116) What was 'Constituent Assembly'?
Answer: The drafting of the document called the constitution was done by an assembly of elected representatives called the Constituent Assembly.
117) How was Constituent Assembly formed?
Answer:Elections to the Constituent Assembly were held in July 1946. Its first meeting was held in December 1946. When the country was partitioned into India and Pakistan, the Constituent Assembly was also divided into the Constituent Assembly of India and that of Pakistan.
118) How many members did the Constituent Assembly have?
Answer: The Constituent Assembly that wrote the Indian Constitution had 299 members.
119) When was the Constitution work completed and when did it come into effect?
Answer: The Assembly adopted the Constitution on 26th November 1949 but it came into effect on January 26, 1950. To mark this day we celebrate 26th January as Republic Day every year.
120) Why did the Constitution come into effect on 26th January 1950?
Answer: Since the Constitution makers wanted to give importance to the date 26th January as Jawaharlal Nehru declared Independence Day of India on 26th January 1931.
121) What is the unusual achievement of our Constitution?
Answer: No large social group or political party has ever questioned the legitimacy of the Constitution itself.
122) In which manner Constituent Assembly worked?
Answer: The Constituent Assembly worked in a systematic, open and consensual manner.
123) Why was a drafting committee formulated? Who was its Chairman?
Answer: The drafting Committee was formed to prepare a draft of the constitution for discussion. Its Chairman was Dr. B.R. Ambedkar.
124) Who was the Chairman of the Constituent Assembly?
Answer:Dr. Rajendra Prasad was the Chairman of the Constituent Assembly.
125) How many amendments were considered on the draft?
Answer: More than two thousand amendments were considered by the drafting Committee.
126) How much time it took to form the Constitution of India?
Answer: It took about 114 days spread over three years for documenting the Indian Constitution.
127) What are 'Constituent Assembly Debates'?
Answer:Every document presented and every word spoken in the Constituent Assembly has been recorded and preserved. These are called Constituent Assembly Debates.
128) How these Constituent Assembly Debates are used?
Answer: These debates provide the rationale behind every provision of the Constitution. These are used to interpret the meaning of the Constitution.
129) What features formed the foundation for India's democracy?
Answer:The Values that inspired and guided the freedom struggle and were then nurtured by it, formed the foundation for India's democracy.
130) What is Preamble?
Answer: The Preamble is like preface of a book, it is the soul of the Indian Constitution. It gives in brief all the laws and action of the government.
131) What does 'Sovereign' mean?
Answer: It means people have supreme right to make decisions on internal as well as external matters. No external power can dictate the government of India.
132) What does 'Socialist' in a democratic Constitution mean?
Answer:Wealth is generated socially and should be shared equally by society. Government should try to reduce socio-economic inequalities.
133) What is the meaning of the form 'Secular'?
Answer:Citizens have complete freedom to follow any religion. But there is no official religion. Government treats all religions, beliefs and practices with equal respect.
134) What does 'democratic' mean?
Answer:It is a form of government where people enjoy equal political rights, elect their rulers and hold them accountable.
135) What does 'Republic' mean?
Answer: In a republic, the head of the state is an elected person and not on a hereditary position.
136) Why is the term 'Justice' included in our Preamble?
Answer: Citizens cannot be discriminated on the grounds of caste, religion and gender. Social inequalities have to be reduced. The government should work for the welfare of all and provide justice.
137) What kind of liberty is given in the Preamble?
Answer: There are no unreasonable restrictions on the citizens in what they think, how they wish to express their thoughts and the way they wish to follow up their thoughts in action.
138) What does 'Equality' term mean in the Indian Constitution?
Answer:All are equal before the law. The traditional social inequalities have to be ended. The government should ensure equal opportunities for all.
139) What does the term 'Fraternity' signify in the Preamble?
Answer: All of us should behave as if we are members of the same family. No one should treat a follow citizen as inferior.
140) What are 'Constitutional Amendments'?
Answer:Provisions are made to incorporate changes from time to time in our constitution. These changes are called 'Constitutional Amendments'.
141) Why do we need to make amendments in our constitution?
Answer: Our Constitution is a very long and detailed document. Therefore it needs to be amended quite regularly to keep it updated.
