Q.1. In which way was the system of ‘apartheid’ oppressive? [Important]
Ans. The apartheid system was particularly oppressive for the blacks. They were forbidden from living in white areas. They could work in white areas only if they had a permit. Trains, buses, taxis, hotels, hospitals, schools and colleges, swimming pools, public toilets etc. were all separate for the whites and blacks. They could not even visit the churches where the whites worshipped. Blacks could not form associations or protest against the terrible treatment.
Q.2. What was the appeal made by the black leaders to the fellow blacks after the emergence of the new democratic South Africa?
Ans. After the emergence of the new democratic South Africa, black leaders appealed to fellow blacks to forgive the whites for the atrocities they had committed while in power. They urged the people to build a new South Africa based on equality of all races, and of men and women, on democratic values, social justice and human rights.
Q.3. What is meant by the term ‘Constitution’? [Important]
Ans. The constitution of a country is a set of written rules that are accepted by all people living in that country. It is the supreme law that determines the relationship among the people living in a territory (called citizens) and also the relationship between the people and government. It specifies how the government will be constituted and who will have the power to take different decisions.
Q.4. Describe the advantages that Indians had when they participated in the legislatures which were set up as a result of the elections of 1937.
Ans. Although the legislatures set up in India as a result of elections of 1937 were not fully democratic, the experience gained by Indians in the working of the legislative institutions proved to be very useful for the country in setting up its own institutions and working in them.
Q.5. Give a description of the composition of the Constituent Assembly. [Important]
Ans. The Constituent Assembly was elected mainly by the members of the existing Provincial Legislatures. This ensured a fair geographical share of members from all the regions of the country. Congress, which was the dominant party in the Assembly, itself included a variety of political groups and opinions. It represented members from different languages, castes, religions, classes and occupations.
Q.6. What did Ambedkar mean by ‘Contradiction’ in his concluding speech to the Constituent Assembly?
Ans. In his concluding speech to the Constituent Assembly Dr. Ambedkar said that India was entering a life of ‘contradictions’ on 26th Jan 1950. By this he meant that in politics Indians would have equality but in social and economic life, there would be inequality. In politics India would be recognising the principle of one man one vote, with one value, but in social and economic life, the principle of one man one value would be denied.
Q.7. Why was a constitution necessary for a country like South Africa?
Ans. The oppressor and the oppressed, i.e. the whites and the blacks were planning to live together, as equals. It was not going to be easy for them to trust each other. They wanted to safeguard their interests. The only way to build and maintain trust was to write down some rules. This set of basic rules was the constitution needed for South Africa.
Q.8. What do you understand by secularism? Why is India called a secular country?
Ans. India is a country of many religions and it respects all religions. No religion is given the status of state religion and equal respect is given to all beliefs, faiths and practices. Citizens have complete freedom to follow any religion.
Q.9. What are Constitutional Amendments? State its significance in a democratic country like India. [2010 (T-1)]
Ans. Constitutional Amendments are changes in the constitution made by the Supreme Legislative body in a country. The constitution of India is a very long and detailed document. Therefore it needs to be amended quite regularly to keep it updated.
Q.10. What were the difficulties faced during the making of Indian constitution? [2010 (T-1)]
Ans. It was drawn up under very difficult circumstances. Making a constitution for a huge country like India was not an easy affair. The country was born through partition. The problem of princely states was left undecided by the British. There were anxieties about the present and future of the country.
Q.11. State the steps involved in the framing of Indian constitution. [2010 (T-1)]
Ans. The drafting of the document called the constitution was done by an assembly of elected representatives called the Constituent assembly Elections to the Constituent Assembly were held in July 1946. Its first meeting was held in December 1946. It had 299 members. The assembly adopted the constitution on 26 November 1949 and it came into force on 26 January 1950.
Q.12. The Preamble of our constitution is a short statement of values. Which country has inspired India to incorporate the Preamble? Why does it start with ‘‘We The People of India?’’ [2010 (T-1)]
Ans. Taking inspiration from American model, most countries including India have chosen to begin their constitutions with an importance to the people of India by saying that it is the people who have drawn up and enacted the constitution. It has not been handed down to them by a king or any outside power.