National Law Day — also known as Samvidhan Divas — is celebrated in India on November 26 every year to commemorate the adoption of the Constitution of India. Constitution Day is not a public holiday. However, government departments and schools across the country acknowledge the day with various events and activities. As per the Department of Education and Literacy, the Constitution’s preamble is read in all schools by all students. Also, there are online and offline quizzes and essay competitions on the subject. The Department of Higher Education also requests various universities to arrange mock parliamentary college debates.
History of National Law Day
On November 26, 1949, the Constituent Assembly of India formally adopted the Constitution of India. It came into force on January 26, 1950. Constitution Day aims to bring awareness about the importance of the Constitution and Dr. B R Ambedkar. Bhimrao Ramji Ambedkar, chairman of the drafting committee, is considered the chief architect of the Constitution of India. He is also called the Father of the Indian Constitution. The members of the Constituent Assembly drafted the Constitution of India.
The Constitution is a set of written principles and precedents of the Government of India. It frames fundamental political principles, procedures, rights, directive principles, restrictions, and duties of the government and the country’s citizens. The Constitution of India declares the country a sovereign, secular, socialist, and democratic republic. It assures its citizen’s equality, liberty, and justice.
The preamble is a brief statement that records the aims and aspirations of the people of India. The Constitution of India 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 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 twenty-sixth day of November 1949, do hereby adopt, enact and give to ourselves this constitution.”
From 1947 to 1950, India continued to use the legislation implemented when it was a dominion of Britain. In the meantime, the Constituent Assembly drafted the Constitution of India, which would replace the Government of India Act, 1935, as the country’s fundamental governing document. The Constitution was drawn from several sources, while India’s needs and conditions were paramount. B R Ambedkar studied the Constitutions of over 60 countries before drafting the Constitution of India. Now, various programs are held by ministries and departments throughout the year to spread thoughts and ideas of Ambedkar across the country.
How to Observe National Law Day
- Read up on India’s Constitution
- The formation of Independent India’s Constitution is an important part of history. It is the nation’s brickwork after independence from the British in 1947. If you’re Indian, now is a great time to brush up on the country’s principles, and if you’re not Indian, it’s great to be informed about the most populous democracy in the world. As the Constitution states, people must have the right to liberty of thought, expression, belief, faith, worship, and equal opportunity. This is an important reminder when voting for leaders of the country to make an informed vote.
- Understand who BR Ambedkar was
- Like many great leaders who have partaken in India’s independence, Bhimrao Ramji Ambedkar was one of them because he was considered the chief architect of the Constitution of India. He also led a very interesting life and was known as a scholar who tirelessly advocated for Dalit’s political rights and social freedom. On National Law Day, read up about him and his work.
- Participate in an essay competition
- Various scholarly events happen across India on National Law Day to honor the country’s Constitution. If you attend high school or university, consider entering an essay competition on your topic of choice about the day and what it means to India. If writing isn’t your thing, look for a debating team and speak it out!
5 Amazing Facts About B.R Ambedkar
- He earned doctorates
- Ambedkar was a prolific student, earning doctorates in economics from both Columbia University and the University of London and gaining a reputation as a scholar for his research in law, economics, and political science.
- He inspired a movement
- Ambedkar was a politician and social reformer who inspired the Dalit Buddhist movement and campaigned against social discrimination towards the untouchables (Dalits) while supporting women’s and labor rights.
- He converted to Buddhism
- In 1956, Ambedkar converted to Buddhism, initiating mass conversions of Dalits.
- He was born poor
- Ambedkar was born into a poor low Mahar (Dalit) caste, who were treated as untouchables and subjected to socio-economic discrimination.
- He broke barriers
- In 1897, Ambedkar’s family moved to Mumbai, where Ambedkar became the only untouchable enrolled at Elphinstone High School — Ambedkar also entered Elphinstone College, which was affiliated with the University of Bombay, becoming the first from his Mahar caste to do so.
Why National Law Day is Important
- It is moving
- On November 25, 1949, the day before the Constituent Assembly ended its proceedings, BR Ambedkar made a moving speech. It ended with three warnings for the future. The first was regarding the place of popular protest in a democracy. “One must abandon the methods of civil disobedience, non-cooperation and satyagraha,” he said. The second warning dealt with the unthinking submission to charismatic authority. “Bhakti in religion may be the road to salvation of a soul. But in politics, bhakti or hero-worship is a sure road to degradation and to eventual dictatorship,” Ambedkar said. His final warning was that Indians should not be content with political democracy as inequality and hierarchy were still embedded in Indian society. “If we continue to deny it (equality) for long, we will do so only by putting our political democracy in peril.”
- Everybody learns the Constitution
- The Constitution of India is now understandable for every Indian, no matter what language or dialect they speak. The Ministry of External Affairs directed all overseas Indian schools to celebrate November 26 as Constitution Day and directed embassies to translate the Constitution into the local language of that nation and distribute it to various academies, libraries, and faculties of Indology. There are, officially, over 22 languages spoken in India.
- It’s a reminder of the nation
- India, as a democratic nation, has outlined the rights of its citizens in the Constitution, which should always be followed accordingly. Therefore, citizens must know their rights, which is extremely important when voting for leaders and ministers in the country and states.