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Thursday, 5 March 2020

THEME-15 FRAMING THE CONSTITUTION THE BEGINNING OF NEW ERA (NOTES))

THEME-15
FRAMING THE CONSTITUTION
THE BEGINNING OF NEW ERA

v A TUMULTUOUS TIME
§  The years immediately preceding the making of the constitution had been exceptionally tumultuous, a time of great hope but also of abject disappointment.
§  On 15 August 1947 India became free but it also had been divided.
§  In the mind of of the people there were many events which happened recently as wide spread Quit India movement (1942), struggle of INA lead by Subhas Chandra Bose, uprising of Royal Indian Navy(1946) in Mumbai, protest of workers etc.
§  All these upsurges showed the unity of Hindu and Muslim but Congress and Muslim league failed to arrive at the settlement that would bring religious reconciliation and social harmony.
§  The great Calcutta killing of August 1946 began a year of almost continuous rioting across northern and eastern India. This violence culminated in the massacres that accompanied the transfer of populations, when partition of India was announced.
v PROBLEM FACED BY NEWLY INDEPENDENT NATION
Ø Mass movement of the people across of border. Millions of refugees arrived in Delhi, many were perished.
Ø Nearly one third area of the sub continents were under Nawabs and Rajas referred as princely states, wanted to rule independently.
Ø The work and debate of constituent assembly.
v MAKING OF CONSTITUENT ASSEMBLY
Ø The assembly which was responsible to constituent the constitution of newly Independent Nation India was known as constituent assembly. President of constituent assembly was Dr Rajendra Prasad. It was formed according to cabinet mission plan.
Ø The members of the constituent assembly were not directly elected on the basis of universal adult franchise. The provincial legislatures held in 1945-46 choose the representative of the constituent assembly.
Ø The constituent assembly had 300 members. It was dominated by congress nearly 82 % belong to congress. The first meeting was held on 9 December 1946.
Ø Muslim league boycott the constituent assembly, pressing its demand for Pakistan with separate constitution.
Ø The socialist were also initially unwilling to join, as they believed that it was created by britishers.
Ø Though it was dominated by congress but its members have different opinion. Some support socialism others were defender of landlordism, some were communal while others were secular.
Ø The discussions within assembly were influence by the public opinions. The arguments were reported in the newspapers and proposals were publicly debated.
Ø For the collective participation the public was also asked to send their views on different topics.
Ø Linguistic minorities wanted the protection of their mother tongue; religious minorities asked for special safeguard, dalits demanded end of all casted oppression and reservation of seats in government bodies.
Ø Important issues of cultural rights and social justice raised in public discussion and debated in assembly.

v THE DOMINANT VOICE
Ø The constituent assembly had 300 members. These six mebers played an important role-
Ø Jawaharlal Nehru-Nehru moved the object resolution and resolution of National flag of three colour –safforn,white and dark green with a wheel in navy blue at center.
Ø Vallabh Bhai Patel- To make all princely states to join the nation.
Ø  Rajedra Prasad-Head of constituent assembly and making sure all member had a chance to speak.
Ø B R Ambedkar- He was a famous laywer and economist and Join the union cabinet on the advice of Mahatma Gandhi. He was the Chairmen of drafting committee.
Ø KM Munshi – Belong from Gujarat and important member of drafting committee
Ø Alladi Krishnaswamy Aiyar- Belong from Madras and important member of drafting committee.
Ø Civil Servants-
§  BN Rao- Constitutional Adviser and prepared the background papers.
§  S N Mukherjee-He had the ability to put complex proposals in clear legal language.
Ø FACTS ABOUT CONSTITUTION

Constituent Assembly first meeting-9 dec 1946 on the basis of Cabinet Mission Plan

Members-389

President-Dr Rajendra Prasad

Head of drafting committee-B r Ambedkar

Constitutional Advisers-BN Rao

Moved the object resolution-on 13 dec 1946, by Jawaharlal Nehru

Duration-2 months 11 Months 18 days

Constitution was completed-26 November 1946

Implemented or enacted-26 January 1950

Constituent assembly held 11 session, sitting 165 days

Head of interim government- Jawaharlal Nehru

J.L Nehru speech on 14 August-Long years ago we mad a tryst with destiny and………

Montague Chemsford reform- 1919 act which allowed representation in legislative assemblies.

