The Preamble of Indian Constitution
The Preamble is like an introduction or preface of a book.
The ‘Preamble’ provides the guidelines of the Constitution.
Terms used in the Preamble of Indian Constitution
It means absolute independence, i.e., a government which is not controlled by any other power: internal or external.
A country cannot have its own constitution without being sovereign.
India is a sovereign country and free to formulate its own foreign policy.
It is free from external control and it can frame its policies.
The word socialist was not there in the Preamble of the Constitution in its original form.
In 1976, the 42nd Amendment to the Constitution incorporated ‘Socialist’ and ‘Secular’, in the Preamble.
The word ‘Socialism’ had been used in the context of economic planning.
It signifies major role in the economy.
It also means a commitment to attain ideals like removal of inequalities, provision of minimum basic necessities to all, equal pay for equal work.
India is neither religious nor irreligious nor anti-religious.
Now, what does this imply?
It implies that in India there will be no ‘State’ religion – the ‘State’ will not support any particular religion out of the public fund.
This has two implications,
(1) every individual is free to believe in, and practice, any religion he/ she belongs to, and,
(2) The state will not discriminate against any individual or group on the basis of religion.
The Constitution belongs to the people of India.
The last line of the Preamble says ‘…. Hereby Adopt, Enact And Give To Ourselves This Constitution’.
In fact the Democratic principles of the country flow from this memorable last line of the Preamble.
Democracy is generally known as the government of the people, by the people and for the people.
Effectively this means that the Government is elected by the people, it is responsible and accountable to the people.
The democratic principles are highlighted with the provisions of universal adult franchise, elections, fundamental rights, and responsible government.
The Preamble also declares India as a Republic.
It means that the head of the State is the President who is indirectly elected and he is not a hereditary ruler as in the case of the British Monarch.
Justice, Liberty, and Equality
The struggle for freedom was not only against British rule but their struggle should also usher in an era of restoring the dignity of men and women, removal of poverty and end to all types of exploitation.
Such strong motivations and cherished ideals had prompted the framers to lay emphasis on the provisions of Justice, Liberty, and Equality to all the citizens of India.
Justice promises to give people what they are entitled to in terms of basic rights to food, clothing, housing, participation in the decision-making and living with dignity as human beings.
The Preamble of Indian Constitution covers all these dimensions of justice – social, economic and political.
Besides, the granting of political justice in the form of the universal adult franchise or the representative form of democracy.
The Preamble of the Indian Constitution also mentions about liberty of thought and expression.
The Fundamental Rights have guaranteed these freedoms in the Constitution.
Though freedom from want has not been guaranteed in the Fundamental Rights, certain directives to the State have been mentioned in the Directive Principles.
The Constitution makers placed the ideals of equality in a place of pride in the Preamble.
All kinds of inequality based on the concept of rulers and the ruled or on the basis of caste and gender were to be eliminated.
All citizens of India should be treated equally and extended equal protection of the law without any discrimination based on caste, creed, birth, religion, sex, etc.
Similarly, equality of opportunities implies that regardless of the socio-economic situations into which one is born, he/she will have the same chance as everybody else to develop his/her talents and choose means of livelihood.
Fraternity, Dignity, Unity, and Integrity
In the background of India’s multi-lingual, multi-cultural and multi-religious society and keeping in view the partition of the country, the framers of the Constitution were very much concerned about the unity and integrity of our newly independent country.
There was a need for harmonious co-existence among various religions, linguistic, cultural and economic groups.
Inclusion of phrases like ‘dignity of individuals’, ‘fraternity among people’ and ‘unity and integrity of the nation’ in the Preamble highlight such a need.