New Constitution Copies Raise Eyebrows
“socialist and secular,” In a surprising turn of events, the Lok Sabha leader of the Opposition, Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury, has brought attention to a significant alteration in the copies of India’s Constitution. According to Chowdhury, the new versions of the Constitution distributed to Members of Parliament no longer contain the words “socialist and secular,” which are an integral part of India’s preamble.
What’s Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury Saying?
Expressing his concerns, Chowdhury stated, “The new copies of the Constitution that were given to us today (19th September) no longer have the words ‘socialist secular’ in the Preamble. We know these words were added after an amendment in 1976, but if they are missing from the Constitution today, it’s a matter of concern.” He further questioned the government’s motives, suggesting that this change was done subtly and that it raises suspicions.
History of the Words “Socialist” and “Secular”
The terms ‘socialist’ and ‘secular’ were incorporated into the Constitution’s preamble during the 42nd Amendment in 1976, a period marked by the Emergency imposed by Prime Minister Indira Gandhi. These words were added to assure the nation that the rights of minorities would be safeguarded, and economic power would not be monopolized by a privileged few.
Why Were “Secularism” and “Socialism” Not Included Earlier?
Interestingly, India’s first Prime Minister, Jawahar Lal Nehru, and the architect of the Indian Constitution, B.R. Ambedkar, both believed in the idea of secularism. However, they were cautious about explicitly using the term in the Constitution, as they believed that matters related to the policy of the State and the organization of society should be determined by the people themselves, adapting to changing times and circumstances.
Nehru expressed his views on secularism, stating, “It is an ideal to be aimed at because none of us can claim to be entirely free from prejudices or communalism.” Thus, while the Constitution included provisions related to freedom of religion (Articles 25, 26, and 27), the term ‘secularism’ was embedded in the constitutional philosophy.
1975 Emergency: A Turning Point
On 26th June 1975, Prime Minister Indira Gandhi declared a state of Emergency, granting unprecedented powers to Parliament. During this period, substantial changes were made to the Constitution, including the Preamble. India’s description changed from a “sovereign, democratic republic” to a “sovereign, socialist, secular, democratic republic.”
This alteration has now resurfaced, causing widespread discussions and debates about the intent behind it. As the controversy unfolds, it remains a topic of great interest and concern among the Indian populace.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) About the Article on Changes to India’s Constitution Preamble
Q1: What is the key issue discussed in the article regarding India’s Constitution?
A1: The article discusses the removal of the words “socialist and secular” from the preamble of India’s Constitution in new copies distributed to Members of Parliament.
Q2: Who brought attention to this alteration in the Constitution?
A2: Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury, the Lok Sabha leader of the Opposition, brought attention to the omission of “socialist and secular” from the Constitution copies.
Q3: Why are there concerns about the removal of these words from the Constitution preamble?
A3: There are concerns because these words were originally added in 1976 during the Emergency period to ensure the protection of minority rights and prevent economic domination by a select few.
Q4: What were the views of Jawahar Lal Nehru and B.R. Ambedkar on including “secularism” in the Constitution?
A4: Both Nehru and Ambedkar believed in the ideal of secularism but were cautious about explicitly including it in the Constitution, as they believed societal policies should adapt to changing times and circumstances.
Q5: When and how did the changes in the Constitution occur during the 1975 Emergency?
A5: The changes occurred on 26th June 1975 when Prime Minister Indira Gandhi declared a state of Emergency, granting Parliament unprecedented powers. The Preamble was altered to describe India as a “sovereign, socialist, secular, democratic republic.”
Q6: Why is the removal of “socialist and secular” words raising suspicions about the government’s intentions?
A6: Some believe that the removal was done subtly, and this has raised suspicions about whether the government has a hidden agenda behind this change.
Q7: What are the implications of these changes in the Constitution preamble?
A7: The implications of these changes are still being debated, with many questioning their potential impact on the foundational principles of India’s democracy.
Q8: What actions have been taken in response to this issue?
A8: Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury has raised the issue, but as of now, it has not been formally addressed in Parliament. The controversy continues to be a subject of interest and concern among the public.
Q9: Where can I find more updates on this developing story?
A9: You can stay updated on this story by following news outlets and staying informed about the ongoing discussions and debates surrounding this issue.
Q10: Why were the words “socialist and secular” originally added to India’s Constitution?
A10: These words were added in 1976 to reassure the nation that minority rights would be protected and to prevent the concentration of economic power in the hands of a privileged few.
Q11: How did the views of Nehru and Ambedkar influence the inclusion of “secularism” in the Constitution?
A11: Both Nehru and Ambedkar believed in secularism but were cautious about explicitly including it in the Constitution, as they believed societal policies should be adaptable to changing times and circumstances.
Q12: What were the circumstances surrounding the 1975 Emergency and the changes to the Constitution?
A12: The 1975 Emergency was declared by Prime Minister Indira Gandhi, granting Parliament unprecedented powers. During this period, significant changes were made to the Constitution, including altering the Preamble.
Q13: Are there any historical reasons for not explicitly including “secularism” in the Constitution earlier?
A13: Yes, both Nehru and Ambedkar believed that the application of secularism in the Indian context should be decided by the people over time, rather than being explicitly laid out in the Constitution.
Q14: How can I keep up with the ongoing developments related to this issue?
A14: You can stay informed by following news reports and updates from reputable news sources, as well as monitoring discussions and debates in the public domain.