Preamble to the Constitution of India
Preamble to the Constitution of India is a brief introductory statement that sets out the guiding purpose and principles of the document, and it indicates the source from which the document derives its authority, meaning, the people. The hopes and aspirations of the people as well as the ideals before our nation are described in the preamble in clear words. It may be considered as the heart and soul of Constitution.
“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 of 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 26th day of November, 1949, do HEREBY ADOPT, ENACT AND GIVE TO OURSELVES THIS CONSTITUTION.”
Explanation to the terms used in our Preamble:
This word implies that India is neither a dependence nor a dominion of any other nation but an independent state. There is no authority above it, and it is free to conduct its own affairs (both internal and external). Being a sovereign state, India can either acquire a foreign territory or cede a part of its territory in favour of a foreign state.
Before the term was added by the 42nd Amendment in 1976, the Constitution had a socialist content in the form of certain Directive Principles of State Policy. The term socialist here means democratic socialism i.e. achievement of socialistic goals through democratic, evolutionary and non-violent means.
Secular means that the relationship between the government and the people which is determined according to constitution and law. By the 42nd Amendment in 1976, the term "Secular" was also incorporated in the Preamble. There is no difference of religion i.e. all religion are equally respected and moreover there is no state religion. All the citizens of India are allowed to profess, practise and propagate any religion. Explaining the meaning of secularism as adopted by India, Alexander Owics has written, "Secularism is a part of the basic of the Indian Constitution and it means equal freedom and respect for all religions.
The people of India elect their governments by a system of universal adult franchise; popularly known as "one man one vote". Every citizen of India, 18 years of age and above and not otherwise debarred by law, is entitled to vote.The word 'democratic' not only refers to political but also to social & economic democracy.
In a republic form of government, the head of the state is an elected person and not a heredity monarch . This word denotes a government where no one holds a public power as proprietary right . As opposed to a monarchy, in which the head of state is appointed on hereditary basis for a lifetime or until he abdicates from the throne, a democratic republic is an entity in which the head of state is elected, directly or indirectly, for a fixed tenure.
The term 'justice' in the Preamble embraces three distinct forms—social, economic and political, secured through various provisions of Fundamental Rights and Directive Principles. Social justice denotes the equal treatment of all citizens without any social distinction based on caste, colour, race, religion, sex and so on. It means absence of privileges being extended to any particular section of the society, and improvement in the conditions of backward classes (SCs, STs and OBCs) and women.
The term ‘liberty’ means the absence of restraints on the activities of individuals, and at the same time, providing opportunities for the development of individual personalities. The Preamble secures to all citizens of India liberty of thought, expression, belief, faith and worship, through their Fundamental Rights, enforceable in court of law, in case of violation.
This envisages that no section of the society enjoys special privileges and individuals are provided with adequate opportunities without any discrimination. All are equal in front of law. Again, there are three dimensions of Equality - Political, Economic & Civic.
Fraternity means a sense of brotherhood. The Constitution promotes this feeling of fraternity by the system of single citizenship. Also, the Fundamental Duties (Article 51-A) say that it shall be the duty of every citizen of India to promote harmony and the spirit of common brotherhood amongst all the people of India transcending religious, linguistic, regional or sectional diversities.