142) Name some of the members of the Constituent Assembly?
Answer: Dr. Rajendra Prasad (Chairman). Jaipal Singh (A sportsman and educationist) Baldev Singh (An entrepreneur and a leader of the Panthic Akali Party) B.RAmbedkar (Chairman Drafting Committee) JawaharLal Nehru (Prime Minister of the Interim Government) Sarojini Naidu (Poet, writer and political activist) Shyama Prasad Mukherjee (Educationist and lawyer).
143) What do you know about Nelson Mandela?
Answer: (i) Nelson Mandela was a South African leader who was tried for treason by the White South African government. (ii) He and seven other leaders were sentenced to life imprisonment in 1964, for daring to oppose the apartheid regime in his country. (iii) He spent the next 28 years in Robben Island, South Africa's most dreaded prison. (iv) He was released after 28 years from jail, and at midnight of the 26th of April 1994, South Africa got independence. He became the first President of independent South Africa.
144) What do you understand by the term 'apartheid'?
Answer: Apartheid refers to the official policy of racial separation and ill-treatment of blacks followed by the white government of South Africa between 1948 and 1989. This practice of racial discrimination remained for the longest period in South Africa.
145) What basic rules are followed to form a Constitution?
Answer: The basic rules are: (i) The rules should lay down how the rulers are to be chosen in future. (ii) These rules should also determine what the elected governments are empowered to do and what they cannot do. (iii) These rules should decide the rights of the citizens.
146) What documents were taken by the Constituent Assembly to form the Indian Constitution?
Answer: The documents taken to form the Indian Constitution were: (i) The Indian Constitution was drafted by Motilal Nehru and eight other leaders in 1928. (ii) The resolution at the Karachi Session of the INC on how independent India's Constitution should look like, in 1931. (iii) Both these documents were committed to the inclusion of universal adult franchise right to freedom and quality and protecting the right of minorities in the constitution of independent India.
147) Indian leaders were inspired by which countries to frame the Indian Constitution?
Answer: The countries which inspired the Indian Constitution were: (i) France: Many Indian leaders were inspired by the ideals of the French Revolution and their resolution on liberty, equality and fraternity. (ii) Britain: Indian leaders were inspired by the practice of Parliamentary democracy in Britain. (iii) US: Their Bill of Rights was a great inspiration. (iv) Russia: The socialist revolution and the socialist economy of Russia also inspired the leaders of India.
148) How was the Constituent Assembly formed?
Answer: The drafting of the Constitution was done by an assembly of elected representatives called the Constituent Assembly. (i) Elections to the Constituent Assembly were held in July 1946. (ii) Its first meeting was held in December 1946. (iii) The Constituent Assembly was also divided into the Constituent Assembly of India and Pakistan after the partition. (iv) The Constituent Assembly that wrote the Indian Constitution constituted as many as 299 members. It adopted the Constitution on 26 November 1949, but it came into effect on 26 January 1950.
149) When was the Constitution completed and why was it imposed on 26 January 1950?
Answer: (i) The Constituent Assembly completed the Constitution on 26 November 1949. (ii) But it was imposed on 26 January 1950 to give due importance to the date, 26th January. (iii) To mark this day we celebrate it as the Republic Day every year.
150) Give reasons for accepting the Constitution made by the Constituent Assembly more than 50 years ago.
Answer: Some reasons for accepting the same Constitution till today are: (i) The Constitution does not reflect the views of its members alone. It expresses a broad consensus of its time. (ii) The Constituent Assembly represented the people of India. There was no Universal Adult Franchise at that time. So, the Constituent Assembly could not have been chosen directly by all the people of India but it was elected mainly by the members of Provincial Legislatures, which ensured a fair share of all the regions of the country. (iii) The Constituent Assembly worked in a systematic, open and consensual manner.
151) What was the 'Drafting Committee'?
Answer:The 'Drafting Committee' prepared a draft of the Constitution for discussion: (i) It was chaired by Dr. B.R. Ambedkar. (ii) Several rounds of thorough discussion took place on the Draft of the Constitution, clause by clause. (iii) The members worked for 114 days spread over three years. Later on, it was thrown to the public to get their opinion.
