What were the ideals expressed in the Objectives Resolution?
Explain the ideals introduced by Jawaharlal Nehru in the ‘Objectives Resolution’ that were to be kept in mind while framing the Constitution of India.
The Objectives Resolution was presented in the Constituent Assembly on 13 December, 1946 by
Jawaharlal Nehru. It outlined and defined the ideals and objectives of the constitution
which are as follows:
(i) India was declared as an Independent Sovereign Republic.
(ii) It assured justice, equality, liberty and fraternity to all its citizens.
(iii) It provided adequate safeguards to minorities and also referred to the well-being of the backward and depressed classes.
(iv) India would combine the liberal ideas of democracy with the socialist idea of economic justice.
(v) India would adopt that form of government which would be acceptable to its people. No imposition from the British would be accepted by the Indian people.
(vi) India would be a federation.
(vii) India would work for world peace and human welfare.
How was the term minority defined by different groups?
Minority means that a particular community or a group of people is less as compared to the
proportion of the total population. However, during the preparation of the Indian
Constitution, all the members of the Constituent Assembly defined it in their own way.
(i) B. Pocker Bahadur from Madras stated that minorities existed in almost all the countries of the world. So he wanted a political framework in the country which might enable the minorities to live in harmony with others. In other words, the minorities should be well represented in the political system. He considered Muslims as a minority and stated that they must have a meaningful role in the governance of the country. Their needs cannot be properly understood by the non-Muslims. Even non-Muslims cannot elect a true representative of the Muslims. In other words, a true representative of a community cannot be chosen by those who do not belong to that community.
(ii) N.G. Ranga stated that the real minorities were the common people of the country. He believed that the common people of the country were so depressed, oppressed and suppressed that they never enjoyed any civil rights. He particularly referred to the tribal people who were considered by the merchants as their bond slaves. Jaipal Singh also supported the views of N.G. Ranga.
(iii) Dr. B.R. Ambedkar considered the people belonging to the depressed castes as minority. However, Nagappa pointed out that numerically, depressed castes were not a minority as they were 20 to 25% of the total population.
(iv) Some members talked of religious minorities and sought special safeguards for them.
Why did Mahatma Gandhi think Hindustani should be the national language?
Examine the reasons for proposing Hindustani by Gandhiji as the national language.
In the 1930s, the Indian National Congress accepted the view that Hindustani should be the national language of India. Mahatma Gandhi felt that all the people should speak in a language which can well be understood by the common people. Hindustani which was a blend of Hindi and Urdu was a very popular language in India. It was spoken by a large section of the people and was a composite language enriched by the interaction of diverse cultures. So Mahatma Gandhi was convinced that such a multi-cultural language would be the ideal language of communication between diverse communities. It would strengthen unity between the Hindus and the Muslims. It would also bring the people of the north closer to the people of the south. In other words, Mahatma Gandhi believed in the composite character of Hindustani.
What historical forces shaped the vision of the Constitution?
While addressing the meeting of the Constituent Assembly on 13 December, 1946, Jawaharlal
Nehru spoke about the ideals of the new Indian Constitution. He discussed everything in a
broad historical perspective. He referred to the historic efforts made in the past to
achieve the goals of justice, liberty, equality, fraternity and fundamental rights. He
linked the history of Constitution–making to a longer history of struggle for liberty and
freedom. However, he also did not like to copy from the past.
The vision of the Indian Constitution was shaped by the aspirations of those who had participated in the freedom-struggle of India. So all the members of the Constituent Assembly cherished to imbibe the ideals of Democracy, Equality, Liberty, Justice and Fraternity. They pleaded social justice, opposed child marriage and permitted widow remarriage. There was also a feeling that all religions must be just. Jyotiba Phule while talking of the depressed castes in Maharashtra referred to social justice. In the same way, the communists and the socialists organised workers and peasants to press for economic justice. Our national movement was in fact a struggle for democracy, justice and rights.
Discuss the different arguments made in favour of protection of the oppressed groups.
Describe the different arguments made in favour of protection of depressed classes in the Constituent Assembly.
(i) During the freedom struggle, Dr. B.R. Ambedkar demanded separate electorates for the depressed castes. But Mahatma Gandhi did not like this proposal. He refuted it saying that this would permanently alienate the depressed castes from the mainstream of the society. (ii) Some members suggested protection and safeguards to resolve the problems of the untouchables. They felt that there must be a change in social norms and moral values of the caste society to ameliorate the condition of the down-trodden sections of society and the depressed castes. (iii) J. Nagappa wanted to end the exploitation of depressed castes. He relented that people made use of their labour and services but kept them away from their social setup. People kept them away from themselves. They neither ate with them nor did they allow them to enter the temples. Hence Nagappa propounded that the depressed castes must be educated and get their share in the administration. Because of these efforts and arguments, the Constituent Assembly at last recommended to abolish untouchability. It also recommended to open all the Hindu temples to all castes and reservation of seats in legislatures and jobs in government offices. It also put an end to social discrimination.
