'Absent' words in R-Day ad trigger row

'Absent' words in R-Day ad trigger row

'Absent' words in R-Day ad trigger row

Absence of the words “secular” and “socialist” from the preamble of the Constitution, used in a customary advertisement by the Centre, has created a controversy.

The advertisement, issued by the Information and Broadcasting (I&B) Ministry on the occasion of Republic Day, used an image of the preamble of the Indian Constitution in the background.

It stated, “We, the people of India, having solemnly resolved to constitute India into a Sovereign Democratic Republic...”The preamble, changed through the 42nd Amendment to the Constitution, however, begins: “We, the people of India, having solemnly resolved to constitute India into a Sovereign Socialist Secular Democratic Republic...”

The advertisement appeared in newspapers on January 26, triggering a controversy. While the images went viral on social media, the Congress criticised the government for issuing such an advertisement.

Sources in the ministry, however, described the controversy as “unnecessary”, maintaining that the first preamble of the Constitution was used as the background “to honour the fathers of the Constitution”.

“At a time when the people of India, and even the global community, have genuine apprehensions about the secular character of the Indian democracy, which stands threatened by a right-wing government formed with less than one-third of the popular votes, this omission is utterly condemnable,” said an online petition posted on the website “India Resists”.

“Secularism has been pivotal to post-Independence India, binding all communities together as equal citizens. Similarly, the word 'socialist' was added to emphasise the social commitments of the state in a country like India,” it added.

“These two values are non-negotiable, and any attempt to dilute them would face strong resistance. We condemn the I&B Ministry and demand an apology from the government for this mischievous advertisement on Republic Day,” said the petition.

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