WE, THE PEOPLE OF INDIA…

 

BY E. Z. KHOBRAGADE
(IAS - Retd., Founder - Sanvidhan Foundation & Founder President of MOF )

We were very impressed with the drawings/paintings of a young tribal boy, Atram of Aheri District Gadchiroli. This was one of the reasons; he got the job in Zilla Parishad, as Peon.

Zilla Parishad takes up various awakening programs to reach to the people. Atram was asked to paint the walls owned by Zilla Parishad. He did the best job. I then asked him, can he make print of the Preamble of Indian Constitution in its original form? He did it. The same was displaced outside the chamber of Chief Executive Officer, Zilla Parishad for the knowledge of visitors.

Since then, I was seriously thinking to introduce the concept and launch campaign for Constitution literacy from schools. The same remained unfulfilled due to sudden transfer. In fact, this was my second inning of Gadchiroli district in 2003-04, for 14 months. My first posting as Dy.Collector and Sub Divisional Officer Aheri was during January 1984 to June 1989 for long period of five and half years. It was very inspiring and satisfying to work for tribes-madias-Bada-madias. This was the best & memorable time of my career and life, despite naxal’s terrorising & disruptive activities in Gadchiroli district.

From the post of Director Vanamati Nagpur, I was shifted as CEO Zilla Parishad Nagpur in December 2004. The said Atram of Aheri met me again at Nagpur with the handmade print of Preamble. I put outside CEO’s chamber. This reminded me of the concept of launching Campaign for Recital of Preamble from schools. I discussed this concept with colleagues and the officials of education department. While touring, I used to visit schools, sometimes attend school assembly to listen, what is being said in prayer? I asked teachers and education officers whether they know anything about the Preamble of Indian Constitution! Answer was negative. Again asked, how do they know “Jan-Gan-Man”, “Vande Mataram, Bharat Maza Desh Aahe” etc. Answer was, they learnt all this from school days. The obvious reason for not knowing “Preamble” was not having practiced in Schools.

We all know, In Constituent Assembly, our Constitution has been adopted, enacted and given to ourselves on 26th November 1949. It is golden day in the history of making constitution of India. The Preamble begins with the words “We, the people of India”. On 26th January 1950, Constitution has come in force, since then we have been celebrating 26th January as Republic day.

As Dr.Babasaheb Ambedkar resounded in the Constituent Assembly, “I say that the Preamble embodies the desire of every member of the House that this Constitution should have its roots, its authority, its sovereignty from the people. That it has”. The preamble to the Indian Constitution states the social philosophy i.e. Liberty, Equality and Fraternity as the principles of life. Therefore, we must make our political democracy a social democracy.

With this view, we initiated this innovative program called “Sanvidhan Olakh” ie “Recital of Preamble” everyday at the time of assembly in all the schools of Nagpur district in 2005. The object was to imbibe in the minds of school going children the basic ideals of Indian Constitution and to make them aware of the fundamental rights & fundamental duties. Our aim was to promote the patriotic feeling among children from the school days .Now,it is our aim to inculcate spirit of our Constitutional philosophy in minds of people.

This Campaign is very simple. Writing or displaying Preamble on the wall of school building and reciting together every day at the time of school prayer is the methodology. It requires only two minutes to read. This was in addition to what was being practiced earlier in schools. Without any scheme and without any fund allocation, we made this campaign successful in Nagpur district in all the 2753 schools in 2005, with participation of about 07 lac students & hundreds of teachers. This is first of its kind in the country. 

 

Preamble reading at Z.P. Girls School, Nagpur (CEO, E.Z.Khobragade, IAS, Karajgaokar, E.O.):

The same program, I started in Wardha district in 2006, as District Collector. Having been constantly followed up with then Minister, school education (shri.Vasant Purke), the “Preamble Recital” in all the schools of Maharashtra State began from academic year 2007.The Preamble was also printed in school books. Now, around 2 crore students recite the preamble every day. This is, of course, the first step to know the opening page of the Constitution. Then, to understand the meaning of each word of preamble and to empower ourselves to abide by the Constitution & respect its ideals and institutions as our fundamental duty, given in Article 51-A.

We further followed up with authorities in State Govt. to declare 26th November as ‘Sanvidhan Divas’.  Maharashtra Govt. vide GAD’s GR dated 24th November 2008 took historical decision to celebrate 26th November as Sanvidhan Divas. Now, there is mass reading of Preamble  in Govt/semi Govt./corporations /boards offices, also schools/colleges . This is required to reach to villages and every family. Every office must have Preamble, displayed in front view of buildings .Every citizen should have Preamble in his/her house and read daily to understand Constitution. Well-coordinated and combined efforts by state govt., panchayat raj institutions, local bodies with active participation of NGOs, SHGs, Youth/social organizations,unions/associations, People’s representatives will help in establishing the “Sanvidhan Sanskruti” in Country. “Preamble” should be our Constitution Song i.e Sanvidhan Geet.  

We all admit that our Constitution is our Rashtriya-Granth. We also admit the fact that many educated people are not aware of the Preamble as well the fundamental rights/duties and safeguards provided in Indian Constitution. The common man is ignorant about the Constitution because no efforts have been earlier made in past. But now, the school children, parents, teachers as well the officials/non-officials & citizens understand the Constitutional ideals and principals. The Constitutional awareness is reaching to every home of school going children through this campaign.  

This being entirely new, innovative and replicable program, as District Collector Wardha, I had submitted proposal to Secretary GAD Govt. Of Maharashtra under “Rajeev Gandhi Prashaskiya Gatimanta (Pragati) Abhiyan and Spardha” in 2007. But state committee did not accept it. Anyway, as civil servant, I feel happy for having done little service to Constitution and its maker Dr.Babasaheb Ambedkar. I must admit that our Constitution gave me inspiration, strength, opportunity and authority to serve the common man.

Now, it is a time to make this National campaign to create awareness about the Constitutional ideals and its principles & institutions. We have been trying in this direction. This awareness would certainly help to promote fraternity among all and uphold the unity and integrity of the Nation. Abiding Constitution and respecting its ideals and institutions would build a strong, developed and prosperous India. This would be true tribute to the great patriot, Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar, Father of Indian Constitution.

(E.Z. Khobragade is a retired IAS officer who has worked at various posts such as SDO, CEO, Collector in government services. He has worked diligently to inform citizens about various government schemes. Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar and his writings have been a major inspiration for him through all these years.)

 

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