Celebrating ‘Smavidhan Divas’: A look at creation of India’s Constitution


Team Udayavani, Nov 26, 2023, 8:22 AM IST

Smavidhan Divas (Consitution Day), observed on November 26, is a tribute to the momentous occasion when the Indian Constitution was finalized by the Constituent Assembly in 1949. While this day marks the completion of the drafting process, it’s fascinating to explore why January 26 was chosen as the official commencement date for the Constitution of India.

Historical Significance:

The roots of Smavidhan Divas lie in the struggle for independence and the subsequent need for a guiding document that would embody the aspirations of a diverse nation. The constitution reflects the collective wisdom and aspirations of the people.

November 26, 1949, signifies the culmination of tireless efforts by the members of the Constituent Assembly to draft a comprehensive and inclusive constitution for the newly independent India. It’s a day to pay tribute to their foresight and commitment to building a just and democratic nation.

Key facts about the Constituent Assembly:

  • Constituent Assembly Members: Comprised 389 members – 292 from Provinces, 93 from Princely states, 3 from Chief Commissioner Provinces, and 1 from Baluchistan.
  • Inception: First meeting on December 9, 1946, with Dr. Sachhidanand Sinha as provisional President.
  • Leadership: Dr. Rajendra Prasad was elected Chairman on December 11, 1946. Dr. H.C. Mukherjee became Vice President. B.N. Rau served as a constitutional adviser.
  • Membership Shift: Reduced to 299 members after the withdrawal of Muslim League Members post India’s partition.
  • Women Members: 9 female members including Rajkumari Amrit Kaur, Hansa Mehta, Durgabai Deshmukh, Dakshayani Velayudhan, and G. Durgabai.
  • Objective Resolution: Presented by Jawaharlal Nehru on Dec 13, 1946, served as the guiding principle for the constitution.
  • Draft Constitution: B.N. Rau’s initial draft of the constitution. This was followed by a detailed version by the seven-member Drafting Committee chaired by Dr. B R Ambedkar.
  • Draft Finalization: The first draft was published in January 1948. In the next 8 months, it was extensively discussed and debated. Each article and word was minutely scrutinised.
  • Adoption: The draft constitution was finally adopted on November 26, 1949, with the major part coming into effect on January 26, 1950. Certain provisions such as Election, Citizenship, Provisional Parliament, etc took effect immediately.
  • Republic Day: January 26, 1950, marked the commencement of the Indian Constitution, with the Constituent Assembly serving as India’s provisional parliament till 1952’s general elections

Why January 26, 1950?

On January 26, 1930, the Indian National Congress called for Complete Independence (Purna Swaraj) instead of Dominion Status, inspiring the selection of this date for the official commencement of the Indian Constitution.

In 1929, Lord Irwin, the Viceroy of India, vaguely proposed dominion status for India in what became known as the Irwin Declaration. Indian leaders, long advocating for this status, shifted focus to formalizing it in negotiations with the British.

However, the declaration faced opposition in England, leading Lord Irwin to retract promises of imminent dominion status during a meeting with Indian leaders, including Jinnah, Nehru, Gandhi, and Sapru. This prompted the Indian National Congress to abandon its demand for dominion status, adopting instead the ‘Purna Swaraj’ resolution at the 1929 Lahore Session, calling for complete independence.

“The Constitution of India was enacted and adopted by the Constituent Assembly on 26th November 1949, which we now celebrate as Constitution Day. But it was made effective two months later. This was done to mark that day in 1930 when India resolved to win complete freedom. From 1930 to 1947, every year 26th January was celebrated as ‘Purna Swaraj Day’, and that was the day chosen to put the Constitution into force,” said Hon’ble President of India Shri Ram Nath Kovind in his address to the Nation by the on the eve of the Republic Day 2022.

Did you know? 

  •  The calligraphy of the original Constitution of India was meticulously done by Prem Behari Narain Raizada, a distinguished calligrapher.
  • The document is not just a legal text but also an artistic masterpiece, adorned with illustrations by Nandalal Bose.

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