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Class 12 History Chapter 15 Framing the Constitution The Beginning of a New Era

1. What were the ideals expressed in the Objectives Resolution?

Resolution presented by Jawaharlal Nehru. The additional ideals and objectives mentioned in the resolution are as follows:

Independent Sovereign Republic: The resolution declared India as an independent sovereign republic, emphasizing its status as a self-governing nation.

Justice, Equality, and Fraternity: The resolution aimed to ensure justice, equality, and fraternity among all citizens of India, emphasizing the principles of social justice and the promotion of harmonious relationships among individuals and communities.

Safeguards for Minorities: The resolution recognized the need for adequate safeguards to protect the rights and interests of minority communities in India, ensuring their equal treatment and representation.

The well-being of Backward and Depressed Classes: The resolution expressed the objective of addressing the socio-economic challenges faced by the backward and depressed classes, aiming to uplift their status and ensure their well-being.

Combination of Democracy and Socialism: The resolution emphasized the objective of combining democratic principles with the idea of economic justice, indicating the intent to promote social welfare and reduce economic disparities through a mix of liberal democracy and socialist ideals.

Popular Form of Government: It was emphasized that the form of government adopted by India should be acceptable to its people, highlighting the desire for a government system that reflects the will and aspirations of the Indian population.

Peace and Human Welfare: The resolution expressed India’s commitment to working for peace and human welfare, indicating its intent to contribute to international harmony and the overall well-being of humanity.

These objectives outlined in the Objectives Resolution provided a vision for the Constitution of India, guiding the framing of its provisions and shaping the ideals upon which the newly independent nation was built.

2. How was the term minority defined by different groups?

Answer 2

The perspectives provided by different individuals regarding the definition of minorities in India reflect varying understandings and concerns. Here are the different viewpoints presented:

N.G. Ranga: According to N.G. Ranga, the term “minorities” should be interpreted in economic terms rather than solely based on numerical representation. He believed that the real minorities in India were the economically disadvantaged and oppressed, including the poor, downtrodden, tribal people, and exploited villagers. Ranga emphasized the need to address their socioeconomic challenges and protect their rights.

Jaipal Singh: Jaipal Singh, an Adibasi (tribal) leader, acknowledged that tribes may not be a numerical minority in terms of population but argued that they required protection due to historical mistreatment and neglect. He highlighted the long-standing marginalization and discriminatory treatment faced by tribal communities and the need to address their specific concerns.

Dakshayani Velayudhan: Dakshayani Velayudhan from Madras expressed the viewpoint that the term “minority” should not be applied to the seventy million Harijans (Dalits) based on numerical representation. However, she emphasized the importance of removing their social disabilities and addressing the discrimination and inequalities they faced.

  1. Nagappa: J. Nagappa from Madras pointed out that the Depressed Castes (Dalits) were not a numerical minority as they constituted a significant portion (between 20 and 25 per cent) of the total population. However, he highlighted their systematic marginalization and the discrimination they faced, which resulted in their disadvantaged position within society.

These perspectives reflect different dimensions of marginalization and the diverse challenges faced by various groups in Indian society. The discussions around minority rights and protections encompassed not only numerical representation but also considerations of socio-economic status, historical disadvantage, and social disabilities.

3. What were the arguments in favour of greater power to the provinces?

Answer 3

Santharam, a member from Madras, voiced his support for strengthening the rights and powers of the states in the Constituent Assembly. He believed that the states should have more autonomy and that the Centre should not be vested with excessive powers. Santharam argued that an overburdened Centre would not be able to efficiently fulfil its responsibilities. In his view, if the states were made stronger, it would automatically strengthen the Centre as well.

Santharam expressed concerns about the proposed allocation of powers between the Centre and the states. He believed that an unequal distribution of power would cripple the states and hinder their ability to govern effectively. His stance reflected a desire to ensure a balanced distribution of powers that would allow the states to exercise their authority and promote their interests within the framework of the Indian federal system.

4. Why did Mahatma Gandhi think Hindustani should be the national language?

Answer 4

Mahatma Gandhi indeed expressed his belief that Hindustani should be the national language of India. Hindustani, a blend of Hindi and Urdu, was a language understood by a large section of the Indian population and had incorporated words and terms from various sources over the years. Gandhi saw Hindustani as a multicultural language that had the potential to serve as a means of communication between diverse communities.

Gandhi believed that adopting Hindustani as the national language could help in unifying Hindus and Muslims, as well as people from different regions of India. He argued that confining oneself to either Hindi or Urdu alone would be detrimental to intelligence and the spirit of patriotism. Gandhi’s vision for a common language aimed at fostering unity and inclusivity among the Indian population, regardless of their linguistic or cultural backgrounds.

