26th Nov: Constitution Day celebrated

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In October, while laying the foundation stone of  Dr. B. R. Ambedkar Memorial in Mumbai, Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced that this year onwards, November 26 would be observed as Constitution Day. Earlier the day was celebrated as Law Day. The day of November 26 was chosen to spread the importance of the Constitution and to spread awareness about Ambedkar.

The year of 2015 also witnessed the 125th birth anniversary of  Dr. Bhimrao Ramji Ambedkar who had chaired the drafting committee of the Constituent Assembly and played a pivotal role in the drafting of the Constitution. 26 November, marks the anniversary of the adoption of the Constitution of India constitution by the Constituent Assembly of India on 26 November 1949 which later came into effect on 26 January 1950. Union Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment (MSJE) is the nodal Ministry for celebration of Constitution Day.

Journey of Constitution at a glance

  1. The Constitution was adopted on November 26, 1949, while it came into force on January 26, 1950. The Constituent Assembly had 284 members, out of which 15 were women. The Constitution of India contains 448 articles in 25 parts, 12 schedules, 5 appendices and 98 amendments.
  2. The Constitution of India was not typeset or printed but was handwritten and calligraphed in both English and Hindi. The original copies of the Constitution of India are kept in special helium-filled cases in the Library of the Parliament of India.
  3. The Constitution consists of 90,000 words carefully handwritten in English and Hindi. The books were also illustrated with events from Indian history exquisitely prepared by the great national artist, Nandalal Bose of Santiniketan.
  4. There were no foreign consultants involved in framing the Constitution. The founders were adamant that Indians should have full control over the drafting procedure. Thus, the assistance of several lawyer-members were sought: Nehru, Prasad, Ambedkar, and Alladi Krishnaswami Ayyar were part of the historic draft.
  5. Based on expert inputs, the Assembly's Constitutional Adviser B.N. Rau prepared an initial draft constitution in February 1948. Rau's draft was further revised by Ambedkar's drafting committee and issued in November 1948. The Assembly took almost a year to discuss it. More than 2,000 amendments were considered and several were accepted. The drafting committee produced a revised draft, which was eventually adopted by the Assembly, with some changes, as the Constitution on November 26, 1949. After the submission, it took three more years to complete it.
  6. All the 284 members of the Constituent Assembly signed the documents on January 24, 1950. Nehru was the first to sign and members from Madras followed him. After the last member had signed the books, Rajendra Prasad decided that he, too, must do so. But, rather than signing behind the last signatory, he inserted his name in the small space between the last line of the text and Nehru's signature.
  7. The constitution came into effect on January 26.  At a ceremony held in Rashtrapathi Bhavan's Durbar Hall, Governor General Rajagopalachari solemnly proclaimed India as a “Sovereign, Democratic Republic”. The national emblem of India too was adopted on the same day.
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