Muslim league joins interim government- 13oct, 1946

v THE VISION OF THE CONSTITUTION
Ø Jawaharlal Nehru introduced the objective resolution in the constituent assembly on 13 Dec 1946. It was a momentous resolution that outlined the defining ideals of the constitution of independent India and provided the framework within which the work of constitution making was to proceed.
Ø It is considered momentous resolute because of these key ideas-
§  It proclaimed India to be a independent sovereign Republic.
§  It guaranteed its citizens justice, equality and freedom.
§  It assured adequate safeguard for minorities, backward and tribals and depressed and other backward classes.
§  In outline these objective Nehru placed the Indian experiment in a broad historical perspective.
Ø Learning from others-
§  Referring to the American and French Revolutions,  a longer history of struggle for liberty and freedom. The momentous nature of the Indian project was emphasised by linking it to revolutionary moments in the past. But Nehru was not suggesting that those events were to provide any blueprint for the present; or that the ideas of those revolutions could be mechanically borrowed and applied in India. He did not define the specific form of democracy, and suggested that this had to be decided through deliberations. And he stressed that the ideals and provisions of the constitution introduced in India could not be just derived from elsewhere. “We are not going just to copy”, he said. The system of government established in India, he declared, had to “fit in with the temper of our people and be acceptable to them”. It was necessary to learn from the people of the West, from their achievements and failures, but the Western nations too had to learn from experiments elsewhere.


v THE WILL OF THE PEOPLE
Ø Somnath Lahiri, a communist member said ‘we Indians need to be free from British influences’. He further said Constituent Assembly was British-made and was working with British plan.
Ø Nehru said, in his response that it is true, British government played role in Assembly’s birth and attached conditions to the function of assembly. But, he also said, we have met because of strength of the people behind us and we shall go as far as people wish to go alongwith us.
Ø He believed that members of assembly were elected by provincial legislature and provincial legislature is elected by Indian people. So here, we represent our country men.
Ø The constituent assembly was expected to express the aspirations of people. Democracy, equality and justice were ideals that people of India aspire for.
v Rights of People:
The way of defining the rights of people was quiet different. Different demands were made by different groups of people. These demands, ideas, opinions were debated, discussed and conflicting idea were reconciled and then consensus was made to take collective decision.
Ø DEBATE ON SEPARATE ELECTORATES
Ø In favour- by B. Pocker Bahadur
§  Intense debate took place in assembly on the issue of separate electorate.
§  B. Pocker Bahadur gave powerful presentation for continuation for separate electorate.
§  He argued that we should creat a political framework in which minotities could live in harmony with others and difference between communities couls be minimized.
§   He said electorate will help in giving minorities representation in the political system and in governance of the country.
§  The need of Muslim could not be understood by non-Muslims-he further said.

Ø AGAINST-  
§  Many nationalist leaders saw separate electorates system as a tool to divide people on the basis of religion and they also believed that this idea was finally culminated in partition of the country. Therefore many leaders were against of it.
§  R V Dhulekar-He told that with the separate electorate Britishers allured the minorities to a long lull.
§  Sardar Patel strongly declared that separate electorate was a poison that has entered the body of politics of our country and turned one community against other, caused blood sheds, riots and partition. So for a peace we need to remove separate electorate.
§  GB Pant in a debate said, separate electorate is not only harmful for nation but also for minorities. Demand of separate electorate would permanently isolate the minorities and will make them vulnerable and in addition it will deprive them of any effective say within government.

