After Successful ‘Tiranga’ Campaign, PM Modi Should Take Initiative To Popularize The Constitution

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PM Narendra Modi bowing to the Constitution at a function in New Delhi in 2019. (courtesy: Twitter).

After popularizing ‘tiranga’, the national flag, PM Modi should take an initiative to popularize the Constitution among the masses with a view to empowering the people. The Constitution, which is the foundation of Indian Republic, tells us our rights and responsibilities towards the nation.

Syed Khalique Ahmed

NEW DELHI—Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s appeal for “Har Ghar Tiranga” (tricolour in every house) elicited an excellent response. Schools and educational institutions, apart from political parties, took out ‘tiranga’ rallies in their vicinity, reminding people of the importance of the national flag. People hoisted the national flag atop their houses and buildings. All the market areas, particularly in the national capital, were seen decked up with the national flag on Independence Day to give a festive look to the occasion. Whether one agrees or not, such a display of the national flag at a mass level was not witnessed, at least, in the last few decades. 

Every Indian citizen loves the national flag as a symbol and honour of the nation though many of them may not be displaying it in their houses and buildings. However, it does not mean that a citizen is not patriotic or he is less nationalist than anyone else if he does not hoist the flag. But the people in huge numbers this year took to hoisting the national flag on their houses and business places which was an initiative of the Ministry of Culture to mark Azadi ka Amrit Mahotsav. 

Taken as a whole, the event was largely symbolic. But its importance cannot be underemphasized even if it was tokenism. Many newspapers covered details of how the ‘tiranga’ was designed, who designed it and why it was chosen as a national flag over many other designs, including the saffron flag, suggested at that time. India’s first prime minister Pandit Jawahar Lal Nehru appealed to people not to give a communal angle to the flag simply because it was designed by a Muslim. He said it is a symbol of national honour and pride for every Indian. It represents national integrity. Another important thing about the national flag is that it was designed by a woman.

I have an appeal to make with PM Modi. This is about launching a similar campaign to create awareness among the masses about the Indian Constitution. In 2019, he called the Constitution a ‘ holy book’. People may differ with him on calling the Constitution a ‘holy book’ because in Indian culture people generally refer to religious scriptures as ‘holy book’. Moreover, a ‘holy book’ is not subject to amendment while the Constitution has been amended several times keeping in view the changing requirement. But it would not be wrong if the Constitution is termed a ‘national book’. I don’t think anybody would have any objection to this title for the Constitution.

Why I am suggesting the PM take an initiative about popularizing the Constitution is that there is very little awareness among the masses about the contents of this ‘national book’. The Constitution drafted by the Constituent Assembly headed by Dr. B R Ambedkar contains details about the fundamental rights of Indian citizens and also their duties towards the nation. Constitution tells us that people are ruled by law, not by men. This is the basic principle in democracy. It tells us that the law is sovereign, not any individual, no matter what is his position in the government. Hence, proper knowledge of the Constitution for every Indian citizen is important because the very foundation of the Indian Republic stands on the Constitution.

The reading of the Constitution, at least, once a year should be made compulsory for every citizen to remind him of his fundamental rights guaranteed in the Constitution and the duties placed on him towards the nation. For those who are not literate and cannot read, arrangements must be made for them in their localities for reading out the Preamble of the Constitution and the fundamental rights given in the Constitution so that every citizen can know, at least, his or her fundamental rights enshrined in the Constitution. It is the Constitution that has united the country having a plethora of languages, religions, and cultures.

The reading out of the Preamble of the Constitution that summarizes the principles of the Constitution needs to be made mandatory during prayer hours in all schools. This is important because children are more receptive to new ideas and thoughts. Once, the principles of the Constitution are ingrained in the minds of the people from childhood, it will become easy for the next generation to follow the laws and strengthen democracy.

What is there in the Preamble of the Constitution? The preamble declares India as a “sovereign, socialist, secular, democratic republic” to secure all its citizens social, economic, and political justice, liberty of thought, expression, belief, faith, and worship, to promote equality of status and opportunity, and fraternity to assure the dignity of every individual and the unity and integrity of the nation.

As an Indian citizen, I appeal to the PM to celebrate January 2023 as the month of the Constitution and celebrate January 26 as the concluding day of the celebration because it was on January 26, 1949, that India adopted its Constitution.

The first time the Constitution was popularized among masses by reading out its preamble was during the protest against Citizenship Amendment Act 2019 by women activists all over the country. Quoting from the Constitution, women activists boldly said that CAA-2019 was anti-Constitutional and must be withdrawn lock, stock, and barrel. Though the government has so far not withdrawn the law, it has also not been implemented because of a four-month-long protest against it. The women, who led the protest all over the country, had knowledge of the Constitution. If Constitution is popularized, people from weaker sections and those coming from backward areas can fight to protect their rights whenever they feel there is any violation of their rights from political classes, public servants, or even private parties. Spreading the knowledge of the Constitution will go a long way in empowering the people.

Will the PM listen to the request?

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