What is the Preamble of the Indian Constitution?

You must have heard about the term “Preamble of the Indian constitution” many times while studying Politics.

In this article, we will extensively cover all the major aspects of the Preamble to the Indian Constitution and understand why it is so important.

What is Preamble?

The term ‘preamble’ refers to the introduction or preface to the Constitution. It is an introductory text that contains the summary or the essence of the Constitution.

Text of the Preamble of the Indian constitution.

Preamble of the Indian Constitution in its present form reads:

WE, THE PEOPLE OF INDIA, having solemnly resolved to constitute India into a SOVEREIGN SOCIALIST SECULAR DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC and to secure to all its citizens:

JUSTICE, social, economic and political;

LIBERTY of thought, expression, belief, faith and worship;

EQUALITY of status and of opportunity; and to promote among them all

FRATERNITY assuring the dignity of the individual and the unity and integrity of the Nation;

IN OUR CONSTITUENT ASSEMBLY this 26th day of November, 1949, do HEREBY ADOPT, ENACT AND GIVE TO OURSELVES THIS CONSTITUTION.

Preamble of Indian Constitution
source: Wikipedia

Components Of the Preamble of the Indian Constitution.

1. Source of authority of the Indian Constitution: The Preamble states that the Constitution derives its authority from the people of India.

2. Nature of Indian State: It declares India to be a socialist, secular, secular, democratic and republican nation.

3. Objectives of the Indian Constitution: It states that the constitution has objectives of Justice, liberty, equality, and fraternity.

4. Date of Adoption of the Indian Constitution: It mentions November 26, 1949, as the date of adoption of the Indian Constitution.

Some Facts related to Preamble.

1. The Preamble to the Indian Constitution is based on the ‘Objectives Resolution’ which was drafted and moved by Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru on December 13, 1946, and was adopted by the constituent assembly on January 22, 1947.

2. The preamble is an integral part of our Constitution.

3. The preamble has been amended by the 42nd Constitutional Amendment Act (1976), which added three new words namely – socialist, secular and integrity.

4. The American Constitution was the first to begin with a Preamble. Both the American and the Indian Preamble begins with WE, THE PEOPLE.

5. The preamble-page, along with other pages of the original Constitution of India, was designed and decorated solely by renowned painter Beohar Rammanohar Sinha of Jabalpur (Image above).

Some must-read books on The Indian Constitution –

Introduction to the Constitution of India by D D Basu

The Indian Constitution: Cornerstone of A Nation (Classic Reissue) by Austin Granville

Indian Polity by M. Laxmikanth

Important terms in the Preamble of the Indian Constitution.

Following are the most important terms in the preamble:

Sovereign

Sovereign means the independent authority of a State. It means that it has the power to legislate on any subject; and that it is not subject to the control of any other State or external power.

India is a sovereign country and no external power can dictate the government of India about its functions.

India is externally free from the control of any foreign power and internally, it has a free government that is directly elected by the people from the people itself and makes laws that govern the people.

Socialist

The term socialist as used in the preamble refers to democratic socialism which is the achievement of socialist goals through democratic, evolutionary and non-violent means.

It is an economic philosophy where means of production and distribution are owned by the State thus emphasizing social equality.

India has adopted a system of a mixed economy where the public and private sector co-exists.

Secular

Secular means that the State is neither allied with nor against any particular religion.

In other words, Indian State has no particular religion and all persons will be equally entitled to the freedom of conscience and the right freely to profess, practice and propagate the religion of their choice. (SR Bommai and Others v Union of India, AIR 1994 SC 1918).

Democratic

The word ‘democratic’ not only refers to political but also to social & economic democracy.

The people of India elect their governments by a system of universal adult franchise, popularly known as “one person one vote”. Every citizen of India 18 years of age and above and not otherwise debarred by law is entitled to vote.

The government is elected by the people, from the people, and for the people.

Republic

In a republican form of government, the head of state is elected directly or indirectly, for a fixed tenure.

This is contrary to the monarchy system of government where the head of the state is appointed on the hereditary basis for a lifetime or until he abdicates from the throne.

Thus, this word denotes a government where no one holds public power as a proprietary right. India has a President who is elected and has a fixed term of office.

Justice

India seeks to ensure social, economic and political justice to ensure equality to its citizens.

(i) Social Justice:

Social Justice means the absence of socially privileged classes in the society and no discrimination against any citizen on grounds of caste, creed, color, religion, gender or place of birth. India stands for eliminating all forms of exploitation from society.

(ii) Economic Justice:

Economic Justice means no discrimination between man and woman on the basis of income, wealth and economic status. It stands for equitable distribution of wealth, economic equality, the end of monopolistic control over means of production and distribution, decentralization of economic resources, and the securing of adequate opportunities to all for earning their living.

(iii) Political Justice:

Political justice means equal, free and fair opportunities to the people for participation in the political process. It stands for the grant of equal political rights to all the people without discrimination. The Constitution of India provides for a liberal democracy in which all the people have the right and freedom to participate.

Liberty

The idea of Liberty refers to the freedom of the activities of Indian nationals. It implies the absence of restraints or domination on the activities of an individual such as freedom from slavery, imprisonment, etc.

However, liberty does not mean freedom to do anything, and it must be exercised within the constitutional limits.

Equality

Equality means that no section of the society enjoys special privileges and individuals are provided with adequate opportunities without any discrimination.

The Preamble provides for equality of status and opportunity to all the people of the country. Here, the constitution provides social, economic and political equality to all the citizens. All are equal before the law.

Fraternity

Fraternity means a feeling of brotherhood and a sense of belonging with the country among all the citizens of the State. It leaves no room for regionalism, communalism, casteism, etc., which hinders the unity of the State.

The Preamble declares that fraternity has to assure two things—the dignity of the individual and the unity and integrity of the nation. The word ‘integrity’ has been added to the Preamble by the 42nd Constitutional Amendment (1976).

Amendments in Preamble of the Indian Constitution

The Preamble was amended by the 42nd Constitutional Amendment Act 1976, which added three new words namely – socialist, secular and integrity. The Preamble has been amended only once till now.

Hence, the Preamble of the Indian constitution is a powerful piece of text that contains the basic ideals, objectives and the grand and noble vision of the Constituent Assembly. It reflects the vision and aspirations of the founding fathers of the Constitution which embodies the political, moral and religious fundamental values, on which the constitution is based.

Info-graphic

preamble of Indian Constitution

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