Republic Day: Men who drafted the Constitution

Republic Day: The men who drafted the Constitution

'By the people, for the people, of the people'

The Constitution of India

'By the people, for the people, of the people'.

The Constitution of India is the foremost law of India that guides the judiciary of the country and binds the entirety of the nation with its regulations. The 'Sovereign Socialist Secular Democratic Republic' India with a parliamentary system of government is governed in terms of the omnipotent Constitution. 

As the nation's fundamental governing document, it was adopted by the Constituent Assembly of India on 26 November 1949 and became effective on 26 January 1950. The Constitution replaced the Government of India Act, 1935. 

India achieved independence on August 15, 1947, and on August 29, a drafting committee was appointed to frame the Constitution. Earlier, on December 13, 1946, Jawaharlal Nehru presented an 'Objective Resolution' laying down the underlying principles of the Constitution and it later became the Preamble of the Constitution.

The drafting committee comprised of Dr B R Ambedkar as its Chairman and six other members. They were KM Munshi, Muhammed Sadulla, Alladi Krishnaswamy Iyer, N Gopalaswami Ayyangar, D P Khaitan, and BL Mitter.

Let's take a look at the men who formed the guiding principles of the nation: 

Dr B R Ambedkar: 

Bhimrao Ramji Ambedkar, also known as Babasaheb Ambedkar, was an Indian jurist, economist, politician and social reformer who inspired the Dalit movement in India and also vociferously campaigned against social discrimination towards the untouchables. He was independent India's first Law and Justice M Minister, and also considered as the major architect of the Constitution of India.

Sir Muhammad Saadulla:

Sir Syed Muhammad Saadulla, was the Prime Minister of Assam in British India. He was also the chairman of the Guwahati Municipality in 1919 and Minister-in-Charge of Education and Agriculture for Assam from 1924 to 1934. The Assam Legislative Assembly elected Saadulla to the Constituent Assembly of India in 1947 and the later elected him to the drafting committee. He was the only member from northeast India to be elected to the Drafting Committee.

Alladi Krishnaswamy Iyer:

Dewan Bahadur Sir Alladi Krishnaswamy Iyer was an Indian lawyer and member of the Constituent Assembly of India, which was responsible for framing the Constitution of India. He also served as the Advocate General of Madras State from 1929 to 1944. Noted neuroscientist Vilayanur S Ramachandran is his grandson.

Dr B R Ambedkar credited Alladi's contribution in framing the Constitution: “There were in the drafting committee men bigger, better and more competent than myself such as my friend Sir Alladi Krishnaswamy Iyer."

When the Constituent Assembly adopted the principle of universal adult franchise, Iyer remarked that it was done “with an abundant faith in the common man and the ultimate success of democratic rule, and in the full belief that the introduction of democratic government on the basis of adult suffrage will bring enlightenment and promote the well-being, the standard of life, the comfort, and the decent living of the common man”.

Sir N Gopalaswami Ayyangar:

Sir Narasimha Ayyangar Gopalaswami Ayyangar was a leader of the Rajya Sabha and a cabinet minister in the Government of India, first as a minister without portfolio but looking after Kashmir Affairs, and later as the railway minister.

In his Kashmir Affairs role, he represented India at the United Nations Security Council and later drafted the now abrogated Article 370 of the Indian Constitution that granted autonomy to Jammu and Kashmir.

K M Munshi:

Kanhaiyalal Maneklal Munshi, popularly known as K M Munshi and with his pen name Ghanshyam Vyas, was an Indian independence movement activist, politician, writer and educationist from Gujarat. A lawyer by profession, he later turned to author and politician. He was a well-known name in Gujarati literature. He founded Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan, an educational trust, in 1938.

Munshi wrote his works in three languages namely Gujarati, English, and Hindi. Before the independence of India, Munshi was part of the Indian National Congress and after independence, he joined Swatantra Party and Bharatiya Jana Sangh. Munshi held several important posts like a member of the Constituent Assembly of India, minister of agriculture and food of India, and governor of Uttar Pradesh. In his later life, he was one of the founding members of the Vishva Hindu Parishad.

D P Khaitan:

Debi Prasad Khaitan was the founder of Khaitan & Co. He established the law firm in 1911. He was assisted by his brothers, Lakshmi Prasad Khaitan and Bhagwati Prasad Khaitan in establishing the firm and managing it. Over the years, Pradip Kumar Khaitan, son of Bhagwati Prasad Khaitan, took over the reins of the firm and expanded it to a national law firm.

At present, Khaitan & Co is headed by an Executive Committee elected by its partners.

B L Mitter:

B L Mitter having worked with the Dewan of Baroda, made a significant contribution to the integration of the Princely States with India. He was later replaced on the Drafting Committee by Madhav Rao, a legal advisor of the Maharaja of Vadodara.