Ø CONCLUSION
§  All these arguments against separate electorate was based on the unity of nation, where every individual is a citizen of a state, and each group had to be assimilated within the nation.
§  The Constitution will grant citizenship and rights, and in return citizens had to offer their loyalty to the state. Communities could be recognized as cultural entities and. politically members of all communities are equal to the member of the state.
§  By 1949, most of the Muslim members of constituent assembly were agreed against separate electorates and removed it.
§  Muslims needed to take an active part in the democratic process to ensure that they had a decisive voice in the political system.

Ø DEBATE ON ISSUE OF MINORITIES
§  NG Ranga, a socialist and a leader of peasant movement welcomed the Objective Resolution and urged that the term minority be interpreted in economic terms. The real minorities are poor and downtrodden.
§  NG Ranga welcomed all legal and civil rights granted by the constitution to its citizen but said these rights can only be enjoyed when suitable conditions or opportunities are provided. Therefore to make the condition of poor and downtrodden better and protect them, there is need of much more than this resolution.
§  Ranga also talked about huge gap between the masses of India and their representatives in the assembly. Most of members of constituent assembly do not belong to masses. But, they are representing them as their trustees, their companions and trying best to work for them.
§  Jaipal Singh a representative, a tribal, spoke in detail about the exploitation, oppression and discrimination faced by tribal all through the history. He further said about the need to protect the tribes and to make provisions that would help them come to the level of the general population.
§  Jaipal Singh said, there is a need to break physical and emotional distance to integrate them into mainstream. He stressed on reservation of seat in legislature, as it helps them to give their demands voice and people would be compelled to hear it

v  PROVISION IN THE CONSTITUTION FOR DEPRESSED CLASSES OF OUR COUNTRY:
Ø During the national movement Ambedkar had demanded separate electorates for depressed caste, but Mahatma Gandhi had opposed it. He argued that this would permanently segregate them from the rest of society.
Ø According to J. Nagappa Depressed classes form 20-25% population of our country, so they are not minority but they have faced marginalization continuously.
Ø Members of Depressed classes suffered systematic marginalization. They had no access to public places; they were suppressed through distorted social and moral orders. Depressed classes had no access to education and had no share in the administration.
Ø Members of Depressed classes emphasized the problem of untouchability that could not be resolved through safeguard and protection. To completely remove this, there is a need to integrate these people into mainstream and bring attitudinal change in the society.
§  The constituent assembly made a provision that abolished untouchability.
§  Hindu temples be-thrown open to all castes and seats in legislature.
§  Jobs in government offices be reserved for lowest castes.
§  Many recognized that social discrimination could only be solved through a change in the attitudes within society.

v THE POWERS OF THE STATE:
Ø Issue of division of power of the government at the centre and at state level was intensely debated.
Ø Draft constitution provided three lists of subject i.e.
§  Union List-union government can make laws on it.
§  State List, State government can make laws on it .
§  Concurrent List-Both Union and State government can make laws on listed items.
Ø More items are listed in Union list. In India-Union government is made more powerful so that it can ensure peace, security, and can coordinate on the matter of vital interest and to speak for whole country in the international sphere.
Ø The union also head control of minerals and key industries.
Ø Article 356 gave the centre the power to take over a state administration on the recommendation of Governor
Ø However some taxes such as land and property taxes, sales tax and tax on bottled liquor could be levied and collected by the state on their own.

