Sunday, 26 January 2014

Guest Post: The Indian Constitution; A Picture Story


This guest post is by my husband, Aseem. 

He is not a blogger. And if I have to call him a writer, he says I have to make sure government file notings qualify as creative art. Understand then that I had to use all my convincing powers to make him pen this for my blog. Also know, that his thoughts mean more to me than my own. (Alright, most of the time anyway!) Republic Day was yesterday, and today he gave me these words and these pictures. A 'Slice of History' for those who celebrate the 26th of January with as much fanfare as we do, and who, like us, are still enjoying a "patriotic" hang-over even though it is the next day.

Now, for a change, I let him speak uninterrupted.  

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The Indian Constitution; A Picture Story

I gave in.

When she wanted me to write a few paragraphs for her blog, contrary, perhaps, to her expectations, I did not protest. My reason for agreeing was essentially just that she had chosen a great time to press her demands upon me. The timing was not to do with this being a month of birthdays or the New Year or anything as grand as that. It was just that it happened to be a holiday! A National Holiday, the Republic Day.

I wonder what that might mean to most of us. What the 26th of January means to me has changed over the years. As a child, I used to look at this day as a time when I would sing a few “patriotic” songs before an assembly of my father’s office colleagues and their families and would proudly collect applause. In later years, the ritual of attending the celebrations at his office was discontinued since we moved to a different town where such occasions were traditionally not family affairs. I do remember celebrations in school and college on a few occasions, but they were generally viewed as disturbances to an otherwise enjoyable holiday. 

But somewhere between then and now, I came to think of the Republic Day as special in an unobtrusive yet poignant way, somewhat like the birthday of someone dear from your past that you never forget to remember, but do nothing special to mark, perhaps because it would be superfluous after all. When my wife asked me to write a post for her today on the Constitution, I dithered at first at the thought of her readers turning away. But then, when your wife allows you a chance to be heard uninterrupted, one must just be grateful and grab the line.

One of the most valuable possessions of my family is a replica of the original hand-written Constitution of India, which was gifted by a very dear senior in service. Since this volume came into our home, we have often talked about the history that surrounds it, the way it has evolved over the years, its relevance in our workaday lives and, of course, its  sheer beauty.

The Republic Day is when the Constitution of India came into force in 1950. We have all known this from our Civics school books. But school did not give me a sense of what this book really meant then, and what difference it has made to our today. The vision the Constitution had was of an egalitarian and just society, promising freedom to one and all, laid down succinctly in its Preamble. I am undoubtedly enthused and inspired by the world held out as the promise of the Constitution. Though it seems like a miracle at times, and even untrue at others, by and large, it looks like we are closer to that goal today than we were in 1950.

The Republic Day to me is symbolic of that vision of society and we all have a part to play in getting there. The way is in seeing how our actions, little and big, impact all of us collectively and in being responsible for the choices we make. I wish us all this patriotism this Republic Day.

Here are some pictures of this book to stay with you. You may click on them to see an enlarged view.

A replica of the original hand-written Constitution of India

The Preamble

Fundamental Rights

Article 19. Right to Freedom

Each main border is unique in design 

Elections. Notice the art work.

Look at the salary of the President and Governor

Happy to see Dehra Dun.
Hathibarkala is the midway point between my wife's house and mine

Signatures - Rajendra Prasad, Jawaharlal Nehru lead the list

And then, passing on this 'Slice of History' to our Tomorrow. A looking back, in order to know how to proceed.



[Written for WordPress Daily Prompts : 365 Writing Prompts aimed at posting at least once a day, based on the prompts provided. The prompt for today was 'Sliced Bread - Most of us have heard the saying, “That’s the best thing since sliced bread!” What do you think is actually the best thing since sliced bread?' and I have answered with 'a Slice of History' - a looking back in order to know how to proceed.]

69 comments:

  1. It made me wonder what Republic Day is to me.... Something to ponder on...

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  2. Wow, the entire Nanda clan seems to be filled with creative people, starting with the writing couple and moving on to the visual son :D

    Aseem, have to say I loved the post more so because just like you The Republic Day holds a very special place in my heart too. To borrow the word that you used in the post, it makes me feel extremely poignant simply for the reason that while independence was something that a lot of people made sacrifices for, The Constitution is what made us a 'republic' and I am not too sure if most Indians actually understand the significance of that term in the first place.

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    1. Thanks Jairam. Heartening to know we share that sentiment.

