From 26th January 1950 to 26th January 2019, over these 70 years, India has celebrated this date as its Republic Day. The day a new democracy was born. Fun fact: India is the largest democracy in the world. The day the Constitution of India came into being. Fun fact: Ours is the longest constitution in the world.0
But you probably already know these facts. We all have grown up learning about the Six Fundamental Rights provided to every citizen by the Indian Constitution. About Dr BR Ambedhkar, the ‘Father of Indian Constitution’. About how 26th November 1949 was the day the Constitution was drafted, but legally enforced only two months later on 26th January 1950. But there is so much more to our law bible than this. Here are eight interesting facts about our Constitution that you probably didn’t know (but should).
1. Our Constitution is a labour of love. Not typed or printed, it was handwritten both in English and Hindi in beautiful calligraphy by Prem Behari Narain Raizada. He was a graduate from St Stephens College and learnt the art of calligraphy from his grandfather. In fact, he refused to take any payment for writing the Constitution – a task he completed in six months. These original copies are kept safe in helium-filled cases in the Library of the Parliament House.
2. Given that the Constitution is the longest one with 448 articles and 12 schedules (I am not even counting the amendments here), it’s no wonder that compiling the final draft took two years, 11 months and 18 days. Longest, indeed.
3. It was raining cats and dogs outside the Parliament the day constitution was signed – this was considered to be a good omen by the assembly members. The Rain Gods gave us their blessing.
4. Our Republic Day is celebrated not just on 26th January, but for three long days. The celebrations end on January 29.
5. The Constituent Assembly had 284 members, out of which 15 were women. These included Ammu Swaminathan, a political activist; Dakshayani Velayudan, a Dalit leader; Begum Aizaz Raisul, the only Muslim woman in the Assembly; freedom fighters, lawyers, Gandhians and even women who had gone to jail during the freedom movements. Other notable women include Renuka Ray, who argued against reservations for women, calling it an ‘insult’ to women’s ‘intelligence and capacity’, Vijalakshmi Pandit and Sarojini Naidu. Go, women power!
6. The makers took inspiration from various other country’s Constitutions while drafting our own, which is why the Indian Constitution is often called a ‘bag of borrowings’.
7. The Constitution is allegedly written in a way that can only be understood by someone who is comfortable with the language used in courts of law. It is often referred to as the ‘Lawyer’s Paradise’ for this reason.
And did you know? This year, for the first time in the history of the paramilitary and Assam Rifles, an all-women contingent will salute the President. On this note, happy Republic Day to everyone. And Jai Hind!
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