Adjust Your Focus

“……constitution is like water, it can take the shape of the vessel it is put into.”


While writing this, I am still thinking how to give this article a good start.  As a writer, it should be of great importance to my writing career and as a law student, it should justify my stand as a law-maker. Therefore, I started it with telling the truth that on one hand stand by me as a writer and lawyer and on the other hand stands a bit contradictory as in recent times these two have an oxy-moron-relationship between them. As you might have heard;

“paida hua vakil to shaitan ne kaha,

lo aaj ham bhi sahib-e-aulad ho gae.”

But since, we gonna talk about values and that too the constitutional one, I pledge myself to write it with a caution tape around my mind. So, tighten your seat belts as we are gonna go on a constitutional ride and it’s values.

The Indian constitution was adopted in principle on November 26, 1949, while the majority of its provisions were formally adopted on January 26, 1950, to commemorate the declaration of complete independence or Purna Swaraj by the Indian National Congress on January 26, 1930.

The significance of constitution day is not in the explicit ritualistic reverence to the supreme legal document, but in critical introspection of our progress in fulfilling the basic ideology of our constitution. The constitution makers stated that – “the clarity of thought in creating a just society isclearly reflected in the founding philosophy of our constitution.”

Ideology could be defined as a set of ideas or beliefs, which forms the basis of the economic or political system. Ideological beliefs not only give hope for a better society, but alsorecognise/accept the existing inequalities in society for its people tointrospect about their progress in the future.

Even though our constitution is a lengthy document, its ideology is well entrenched in its preamble, revealing the nature of the newly independent nation. The ideology in the preamble notonly declares our freedom but lays a strong foundation for a society based on equality, justice and liberty. The Objective Resolution moved by Jawaharlal Nehru in 1946, which was adopted by the Constituent Assembly in 1947, is almost reflected in the preamble of the Indian constitution. It clearly lays down the path to be taken by the future Indian state to create a strong, united and inclusive country, eliminating all forms of discrimination.

So, let’s first have a look at our 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 of opportunity;

And to promote among them all

FRATERNITY assuring the dignity of the individual and the unity and integrity of the Nation;


*Socialist and Secular were inserted by the 42nd amendment in 1976.

Thus, the principle of justice, equality, and liberty, along with secularism, forms the core components of the constitutional ideology in India. The founding fathers of our constitution envisaged an egalitarian society based on such ideal principles, but does our contemporary reality really reflect these values?

Let’s find this answer in Dr B.R. Ambedkar’slast address in India’s constituent assembly Sixty-seven years ago, on November 25, 1949;

 “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 depend are the people and the political parties they will set up as their instruments to carry out their wishes and their politics. Who can say how the people of India and their parties will behave? Will they uphold constitutional methods of achieving their purposes or will they prefer revolutionary methods of achieving them? If they adopt the revolutionary methods; however good the Constitution may be, it requires no prophet to say that it will fail. It is, therefore, futile to pass any judgement upon the Constitution without reference to the part which the people and their parties are likely to play.”

We can say that just like water can take the shape of the vessel it is put into,constitution can work like parties and people who are working it out. Thus, if our people and parties gives respect to human values our constitution will work accordingly. It though is a big statement to be passed be an amateur person as I am but then critics from everywhere and of every type are welcomed to correct me as correcting in a humble manner is like putting a person into light.

Thus, this is my take on the question, does our contemporary reality really reflect the values envisaged in the constitution?

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