Morality Part 3: Inception of Independent India

G. L. Batra, Writer & formerly Addl. Secretary, Indian Parliament and Chairman, Public Service Commission of the Indian State of Haryana

Image Credit: Wikipedia

Ultimately India became free on the midnight of 14th/15th August as it was said that 15th August was astrologically an inauspicious day. After this the sun of the British Empire set on India forever and the foreign yoke was thrown off. Finally, India, the caged golden sparrow in distress was set free, though with its wings damaged and clipped.

It would be worthwhile to mention here, the words spoken by Dr. Sachchidananda Sinha, Provisional Chairman of the Constituent Assembly, in 1946:

“I wish your labours success, and invoke Divine blessings that your proceedings may be marked not only by good sense, public spirit, and genuine patriotism, but also by wisdom, toleration, justice, and fairness to all; and above all with a vision which may restore India to her pristine glory, and give her a place of honour and equality amongst the great nations of the world[1].”

Dr. Rajendra Prasad, affectionately known as ‘Rajen Babu’ also made a speech on 15th Aug 1947 in the Constituent Assembly. He said[2],

“Let us resolve to create conditions in this country –

when every individual will be free and provided with the wherewithal to develop and rise to his fullest stature;

when poverty and squalor and ignorance and ill health will have vanished;

when the distinction between high and low, between rich and poor, will have disappeared;

when religion will not only be professed and preached and practiced freely but will have become a cementing force for binding man to man and not serve as a disturbing and disrupting force dividing and separating;

when untouchability will have been forgotten like an unpleasant night dream;

when exploitation of man by man will have ceased;

when facilities and special arrangements will have been provided for the adimjatis of India and for all others who are backward, to enable them to catch up to others;

when this land will have not only enough food to feed its teeming millions but will once again have become a land flowing with rivers of milk;

when men and women will be laughing and working for all they are worth in fields and factories;

when every cottage and hamlet will be humming with the sweet music of village handicrafts and maids will be busy with them and singing to their tune;

when the sun and the moon will be shining on happy homes and loving faces.”

In this speech, he referred to the Indian citizens expressing his desires, dreams, aspirations and objects.

India’s esteemed leader and the first Prime Minister of India, Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru was among those who aspired for a free and prosperous India. He had imbibed tremendous courage and conviction of his beliefs. With the full blessings of the father of the nation, Mahatma Gandhi, Nehru rose in stature. The following extract is part of the historic speech he delivered on the eve of independence:

“Long years ago we made a tryst with destiny, and now the time comes when we shall redeem our pledge, not wholly or in full measure, but very substantially. At the stroke of the midnight hour, when the world sleeps, India will awake to life and freedom.

A moment comes, which comes rarely in history, when we step out from the old to the new, when an age ends, and when the soul of nation, long suppressed, finds utterance.”

It is fitting that at this solemn moment we take the pledge of dedication to the service of India and her people, and to the still large cause of humanity[3].

From the noble sentiments expressed through the oratory of our illustrious leaders, it is apparent that whatever Constitution they aspired to draft, they expected all citizens to duly abide by the same in letter and spirit. In fact, our Constitution, when it was completed, was truly of the people, by the people and for the people.

A Constitution is necessary for the governance of the state consisting of its citizens. It is a body of fundamental principles and established precedents according to which a state is governed. It has to take into consideration various essential factors, which are necessary such as caste, creed, social requirements and needs of the population of the country.

The framers of our Constitution consisted of people from varied fields. Among them were eminent jurists, famous diplomats and internationally recognized leaders, educationists of eminence, social workers, competent administrators and freedom fighters. They had varied, vivid and rich experience and were masters in their own fields. They had struggled hard to obtain freedom displaying rare courage while managing to discard the foreign yoke and had also made great sacrifices in the process. Conscious of the sufferings and aspirations and needs of Mother India’s vast population, they were sanguine, having faith in the great future of our Country.

The Indian Constitution, which is a written Constitution, is unique in its length and contains various provisions, which our founding fathers incorporated, applying the best of their wisdom, experience and foresight. Every provision was debated in great detail. They struggled hard to draft it and designed it for the governance of our complex society consisting of different castes, creeds, regions, varied interests and different languages and constituting the second-largest population of the world. Their dreams were high and ambitious and they aimed to fulfill the needs of their people who had suffered badly at the hands of tyrannical foreign rulers.

Laws, however, cannot be imposed upon the people; they can at best be enforced. If the law is violated, the violator can be punished after being given a due opportunity of defense. But it is people’s notions of morality, and their conscience, which, apart from the fear of punishment, prevents them from violating the law. It is unacceptable that we Indians, who traditionally have strong moral and ethical values, should forget our prime duty, which is to abide by the provisions of our Constitution and the laws framed under it.

Non-adherence to laws and their circumvention for personal benefit, or because of intolerance and lack of restraint leads to a situation wherein multiplicity of litigation, and legislation results, taking us to a complex situation wherein the dictum of jurisprudence “ignorantia legis neminem excusat”, ignorance of the law is no excuse, pales into insignificance. This ultimately leads to delay in delivery of justice. Delay in justice causes the worse type of mental worry. The Supreme Court of India of India very philosophically and profoundly remarked in,’Smt. Triveniben v. State of Gujarat’[4]: “As between funeral fire and mental worry, it is the latter which is most devastating, for, funeral fire burns only the dead body while the mental worry burns the living one.”

This can be paraphrased by saying that mental worry is worse than the funeral fire, as the former burns the body slowly, and the latter quickly.

It is apt to mention a famous doha (couplet) as written by Kabir,

“Chintaa aisi Daakini, kaat kalejaa khaaye, Vaid becharaa kya kare kahan tak davaa lagaaye”

(Worry is such an evil, which cuts out and consumes a man’s heart, how far can a Doctor can administer medicines to one who is constantly worried).


To be continued……………

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[1] Constituent Assembly Debates  –  Official Reports, Vol. I, p 7, Lok Sabha Secretariat, 2nd Reprint 1989

[2] Ibid Vol V, p 21

[3] Ibid Vol V, p4

[4] AIR 1989 SC 1335 = [1989] 1 SCR 509