• Samvidhaan – Episode 4/10
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    Samvidhaan – Episode 4/10

    The many committees of the Constituent Assembly got busy in their work. Even the government in these trying times had a lot to handle. So, after a long gap, the Constituent Assembly met again… …on 4th November 1948. Meanwhile, a great tragedy shook the nation Mahatma Gandhi’s martyrdom. The Assembly offered homage with bowed heads. It’s a strange coincidence that around the same time, Qaid-e-Azam Jinnah had also passed away. He too was paid homage after Gandhi. Then began the debates on Fundamental Rights led by Dr. Ambedkar. Many felt the proposed Fundamental Rights were too meagre. The Fundamental Rights that we passed last time, led to complaints that we…

  • Samvidhaan – Episode 5/10
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    Samvidhaan – Episode 5/10

    Once upon a time, coal miners took with them a canary. If oxygen levels dropped in the mines, the canary began tweeting, warning miners. The same can be said of minorities and downtrodden in a society. In an unhealthy, unethical society, the minorities are first to be affected. Perhaps that is why our Constitution makers were particular about granting rights specially to minorities and backward classes. The demand for political rights of minorities began as early as 1916. In response the British did not give them rights, but by providing separate electorates to 18 different religious groups and castes, divided them from one another. When in 1931 a separate electorate…

  • Samvidhaan – Episode 9/10
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    Samvidhaan – Episode 9/10

    Our Constituent Assembly met in the Central Hall of this grand structure with its colonnade of 144 pillars. But do you know the number of pillars that support our Constitution? It is said that the Constitution of India stands on three pillars – the Legislature, the Judiciary and the Executive. Although, of late, a fourth pillar is also recognized – the Media. In 1942, socialist-economist and Gujarati playwright Prof K T Shah in a note, talked of the trinity of the Executive, Legislature and Judiciary. Dear Dr Rajendra Prasadji, as promised, I am enclosing a note on ‘general directives’ which I prepared last June at the behest of Pandit Nehru.…

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    Samvidhaan – Episode 10/10

    In this beautiful Central hall of the Constituent Assembly in nearly three years, many proposals, amendments and points were raised and passed. In the very end came the Preamble… which comes at the beginning of the Constitution. If the Constitution is a political-constitutional document, the Preamble is its philosophical vision. The foundation for this Preamble was laid at the very beginning when on December 13, 1946, Pandit Nehru presented the Aims and Objectives Resolution. This Constituent Assembly declares its firm and solemn resolve to proclaim India as an Independent Sovereign Republic. All power and authority of Independent Sovereign India would be derived from the People; guaranteed and secured to all…

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    Samvidhaan – Episode 7/10

    No issue was as controversial as that of language. The official language, the provincial languages and the link language were all fiercely contested. There were many points of view. But the contentious claims for the national language, between Hindi, Hindustani and English began with the first session itself. On the 10th of December 1946, the second day of the session, when Dr. Sachchidananda Sinha was the pro tem Speaker, there was a strange interruption. Mr Chairman, I want that the amendment of … Does the Honourable Member not know English? I know English, but I want to speak in Hindustani. Many members do not know Hindustani, like Shri Rajagopalachari. Those…

  • Samvidhaan – Episode 8/10
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    Samvidhaan – Episode 8/10

    Except for the empires of Ashoka and Aurangzeb, India was never as large geographically as in the British Raj. There were nearly 552 princely states allied to the British. When the time came for freedom from the British empire, many of these States wanted to remain independent while the Muslim League wanted a separate region for Muslims. If this wasn’t possible, the League demanded that India be partitioned into a Hindu-majority and two Muslim majority regions, each loosely connected to the Centre. A strange map of India was emerging. Besides these two assemblies, what about our demand for a sovereign independent Pakistan? Janab Qaid-e-Azam, if we succeed in making these…

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    Samvidhaan – Episode 1/10

    We have here, ladies and gentlemen, an original copy of the Constitution of India. One of a 1000 made specially… …for the members of the Constituent Assembly. who toiled day and night for 3 years to complete this book. I present to you the Constitution of India! This is no ordinary book. It is a symbol of our nation. But have you ever wondered what exactly is a nation? Social scientists say that people of one race, one religion, one language, one flag and following one law constitutes a nation. But the Indian subcontinent with with its many languages, religions, cultures and races cannot be fixed into narrow definitions. Such…

  • Samvidhaan – Episode 3/10
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    Samvidhaan – Episode 3/10

    Five days after Independence, the Constituent Assembly met again. With the joy of being free, many complaints emerged. Before we begin I want to draw your attention to an important issue On Independence day, at Agra Fort, lakhs of people had gathered for the flag hoisting ceremony. A British officer said that if the Union Jack was replaced by the new flag he won’t allow any soldier to participate in the ceremony. We cannot tolerate any insult to our national flag. I would request the President to ask the leader of the house Pandit Nehru, to make a statement. Regarding the incidents of the 14th-15th August, I would now request…