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Who will save the Indian Constitution?

Who will save the Indian Constitution?

As yet another Republic Day passes by, analysing how far the governing system, dreamt by the architects of the Indian Constitution is effectively implemented, is highly relevant.

When the country was liberated from the British colonial forces, a political system formed by the people and for the people, was what we strived for. Under the leadership of Baba Sahib Ambedkar, more than 300 members worked together for almost three years to frame the Constitution. When addressing the members in the final sitting of the Constituent Assembly in 1949, Ambedkar, even while he relished the proud moments of accomplishing the historic responsibility, also shared his apprehensions. He warned that it was pointless to expect our political and governing system to function well only because of the existence of a well drafted Constitution. Since every Constitution reflects the perspectives and aspirations of the particular time in which it’s formed, flexible clauses were included in the Constitution to make amendments as and when the situation demanded.

He also reminded that it should only be seen as a way to incorporate social and political realities. Ambedkar elucidated the duty of the Constitution at the implementation level and presented suggestions that would illuminate the path for future generations by citing Thomas Jefferson, one of the founding fathers of the American Constitution. The constitution for the past 67 years has been successful in binding together the innumerable and diverse social sections and leading them forward. That our nation which follows a Parliamentary democracy model hasn’t been able to even contemplate about another governing system compels us to think that the Constitution envisaged by Ambedkar and other leaders befitted a country like India.

Despite the various views on the foundation of the concept of India, it’s on the basis of the Constitution that the country moves forward as a modern nation growing and progressing in the process. The future of the nation is secure as long as the basic framework of Constitution remains intact. That is, as long as the government doesn’t follow any policies and decisions that ruin the essence of the Constitution. The elucidations from the part of the judiciary that any proposal, which dismisses the Parliamentary democracy and secular values even while the loopholes for changes exist, wouldn’t be acceptable to the Constitution, brings relief. The Supreme Court, during the prominent Kesavananda Bharathi judgement, had outlined secularism and democracy as the basic framework of the Constitution. Even though the ruling closes all the loopholes for political games that misuse the Constitution, Indira Gandhi’s political experiments proved that Parliamentary democracy could create autocrats as well.

When voices were raised demanding the re-examination the Constitution during the tenure of Vajpayee government, the then President late K R Narayanan, comprehending the mysterious motive behind such moves, came out saying the real issue was not the constitution but the government that is entitled to implement the principles of the constitution. It’s when the basic values upheld by the Constitution faces several challenges that country celebrates the 68th Republic Day. Ambedkar in 1949 had pointed towards two social realities that hinder the execution of the Constitution. They are inequality rooted in the Indian society and the lack of brotherhood spirit. At the same time, certain dangerous ideologies that are against the broadmindedness of our Constitution, equality in diversity, do prevent even the government from functioning impartially. This is where the Constitution fails. Only those who firmly believe in human values can lead the nation along the path directed by the Constitution. Therefore do not forget that the survival of the Constitution lies in the hands of vigilant citizens as Jefferson said.

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