152) What are 'Constituent Assembly Debates'?
Answer:Every document presented and every word spoken in the Constituent Assembly has been recorded and preserved. These are called 'Constituent Assembly Debates'. (i) These debates provide the rationale behind every provision of the Constitution. (ii) These are used to interpret the meaning of the Constitution. (iii) When printed, these debates constitute 12 bulky volumes.
153) In which two ways can the philosophy of the Indian Constitution be understood?
Answer: The two ways in which the philosophy of the Indian Constitution can be understood are: (i) It can be understood by reading the views of some of the major leaders on the Indian Constitution. (ii) We can understand by reading what the Constitution says about its own philosophy.
154) What is the role of Dr. B.R. Ambedkar in making the Constitution?
Answer:Dr. B.R. Ambedkar was the Chairman of the Drafting Committee. He played a key role in making the Constitution but had a different view on how inequalities could be removed from the society. He thought that in politics, there should be equality but in social and economic life inequalities should be removed.
155) How did the blacks of South Africa fight against the practice of apartheid?
Answer: Since 1950, the blacks, coloured and Indians fought against the apartheid system. They launched protest marches and strikes. The African National Congress (ANC) was the umbrella organisation which led the struggle against the policies of segregation. This included many workers' union and the Communist Party. Many sensitive whites also joined the ANC to oppose apartheid and played a leading role in this struggle. Several countries also denounced apartheid as unjust and racist.
156) What kind of inspiration do we get from South Africa?
Answer: The South African constitution inspires democrats all over the world. A state denounced by the entire world till recently as the most undemocratic one is now seen as a model of democracy. What made this change possible was the determination of the people of South Africa to work together to transform bitter experiences into the binding glue of a rainbow nation.
157) What were Nelson Mandela's views on the South African constitution?
Answer: He felt that the Constitution of South Africa speaks of both past and its future. On one hand, it is a solemn pact in which they, as South Africans, declare to one another that they shall never permit a repetition of their racist, brutal and repressive past. it is also a charter for the transformation of their country into one which is truly shared by all its people?a country which in the fullest sense belongs to all of them, black and white, women and men.
158) What compromises were made by both ethnic groups of South Africa for their constitution?
Answer: The whites agreed to the principle of majority rule and that of one-person- one-vote. They also agreed to accept some basic rights for the poor and the workers. The blacks agreed that majority rule would not be absolute. They agreed that the majority would not take away the property of the white minority.
159) Why are rules formed in the constitutions of countries?
Answer: These rules lay down how the rulers are to be chosen in future. They also determine what the elected governments are empowered to do and what they cannot do. These rules also decide the rights of the citizens. This set of basic rules is called a constitution.
160) Which basic values were accepted by all leaders before the Constituent Assembly met to form the constitution?
Answer: (i) Inclusion of Universal Adult Franchise by giving all the citizens of India the right to vote and contest elections. (ii) Right to freedom and equality to be granted. Since India remained under British control for a long time and being a country of diversities, it needed equality. (iii) It also proposed for protecting the rights of minorities in the constitution of independent India.
161) Who was Dr. B.R. Ambedkar? How did he play a key role in the making of Indian constitution?
Answer: Dr. Ambedkar was the chairman of the Drafting Committee. He was a social revolutionary, thinker and agitator against caste divisions and caste-based inequalities. Dr. Ambedkar played a key role in the making of the constitution but had a different understanding of how inequalities could be removed. He often bitterly criticised Mahatma Gandhi and his vision.
162) How values of freedom struggle were embedded in the Preamble of the Indian constitution?
Answer: Values that inspired and guided the freedom struggle and were in turn nurtured by it, formed the foundation for India's democracy. These values are embedded in the Preamble of the Indian Constitution. They guide all the articles of the Indian Constitution. The Constitution begins with a short statement of its basic values. This is called the Preamble of the Indian
163) What does the Indian Preamble on the constitution contain?
Answer: The Preamble of the Constitution reads like a poem on democracy. It contains the philosophy on which the entire Constitution has been built. It provides a standard to examine and evaluate any law and action of the government, to find out whether it is good or bad. It is the soul of the Indian Constitution.