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The following questions and answers are based on the 3rd chapter of Democratic Politics – 1 ‘Why do we need a constitution?’
Chapter 3.2: Why do we need a constitution?
The constitution of a country is a set of written rules that are accepted by the citizens of that country. The constitution is the supreme law of the country and it determines how the government of that country will function. The constitution also lays down the rights and responsibilities of the citizens and defines the relationship between the citizens and their government.
Name some of the major influences on the Indian constitution
The Indian constitution has been influenced by the ideals of the French Revolution and the concept of parliamentary democracy in Britain. It has also been influenced by the Bill of Rights in the US. Another major influence was the socialist revolution in Russia.
Chapter 3.3 | Making of the Indian Constitution
1. Describe some of the problems that the makers of our constitution faced.
Drafting a constitution for the newly formed India was not easy. Prior to independence, the country had been divided into India and Pakistan on the basis of religion. Lakhs of people had died in the violence related to partition. There were other problems too. India was made up of a number of princely states. People spoke many different languages and followed different religions and customs. Also the British had given the rulers of the princely states the right to decide whether they wanted to join India or Pakistan or remain independent. Merging these princely states with the Indian Union was a difficult and an uncertain task.
2. Define Constituent Assembly
The constituent assembly was an assembly of elected representatives who were tasked with the job of drafting our constitution. The constituent assembly was formed in July 1946 and held its first meeting in December 1946. The constituent assembly that drafted our constitution had 299 members. It adopted our constitution on November 26, 1949. But the constitution came into force only on January 26, 1950. Ever since, we have been celebrating this day as the Republic Day of India. Dr. Rajendra Prasad was the permanent chairman of the Constituent Assembly. Constitutional experts like Dr. B.R. Amdedkar, Alladi Krishnaswami Aiyar and Dr. K.M. Munshi were some prominent members of the Assembly
3. What are Constituent Assembly Debates?
Every document presented and every word spoken in the constituent assembly has been recorded and preserved. These are called constituent assembly debates. They are often used to interpret the meaning of various provisions of our constitution.
4. Preamble to our constitution
Our constitution begins with a short statement of its values. These are the values upon which our constitution is built. It is called the preamble to our constitution. The US constitution was the first constitution to begin with a preamble. The preamble serves as a guiding light. It is the standard used to examine or evaluate any law or any action of the government and to determine whether it is good or bad. The preamble is the soul of our constitution.
5. The importance of constitutional amendments
Our constitution was drafted more than 50 years ago and it is important for it to adapt to the changing needs and aspirations of the citizens of the country. For this reason the makers of our constitution did not see it as a sacred or unalterable law. In fact, they added provisions that made it possible to incorporate changes from time to time. Such changes are called constitutional amendments and they play a crucial role in ensuring that our constitution remains up to date.
1. Who was the chairman of the Drafting Committee of our Constitution?
Dr. B.R. Ambedkar
2. Who was the first president of independent India?
Dr. Rajendra Prasad