Republic Day 2020: How the illustrations in the original Constitution depict the rich cultural history of India
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Republic Day 2020: How the illustrations in the original Constitution depict the rich cultural history of India

Bar & Bench

Every year, Republic Day is celebrated to honour the day the Constitution of India came into effect. Even as we enter into our seventy-first year as a Republic, the erosion of constitutional values is being lamented on the streets.

It would seem that seven decades on, the words of Dr. BR Ambedkar still hold true:

“Constitutional morality is not a natural sentiment. It has to be cultivated. We must realise that our people have yet to learn it.”

Handwritten - Constitution of India
Handwritten - Constitution of India

In these times of divisiveness, it would serve well to remind ourselves of the idea of India that the Constitution framers had in mind. And this idea is depicted through the illustrations contained in the original document.

The illustrations take us on a journey through India’s culture and history, the remnants of which are reflected in the vast diversity of our people.

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Part I: States and Union Territories (Decoration with Mohenjodaro seals)

Part II: Citizenship [Scene from Vedic Asram (Gurukul)]

Part III: Fundamental Rights [Scene from the Ramayana (Conquest of Lanka and recovery of Sita by Rama)]

Part IV: Directive Principles of State Policy [Scene from Mahabharata (Srikrishna propounding Gita to Arjuna)]

Part V: The Union (Scene from Buddha's life)

Note: The names of the Parts of the original Constitution have been altered through various amendments over the years.

Part VI: The States in Part A of the First Schedule (Scene from Mahavir's life)

Part VII: The States in Part B of the First Schedule (Scene depicting the spread of Buddhism by Emperor Asoka in India and abroad)

Part VIII: The States in Part C of the First Schedule (Scene from Gupta Art)

Part IX: The Territories in Part D of the First Schedule and other Territories (Scene from Vikramaditya's Court)

Part X: The Scheduled and Tribal Areas (Scene depicting Nalanda University)

Part XI: Relations between the Union and the States (Scene from Orissan Sculptures)

Part XII: Finance, Property, Contracts and Suits (Image of Nataraja)

Part XIII: Trade, Commerce, and Intercourse within the territory of India [Scene from Mahabalipuram sculptures (Bhaghirath's penance and the descent of Ganga)]

Part XIV: Services under the Union and the States (Portrait of Akbar with Mughal Architecture)

Part XV: Elections (Portraits of Shivaji and Guru Govind Singh)

Part XVI: Special Provisions relating to certain classes (Portraits of Tipu Sultan and Lakshmi Bai)

Part XVII: Official Language [Portrait of the Father of the Nation (Gandhiji's Dandi March)

Part XVIII: Emergency Provisions (Bapuji the Peacemaker - his tour in the riot affected areas of Naokhali)

Part 18
Part 18

Part XIX: Miscellaneous (Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose and other patriots trying to liberate India from outside India)

Part XX: Amendment of the Constitution (Scene of the Himalayas)

Part XXI: Temporary, and transitional provisions (Scene of the Desert)

Part XXII: Short title, commencement, and repeals (Scene of the Ocean)

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