February 27, 2024

Constitution Day: Realising founding fathers’ dreams through Sabka Saath, Sabka Vikas and Sabka Vishwas

In last 6 years of the Prime Ministership of Narendra Modi, Constitutional Amendments have been done to empower the citizens of India in line with the ideals of Babasaheb.
Keywords: Constitution | Democracy | New India | Amendments | Values | Duties | Modi | Ambedkar | Dignity | Rights | Prosperity | Laws | Act | Parliament
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26th of November every year is in many ways a dark day for us Indians. It was on this day that India’s enemies chose to perpetrate in Mumbai what was one of the most horrific attacks on India. Yet India is strong, and India today is even more resilient. We have moved on from the trials of the past and have laid the foundations and started building a new, modern and strong India. 

On 11th of October 2015, Prime Minister Narendra Modi while laying the foundation stone of B.R. Ambedkar’s Statue of Equality Memorial in Mumbai, declared that from this year onwards the 26th of November would be celebrated as the Constitution Day as it was on this very day in 1949 that the Constituent Assembly had adopted the Constitution of India, the foundation stone of the Republic and the bedrock of Indian democracy. It was fitting that this announcement was made on the 125th Birth Anniversary year of Babasaheb. In many ways this was a significant event as it showed the commitment and love of Mr. Modi for the ethos of the Constitution and the values of Babasaheb Ambedkar in his vision for New India. 

Today, 26th November has turned from a dark day in the life of Indians to a day which reminds us of the greatness of our Republic. More and more Indians have become aware of the Constitution which is the life force of this great country. Government organizations and civil society across the country have joined hands to create more awareness about our Constitution amongst the general masses, in line with the vision of the Prime Minister to use the Constitution as a tool for the empowerment and growth of every single citizen of India.

It is a testament to the Prime Minister’s dream of strengthening the Constitution to empower the lives of ordinary citizens that the 6 years of the Prime Ministership of Narendra Modi have seen the Constitution Amendments and social programs be used to empower the citizens of India in line with the ideals of Babasaheb and the vision of Sabka Saath, Sabka Vikas and Sabka Vishwas motto of New India. 

The 100th Amendment solved the problems of thousands of Indian citizens who were stuck nearly seven decades after Indian Independence in enclaves on the India- Bangladesh border. Our voiceless lost brothers and sisters were finally given dignity and citizenship rights.

The 101st amendment saw the path breaking introduction of the Goods and Services Tax which heralded a new era of economic reforms in the country. It is a testament to the determination of Mr. Modi that he was able to bring the entire country together, including different states ruled by parties not necessarily favorable to him and in the true spirit of federal cooperation as enshrined in the Constitution, passed the landmark laws for the greater prosperity of citizens and of the country. Today India’s tax base has increased significantly, tax collection has become more streamlined and tax avoidance has been curtailed thanks to the GST. 

The 102nd amendment was the landmark decision of the Government to grant constitutional status to the National Commission for Backward Classes. It was a decision to further empower those who have fallen behind and give a greater  voice to Dalit and Bahujan brothers and sisters.

The 103rd Amendment enshrined the historic decision to grant reservations to Economically Weaker Sections (EWSs) of citizens of classes other than the classes mentioned in clauses (4) and (5) of Article 15, i.e., Classes other than socially and educationally backward classes of citizens or the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes. This was historic because it fulfilled the dreams of empowering those who were left socially backward due to their class and caste as well as those who were behind because of  economic injustice in this country.

The abrogation of the Article 370 of the Indian Constitution was a watershed moment for the National unity of this country when the long-cherished dream of Shyama Prasad Mookerjee for the full integration of Jammu and Kashmir with the country was achieved. Today the people of Jammu and Kashmir can enjoy all the rights which were previously unjustly denied to them and count themselves as  equal citizens of this country. 

The greatest strides however have been made in the social inclusiveness and empowerment programs of the Government. Whether it is Jan Dhan, Ujwala Gas, Swacch Bharat, PM Awas Yojana, Har Ghar Nal se Jal, Ayushman Bharat or many of the several other schemes the Government has launched and implemented, the common message is that every single citizen must be empowered in the truest sense if our Constitutional goals are to be achieved

For me as an ordinary citizen of this country one of the most significant memories of this day is the clarion call delivered by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in his speech delivered at the joint sitting of the Parliament houses on Constitution Day 2019. He pointed that our founding founders had envisioned a Constitution which granted citizen rights but also imparted duties on them. Truly, nation building has to be an effort where all parts of society, the Government, citizens from all walks of life and the various institutions of this country unite in undertaking the responsibilities assigned in the Constitution to make India a great, just and happy nation. 

As India and the entire world pass through one of the periodic crises in history, it is this call for responsibilities, this unity and emphasis on national effort as envisaged in the Constitution, which will help our country go through the crisis and come out stronger. 

Today I feel relieved and happy to see as a lawyer so much more awareness and enthusiasm about the Constitution amongst people of all sections of the society thanks to the Constitution Day programs at school, university and civil society level. This wouldn’t have been possible without the concerted effort and full-hearted support of the Prime Minister and his Government. Why am I relieved and happy? Because we learnt the hard way on one dark day in 1975 that our Constitutional rights and freedoms can be snatched away by those who have disdain for it. However, the safeguard against abuses is truly the citizen who is aware of his rights and duties and cherishes the Constitution. As PM Modi correctly said in his last Constitutional day speech, Babasaheb would be truly looking at us happily with pride from somewhere. 

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Milind Ghosh

Milind Ghosh is a graduate of the National Law Institute University. He is a practicing advocate at Delhi with interests in policy and politics

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