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  3. Now that we are in Amrikaaa, I do miss the national holidays, and the sense of belonging. Probably, it accentuates on such days. Wonderfully written, both of you have a flair for captivating your readers' minds.

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  4. Great "photo" post :) And welcome to the fold Aseem. The Nanda clan is truly filled with creative people as Jairam put it.

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    1. Thank you Sid. That is very flattering!

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  5. How did you come across one of these? I have been searching for one of these since the last 2 years. But I just cant seem to find one.

    The constitution looks as beautiful as its contents does.

    Pages off Life

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    1. It is very beautiful indeed. I believe the Parliament prints these in limited numbers, but i am not too sure. I just got blessed by a generous senior.

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  6. Beautiful sentiments attached to this post.If only we all abide by the constitution!

    Loved how your little one is focussing with the camera :) It sure is the best slice!

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  7. Wow ! The original ! It is a collector's envy & owner's pride !

    And yet, it has undergone scores of amendments just to please vested interests.

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    1. :) The Constitution provides for its own evolution. And it would perhaps be a bit poorer if it were rigid.

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  8. I can completely see why this is such a valuable possession. Such a treasure!
    A great post, Aseem. I think you should grab that line more often. :)

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    1. Thanks Rickie! Now you're giving Sakshi crazy ideas!

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  9. Wow! If only the Civics teacher taught us about the Constitution with as much passion instead of focusing on getting our answers/grammar correctly. I feel Aseem must get into writing more often, even if it means writing guest posts for Sakshi. Great pictures and cute little N! :-)

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    1. Thank you Rekha. That is so encouraging.

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  10. Indeed a treasure. Republic day has become more for VIPs and Delhi-ites. Most celebrate it like any Sunday. Wonder how many saw patriotic movies telecast on TV. Though, I am sure most tuned in for the film award show telecast last night. We need a platform and contemporary ideas to connect and celebrate the true spirit of Republic Day. I remember as a kid I used to stand each time the national anthem played and felt really bad that elders did not. Look forward to more such posts Aseem Nanda.:)

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    1. Thank you Alka, It is important to recognise and preserve what the symbols represent.

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  11. This was the only chapter in Civics that I enjoyed. I can imagine how proud you must feel to own something so beautiful, precious and rare. I loved the pictures, especially the last one. Hope I can say " Welcome to the blogging world" and that you will continue to post here. Such an apt post, both for the prompt and the day. :)

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    1. Thank you Jyothi. My wife does have some persuasive skills!

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  12. Lovely post, keep writing Aseem

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  13. Great post by the special guest! Enjoyed the visual tour just as much as the written one.

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  14. I am full of envy as I write this comment, you sure do own a treasure :). I always loved History and Civics, had I had a teacher who taught as passionately as Aseem has written here, I think I would have majored in the subject too!

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    1. Yes we do treasure it :) Thank you for reading.

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  15. I'm glad you took the bait, Aseem, because you had me hooked, line and sinker.

    In an age when we are more patriotic about our city than our country, it's time we started making choices that impact our society and not just our family.

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  16. Aseem, that is a fantastic debut! Your sincerity gushes out and grabs the reader. I know all about pushy wives telling husbands to pen something, and husbands only biting the bait sometimes for the reason you mentioned :). That is a relic, a piece of history, you own. And I can see that it makes you so proud. As far as Republic Day for me is concerned, I have to say that I have become cynical over the years. Even now, I stand up and sing loudly when the National Anthem plays but the heart has been hardened with all I see, hear and experience. I will not belittle my Motherland, but those who are in places of power, capable of change have done little over the years, and try as I might, I can't overlook it. Our Constitution is powerful! Do we really uphold all that is there? The symbolism is good, but the essence is getting lost somewhere sadly. That is not to say that I am grateful for my rights and freedoms that I enjoy. Sakshi, I can see that you are perched happily on that ceiling fan :).

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    1. Thank you for reading. While it is convenient to shift onus on certain others, it is important to see the rot in the commonplace.The loss of essence in the collective is perhaps a consequence of the loss in individuals?

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  17. Well, it certainly doesn't seem like Aseem's first attempt at writing.. :) good one. I am amazed at seeing this relic, a real copy to touch and grab in your hands. For me, I guess the meaning has changed and somehow it has just become a holiday...

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    1. Thank you for reading. My everyday writing happens to be quite prosaic incidentally.

