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Saturday, January 12, 2008


When India gained independence, the country was lost in a world preoccupied with the destruction brought about by the Second World War. All of a sudden, we were responsible for everything we did. Piggy-backing on another country's mistakes would no longer work. The Indian National Congress in those days could effectively speak for the people of India, but it was not an elected body. There was not even a constitution to guide us.

The Indian Constituent Assembly met on December 9, 1946. The Assembly appointed a number of committees to report on the various aspects of the proposed constitution. The Indian Constitution was finalised with 395 Articles and eight Schedules, and was adopted by the Constituent Assembly on November 26, 1949. The Indian Republic officially came into being on January 26, 1950.

January 26 was not some random date picked out of the calendar. It was on this date in 1927, that the Indian National Congress, then fighting its non-violent war for freedom, voted for complete independence as against 'dominion status'. It was the date when members of the INC took the pledge to work towards a 'sovereign democratic republic' of India.

After the Constitution was written and adopted on November 1949, January 26 the following year was chosen as the day when India would finally arrive as a nation, complete with the lengthiest and the most detailed constitution in the world. With this, Republic Day became the most important day in the history of India. Indeed, India had become a geographical entity on August 15, 1947, but it was on January 26, 1950 that it became a nation in the true sense, with a constitution and elected representatives of the people.

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