Written by – Ashwin Jangam
Indians today are governed by two different ideologies. Their political ideal set in the preamble of the Constitution affirms a life of liberty, equality and fraternity. Their social ideal embodied in their religion denies them. ~Dr. B.R. Ambedkar
Every year on 26 January, we celebrate Constitution Day, also known as Samvidhan Divas, in India in honor of Dr. Bhimrao Ramji Ambedkar, the Architect of the Indian constitution.
Constitution Drafting Committee
India obtained independence on 15 August 1947 as a constitutional monarchy with George VI as Head of State and the Earl of Mountbatten as its Governor-General. The country, though, did not yet had a constitution; instead, its laws were based on the modified colonial Government of India Act of 1935. On 29 August 1947, a resolution was passed by the Constituent Assembly to appoint a Drafting Committee with seven members, including Dr. Ambedkar, for preparing a draft of the Constitution of independent India. It is said that when Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru and Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel asked Sir Guor Jennings, an internationally-known constitutional expert of that time to draft the Constitution of India, he responded, “Why are you looking outside of India when you have within India an outstanding legal and constitutional expert in Dr. Ambedkar who ought to be entrusted with the role which you so badly need and which he so richly and rightly deserves?”
Then Law Minister Dr. Ambedkar was appointed the Chairman of the Drafting Committee on 28 August 1947 because of his educational qualifications and deep knowledge, great command of the English language, and expertise in articulating the subject. Other members of the Drafting Committee were N. Goipalswami, Alladi Krishnaswami Ayyas, K.M. Munshi, Saijio Mola Saadulla, N. Madhava Rao and D.P. Khaitan.
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The workload of drafting the Constitution of India fell entirely on Dr. Ambedkar and required his full effort and concentration. The other members of the Constitution Committee did not participate for various reasons. Some resigned, some were in ill health, some were busy with political work in their respective States, some were traveling abroad, and so on. It is generally agreed that Dr. Ambedkar was the sole author of the Constitution of India. We Indians owe a debt of gratitude to Dr. Ambedkar for such a perfect Constitution which is still in effect after 60 years of Indian Independence.
In his self-evaluation of his work, Dr. Ambedkar told the Assembly, “I do not want to say how good or bad is the Constitution. I feel that it is as much good as bad. It will be bad in the end when the ruling people/party are bad. It will be good in the end when the ruling people/party are good.”
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