v Debate on  Powers of Centre and State:-
Ø K Santhanam from Madras said reallocation of power was necessary, not only to strengthen the state but also the centre. He said if centre is overburdened with responsibility it could not function properly. So it is important that some powers to the state should be transferred.
Ø Again, Santhanam said states should be given appropriate fiscal provision so that they can work independently and they do not need to depend on centre for even nominal expenditure,
Ø Santhanam and many others predicted dark future if allocation is not done properly. He further said that province might revolt against centre and centre will break, as excessive power is centralized in the constitution.
v Need for Strong Government:
Ø The need for strong government had been further reinforced by the events of partition. Many leaders like Jawaharlal Nehru, BR Ambedkar, Gopalaswami Ayyangar, Balakrishna Sharma etc advocated for strong centre.
Ø Ambedkar had declared that he wanted a strong and unite centre much stronger than the center we had created under the Government of India Act of 1935.
Ø Gopalaswami Ayyangar reminded the mebers of the riots and violence that was ripping the nation apart, declared that the centre should be made as strong as possible.
Ø Balakrishna Sharma from united province reasoned at length that only strong centre could plan for well being of the country, mobilize the available resources, established proper administration and defend the country against aggression.
Ø Before Partition the Congress had agreed to grant considerable autonomy to the provinces. This was agreed to satisfy the Muslim League.
Ø But after partition, there was no political pressure and violence aftermath of partition gave further fillip to centralized power.
v THE LANGUAGE OF THE NATION:
Ø In the Constituent Assembly issues over national language was intensely debated over months. Language was an emotional issue and it was related to culture and heritage of the particular region.
Ø By 1930s, Congress and Mahatma Gandhi accepted Hindustani as National language. Hindustani language was easy to understand and was a popular language among large section of India. Hindustani developed with the interaction of diverse culture and language.
Ø Hindustani language was chiefly made up of Hindi and Urdu but it also contained words of another language. But unfortunately, the language also suffered from communal politics. Gradually, Hindi and Urdu started moving apart. Hindi started using more Sanskritise words similarly Urdu became more persianised. Even then, Mahatma Gandhi retained his faith in Hindustani. He felt that Hindustani was a composite language for all Indians.
v A Plea for Making Hindi as National Language:
Ø RV Dhulekar, a member of constituent assembly made a strong plea to make Hindi as national language and language in which constitution should be made. The plea evoked strong opposition.
Ø Language committee of assembly produced a report in which these provisions were their-
§  it tried to resolve the issue by deciding that Hindi in devanagri script would be an official language .
§   Transition to Hindi world be a gradual process.
§  For initial 15 years after Independence, English to be used as official language.
§  Provinces were allowed to choose one language for official work within the province.
v The Fear of Domination of Hindi:
Ø SG Durgabai, a member of constituent assembly said that there is intense opposition against Hindi in South India.
Ø After the eruption of controversy regarding the language, there is a fear in the opponent that Hindi is antagonistic to provincial language and it cuts the root of provincial language and cultural heritage associated with it.
Ø She had accepted Hindustani as language of people but the language is being changed. Words from Urdu and regional languages were removed. This move erodes the inclusive and composite character of Hindustani, and due to this, anxieties and fear developed in the mind of people of different language groups.
Ø Shri Sahnkkarro Deo from Bombay stated that as congressman and a follower of Mahatma Gandhi he had accepted Hindustani as a language of the nation but he warned if you want my whole support for Hindi you must not do anything which may raise my suspicions and which strengthen my fears.
Ø T A Ramalingam Chettiar from Madras emphasized that whatever was done had to be done with caution. The cause of Hindi would not helped if it was pushed too aggressively.
Ø Many members felt that issue of Hindi as a national language must be treated cautiously and the aggressive tenor and speech will only create fear in non-Hindi speaking people and will further complicate the issue. There should be mutual understanding between different stake holders
Sr no
Persons
Ideas and participations
1
Somnaths Lahiri (communist)
Constituent assembly should free from the influence of imperial rule.
2
B Pocker Bhadur(madras)
Powerful plea for continuing separate electorates.
3
R V Dhulekar
Aggressive plea for Hindi language
4
G B PANT
Countering the demand of separate electorates
5.
Saradr Vallabh Patel
Strong Center
6
N G Ranga
Minorities to interpreted in economic terms
7
Jaipal singh
Protection for Adivasis
8
B R Ambedkar
Rights for depressed class
9
K Santhanam
Strong State
10
B R Ambedkar
Strong Nation
11
J. L Nehru
Strong center
12
Shrimati G Durgabai
Against the domination of Hindi
13
T A Ramalingam Chettiar
Hindi would not implant by forcibly
14
Hansa Mehta
Demand justice for women
 

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