dr. B. R. Ambedkar. The Constitution of India was adopted on November 26, 1949, and came into effect on January 26, 1950. 

Introduction to The Constitution of India

The Indian Constitution begins with the Preamble text that summarises the object and purpose of the constitution and its functioning. The ideals of the Preamble are borrowed from the French Constitution. The Preamble reads as follows: 

Preamble

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 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.”

Also checkout, India’s Republic Day: History And Celebrations

Drafting of The Indian Constitution

  • The constitution was drafted by the members of the constituent assembly. The authors were Dr. BR Ambedkar (Chairman of the Drafting Committee), BN Rau (Constitutional Advisor to the constituent assembly), and Surendra Nath Mukherjee (Chief Draftsman of the constituent assembly), along with other members of the assembly. There were a total of 284 signatories who were members of the constituent assembly including Jawahar Lal Nehru, Abdul Kalam, Vallabhbhai Patel, and Rajendra Prasad. 
  • Dr. B.R. Ambedkar is also considered the ‘Father of the Constitution as he studied the constitutions of over 60 countries. However, Ambedkar gives credit to BN Rau who was the Constitutional Advisor of the constituent assembly and played a vital role in preparing the constitution’s rough draft of the constitution for the consideration of the Drafting Committee.
  • Prem Behari Narain Raizada was the calligrapher who hand-wrote the original constitution in flowing italic style. Artists who decorated and added classical artistry to the constitution were Nand Lal Bose and Beohar Ram Manohar Sinha who belonged to Shantiniketan.
  • The Hindi version of the constitution was written by calligrapher Vasant Krishnan Vaidya and was illustrated by the talented artist Nand Lal Bose. 

True Facts About the Indian Constitution You Should Know Of

  • The Indian Constitution is handwritten in both English and Hindi. Artists have beautifully illustrated it.
  • There are three original copies of the Constitution.
  • The first president of India, Dr. Rajendra Prasad, was the first person to sign the Constitution of India. 
  • The original handwritten copies of the Constitution of India are kept in a special case in the library of the Parliament of India. 
  • The Constitution of India comprises 470 articles divided into 25 parts, 12 schedules, and 5 appendices.
  • It is the largest constitution in the world with over 1.4 lakhs written words. 
  • The constitution also provides the fundamental rights and duties of the citizen. Every citizen of India is obligated to abide by the fundamental duties and has the freedom to enjoy their fundamental rights.

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