On the eve of Republic Day this year, Mandakini Panda and Prithwik Mishra got married in Berhampur, Odisha taking their vows on the Indian Constitution. In Karnataka, guests at Kannada film actor Chetan and social activist Megha’s wedding were handed over copies of the Indian Constitution as the return gift.
‘The Constitution has become a best-seller, 70 years after it came into effect’ claims a Hindustan Times report. Across the country, copies of the Constitution are flying off the shelves and attention is being drawn to it symbolically and otherwise. Indeed, we in the CADindia team noticed a 60% increase in user traffic to our website in January 2020. It appears that Indians are now creatively invoking the Constitution’s ideals and values in the public sphere and claiming ownership over India's founding text.
Academics and political observers like Suhas Palshikar see these recent developments in a positive light. Palshikar believes this can lead to the emergence of a ‘common platform’ that promotes dialogue and conversations among India’s diverse sectarian and identity groups - something that has never existed until now.
A day before the Constituent Assembly adopted the Constitution, BR Ambedkar said:
I feel, however good a Constitution may be, it is sure to turn out bad because those who are called to work it, happen to be a bad lot. However bad a Constitution may be, it may turn out to be good if those who are called to work it, happen to be a good lot. The working of a Constitution does not depend wholly upon the nature of the Constitution. The Constitution can provide only the organs of State such as the Legislature, the Executive and the Judiciary. The factors on which the working of those organs of the State depend are the people and the political parties they will set up as their instruments to carry out their wishes and their politics. Who can say how the people of India and their purposes or will they prefer revolutionary methods of achieving them?
Ambedkar wanted the people and political parties to play an important role in the Constitution's working. Are Indians finally accepting this responsibility?
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