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  18. It must have taken some convincing for you to pen this post and you have got our attention Aseem. A copy of the original writing is wow! Most of the people do not know the relevance of Republic Day and how many of us know the constitution or even parts of it? Now that you have started it and we have endorsed you, you should write more about it. :D You are baited!

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  19. Sakshi, you have let us wives down. You have proved that husbands, if let to speak without interruption, can not only talk sense, but even move us to tears. At least, your Aseem can. And if he can do that with one blog, why isn't he blogging more?

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    1. Dear Mimmy, I was hoping someone will recognise what went into convincing him to write for me. He is so busy writing bi-lateral trade policies, I wonder if he will have the time (or even inclination) to maintain a blog. However, wipe those tears and rest assured - I will give it my all to make him start one. Your comment read by him will be half the battle won. Thank you. Feeling warm inside to hear kind words for him.

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    2. Thank you Mimmy. Maybe someday :)

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  20. Aseem sure has a hidden writing talent! :)

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  21. Now that's something new that i have read for this Republic Day. Good to see a photo post on this day. Aseem is good in writing as well. Keep writing and Happy Blogging ...

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  22. I love the pics .. And I never even knew the constitution was hand written. In our big and small way all of us play a role in shaping the society we live in. Its a great responsibility and we something that should not take lightly.
    Great post Aseem.. Hope to see you here more often.

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    1. Thank you Ruchira! :) Glad you like the post.

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  23. Great post..a brilliant tribute to our Constitution...:) Of course,Aseem must blog more often...probably create his own blog to share his myriad experiences!

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  24. Wow! Asseem been lucky and absolutely love the pictures ad post. As Amrita said, the Babu must blog more often so that we get a chance to know more about his views on our country. What a tribute to the Constitution of India! I'm still recovering from patriotism as an Indian settled 'not for long' outside the place I call my home, India. Now, this post is urging me to come back kyon ki koi bhi desh perfect nahin hota ussko perfect banana padta hai.
    I take a bow, Sir:)

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  25. Trust me, Sakshi government file notings are no less than creative art. Speaking from experience ;) And for the post, it was such a lovely read. And btw, how do u make dat little one pose so well :P

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    1. Thank you for that support Jyotsna! I suddenly feel "writerly"

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  26. wow!! I just happened to come across your blog...and this post made my day..err..night..whatever, but u get the point!
    and guys...u have such a great heritage book with u... just owning such a copy must be making for such a proud feeling! and knowing about our past makes you more proud of our culture and our country !
    I am so glad I read it...esp those pictures! thank you so much for sharing them with us!

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  27. I liked the post a lot. It was simple, sincere and laced with humour at the right instances ;-) I loved that book and the last photo of Nishad looking at it but, one sentence stuck with me, "I came to think of the Republic Day as special in an unobtrusive yet poignant way, somewhat like the birthday of someone dear from your past that you never forget to remember, but do nothing special to mark" and I felt sad. This was exactly how it passed me by.

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    1. Thanks for reading and liking Poornima

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  28. Wonderful. It must be really a proud possession- the book.

    Each day we hold a responsibility to make our country stronger and more alive. Each day we must work a little more.

    Hope to read more of you here, Aseem :)

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    1. Very true. Each day we must work a little more.

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  29. Loved reading the post and seeing pics of the replica of the constitution and, of course, cute Nishad!

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  30. Loved reading the post and seeing pictures of the replica of the constitution and, of course, cute little Nishad.

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  31. For the first time I've had a glimpse of our Constitution even though it's a replica. Laying down the tenets is one and practicing it is another. The latter depends on us, we the people of India. Thank you for your thoughts and shots of the Constitution.

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  32. Thank you, Aseem, for a wonderful post!
    Thank you, Sakshi, for persuading (or 'persuading'?) Aseem to write this post!

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    1. Yes, 'persuading' it was indeed, Pro.
      Thank you for stopping by. :)

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  34. Seems like there is healthy competition at home.. The sense of belonging and patriotism that you talk about would be an everyday habit if every citizen understood his rights.. A much needed and meaningful post after a while.. Left me deep in thought like Sakshi often does... The pics of the replica was priceless .. Kudos Aseem

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  35. Indeed a prized and valuable possession. I hope we have teachers in both, public and private schools, who inspire students while teaching the history of the constitution (and civics). There is one thing I do feel you need to expand on, and that is, why you believe we are closer to the goal of an egalitarian, just and free society. Perhaps another post?

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