What connection did some of the members of the Constituent Assembly make between the political situation of the time and the need for a strong centre?
How did the Constituent Assembly of India protect the powers of the Central Government? Explain.
Why did Dr. B. R. Ambedkar argue for strong centre in the constituent assembly? Explain.
Why did some of our leaders advocated a strong centre during the debate in the constituent assembly of the proposed federal structure of the Indian state? Explain.
India attained its freedom on 15 August, 1947. But it was also divided on this day into two parts viz India and Pakistan. It was marred by communal frenzy and communal riots. So like Jawaharlal Nehru, Dr. B.R. Ambedkar too propounded a strong Central Government for India. He referred to the riots and violence that were ripping the nation apart. Most of the members of the Constituent Assembly felt that a strong centre was the need of the hour. If it was not done, it would be infurious to national interests. A weak central authority would not be able to ensure peace, prosperity and political stability. It would fail to coordinate vital matters of common concern. That is why, Gopalaswami Ayyangar appealed to all the members of the Constituent Assembly that “the Centre should be made as strong as possible.” Similarly Balakrishna Sharma stated that only a strong and united centre could plan for the well-being of the country, mobilise all the available resource, ensure strong defence against any aggressor and establish a proper administration. Almost all the members realised that a strong central government was necessary to forestall chaos, stop communal riots and usher economic development of the country.
How did the Constituent Assembly seek to resolve the language controversy? Explain.
“Within the constituent Assembly of India the language issue was intensely debated.” Examine the views put forward by the members of the Assembly on this issue.
India is a vast country having different regions where different languages are spoken. So it
was quite natural that the Constituent Assembly discussed the intricate issue of language
for the newly-independent country. The discussion about the language problem generated
Hindustani : A choice of Congress and Gandhi. Before the independence of the country, the Congress had made up its mind to adopt Hindustani as the national language of the country. Mahatma Gandhi had also approved this decision. He was convinced that everyone should speak in a language which is understood by most of the common people. Hindustani was not a new language. It was a blend of Hindi and Urdu and was a popular language as it was spoken by most of the people of the country. It was a composite language because it was enriched by the interaction of diverse cultures. So it was well-understood by most of the people living in different regions of the country. It was in fact a multi-cultural language. Mahatma Gandhi considered Hindustani as an ideal language of communication between diverse communities. It could be a symbol of unity between the Hindus and the Muslims. It could also unite the people of the north with the people living in the south. Hindi was the language of the Hindus and Urdu was the language of the Muslims. But Hindustani, being a blend of these two languages, had a composite character. That is why, Mahatma Gandhi preferred it to be the national language of India.
Arguments in Support of Hindi : The case for Hindi was mostly pleaded by R.V. Dhulekar, a Congressman from the United Provinces. He wanted that Hindi should be used as the language of constitution-making. When he was told that all the members of the Constituent Assembly did not know Hindi, he felt infuriated and stated that those who did not know Hindustani were not worthy to be the members of the Constituent Assembly. He told such members to quit the Assembly. There was a commotion in the Assembly over his remarks. However the peace and order were restored due to the intervention of Jawaharlal Nehru.
Report of the Language Committee : The Language Committee of the Constituent Assembly suggested a compromise formula in its report. In order to resolve the deadlock over the issue of language, it advocated that Hindi in Devanagri script should be the official language of the country. It also suggested that transition from English to Hindi would be gradual. It stated that during the first fifteen years since the enforcement of the new constitution, English would continue to be used for all official purposes. In provinces, the governments will be free to choose one of the regional languages for their official work within the province. In other words, the Language Committee referred to Hindi as the official language and not the national language of India. However, Dhulekar wanted Hindi to be declared as the national language and not as an official language of the country.
Apprehensions of Members from the South : The members in the Constituent Assembly who hailed from the southern states considered Hindi as a threat to their provincial languages. Many suspicions were expressed by Mrs. G. Durgabai of Madras and Sh. Shankar Rao Dev from Bombay. T.A. Ramalingam Chettiar from Madras suggested that the issue of language should be handled with tact and caution. Hindi should not be aggressively thrust upon the southern people. In other words, the members from South India wanted that Hindi should not be forcefully imposed on them.