5. What historical forces shaped the vision of the Constitution?

Class 12 History Chapter 15

Following are some historical forces which shaped the vision of the Constitution. Certain basic values were accepted by all national leaders as a result of the Nehru Report and the Fundamental Rights Resolution passed in the Karachi session of the Indian National Congress. Universal Adult Franchise, Right to Freedom and Equality and Protection of minority rights were these basic values. After the results of the 1937 elections, the Congress and other political parties were able to form governments in the provinces. This experience with legislative and political institutions helped in developing an agreement over institutional design. Many colonial laws were also the sources of the Indian Constitution. The Government of India Act, of 1935 was a major one. This way, the Indian Constitution adopted many institutional details and procedures from the colonial laws.

The French Revolution also inspired the makers of the Constitution. The working of the Parliamentary democracy in Britain and the Bill of Rights in the USA also inspired the framers of the Constitution.

6. Discuss the different arguments made in favour of the protection of the oppressed groups.

You have rightly pointed out that oppressed classes, such as tribals and untouchables, required special attention and safeguards to uplift their status and bring them to the level of the general population. Here are some key points related to their situation and the measures taken:

Tribals: Tribals were considered socially and economically backward and faced marginalization in society. They were often excluded and treated as outcasts. To uplift them, it was necessary to assimilate them into mainstream society and provide them with special protection and care. This included measures to address land confiscation, ensure access to education, and enable their participation in governance and administration.

Untouchables: Untouchables, or Dalits, faced social discrimination and were confined to low-status occupations. They were subjected to systematic marginalization and lived in isolation. To improve their conditions, efforts were made to eradicate untouchability and provide them with opportunities for social mobility. Legislation was enacted to protect their rights and promote their social inclusion.

Both tribals and untouchables required specific measures to address their historical disadvantages and ensure their participation in society on an equal footing. The aim was to provide them with opportunities for development, education, and social empowerment, enabling them to overcome their marginalized status and achieve social equality.

7. What connection did some of the members of the Constituent Assembly make between the political situation of the time and the need for a strong Centre?

The reasons and arguments put forth by leaders and members of the Constituent Assembly in favour of a strong central government for India. Here are the key points:

Partition and Communal Violence: The partition of India and the accompanying communal violence were traumatic events that highlighted the need for a strong central government. The leaders recognized that a fragmented or weak centre could exacerbate divisions and hinder efforts to maintain peace and unity.

Peace, Prosperity, and Stability: A strong central government was seen as crucial for ensuring peace, prosperity, and political stability in the newly independent nation. It was believed that a robust centre could effectively coordinate and address vital matters of common concern, such as national security, economic planning, and administration.

National Interests and Well-being: Leaders emphasized that a strong and united centre would be better positioned to plan and work for the overall well-being of the country. It was believed that a centralized approach would facilitate the mobilization of resources, establishment of effective defence mechanisms against aggression, and implementation of comprehensive administration.

Curbing Chaos and Communal Violence: A strong central government was seen as essential to prevent chaos, maintain law and order, and curtail communal violence. Given the challenges arising from the partition and the need to foster social harmony, a powerful centre was seen as necessary to protect the interests and rights of all citizens.

In summary, the leaders and members of the Constituent Assembly advocated for a strong central government to address the immediate challenges of partition and communal violence, ensure national unity and stability, and promote the overall development and well-being of the country.

8. How did the Constituent Assembly seek to resolve the language controversy?

Overview of the language debate during the framing of the Indian Constitution. Here are the key points:

Hindustani: The Congress and Mahatma Gandhi favoured Hindustani, a blend of Hindi and Urdu, as the national language. They believed that Hindustani, being understood by a large section of the population, could serve as a unifying language for the diverse communities in India.

Hindi: Some members, like R.V. Dhulekar, advocated for Hindi as the national language. They argued for the adoption of Hindi, particularly those from Hindi-speaking regions, emphasizing its importance for constitution-making.

Language Committee Report: The Language Committee of the Constituent Assembly proposed a compromise formula in its report. It recommended Hindi in the Devanagari script as the official language of the country. It also suggested a gradual transition from English to Hindi over fifteen years, during which English would continue to be used for official purposes.

Concerns of Southern India: Members from Southern India expressed concerns about the dominance of Hindi and the potential threat it posed to their regional languages. They stressed the need for careful handling of the language issue and rejected the imposition of Hindi on the people of South India.

The language debate was a complex and sensitive issue due to India’s linguistic diversity. Ultimately, the Constitution of India adopted a pragmatic approach by recognizing Hindi as the official language while providing for the continued use of English for official purposes to accommodate the linguistic diversity of the country.