Indian Constitution for Dummies – The Preamble

A preamble is a preface or an introduction. The preamble to the Indian Constitution and is considered to be the most finely worded preamble.

The constitution of India is a big book which explains the structure of the Indian state, rights of the people, directives principles for the state, rights, liabilities and powers of the government… it basically is very lengthy and principled.

Let’s have a look at what it states.

It starts with the words We the people of India and ends with “adopt, enact and give to ourselves this constitution”. These words declare the ultimate sovereignty of the people of India. The preamble tells you that the Constitution is made by the people of India through their representatives. These representatives were collectively known as the Constituent Assembly.

It tells you the day on which the Constitution was adopted that is 26th November 1949. The republic day i.e. 26th January 1950 is the day on which the Constitution actually came into force.

The preamble narrates the Constitutional philosophy and principles in a gist. The preamble describes the nature of the Indian State and indicates the objectives the Constitution of India wishes to achieve. Sovereign, socialist, secular and democratic republic are the nature of the state or Government of India. Justice, liberty, equality, fraternity are the objectives.

Nature of the Indian State:

India is a Sovereign Nation. Sovereign means that it is an independent authority and is not controlled by any foreign power. It is free from any external control. It may be a member of organizations such as the commonwealth or United nations but that does not in any way affect its sovereignty.

India is a Socialist Nation. The word Socialist, as in it looks towards the establishment of socialism in the country. The word ‘Socialism’, implies “social ownership and democratic control of the means of production.” The word can be better understood when explained as an opposite of capitalism. In a capitalist economy, the country’s trade and industry are controlled by private owners for profit. Whereas in a socialist economy the trade and industry is controlled by the state. India is not a strictly
socialist economy. We have a blend of socialism and capitalism in the country and is a mixed economy.

India is a Secular Nation.The word secular means that the state protects all religions equally. The Indian State does not have uphold any specific religion nor does it have any official religion. The concept of secularism in the United States of America is a negative one, where the government does not interfere at all in religious affairs. The concept of secularism in India is a positive one, where all religions are treated equally. In a country like India, where there are numerous faiths, unity and fraternity can only be achieved through a secular state.

Democratic republic: Democracy is a form of government which is elected by the people of the country. So the ultimate power lies with the people. The word republic means that all power vests in the person that people chose and not in a hereditary king or queen.

These are the objectives that the Constitution seeks to achieve.

Justice: Political Justice is mainly concerned about giving equal opportunity for all in the political sphere. Equal opportunity to elect and contest.

Economic Justice means equal distribution of the national wealth. It means that economic exploitation should be ended.

Social Justice is a fundamental right. It means that all social discriminations such as the caste system, untouchability, gender discrimination must be ended.

Liberty: A citizen should be allowed to think and express his opinions freely. He or she has a right to express his opinion through words, art, peaceful demonstrations and so on. He may speak freely for or against the government. He or she has the liberty to move freely throughout the country. He or she should also be allowed to freely practice his faith and worship any God or no God. Democracy is hollow without the freedom of thought, expression, belief, faith and worship.

Equality: All are equal in the eyes of law. A man, woman or child. A Hindu, Muslim, Christian, Buddhist, Jain, or a person from any other religion. A Kashmiri, Keralite, Gujrathi, Rajasthani, Bengali or a Goan. All are equal in status irrespective of their religion, race, caste, sex, place of birth. And the state must ensure an equal opportunity for all.

Fraternity: literally means brotherhood. It is the objective of the constitution to generate a feeling of
brotherhood among all sections of the people. This is not independent of the earlier objectives. Only when the objectives of justice, liberty and equality are ensured to the people of India, the objective of fraternity will be realized.