The making of a nation

The making of a nation

Veteran director Shyam Benegal on Samvidhaan, the ambitious TV mini-series about the making of the Indian Constitution


It’s been a long time since I worked on television — almost 25 years ago — when Bharat Ek Khoj, a television adaptation of Jawaharlal Nehru’s The Discovery of India was made. Unlike the time of Bharat Ek Khoj when we had only one channel, we have many channels now, thanks to the explosion of the electronic media.

In this exciting world of information and entertainment, I have re-entered the television screen with Samvidhaan, a 10 part mini-series on the making of the constitution of India. The idea for the series was suggested by Dr Hamid Ansari, the Vice President of India, who is also the Chairman of the Rajya Sabha. I started working on the series soon after I retired from Rajya Sabha.

About the time India won its independence three major cataclysmic events occurred— the Partition of India, the assassination of Mahatma Gandhi and the passing away of Muhammad Ali Jinnah, the founding father of Pakistan. It was during this turbulent period that our founding fathers created a democratic constitution for India that holds good even today.


Drafting the constitution for independent India was an enormous challenge. India has more languages and ethnic groups than any other country. The social diversities and the economic disparities are mind boggling. To contain this heterogeneity in a single unified nation was a mammoth task. The Constituent Assembly which gathered to hammer out this constitution, sat for two years, 11 months and 17 days to finalise the constitution. The shaping of the constitution of India makes for an extremely exciting story.

It has stood the test of time and continues to guide our nation despite a hundred amendments that have been made to meet the needs of our country and its people.

The saga of its creation has been recorded in detail and is available in our National Archives. Our research team has taken great care to be as authentic as possible with all its drama and excitement intact. The journey of the making of our constitution is as exciting as any dramatic fiction.

It is important for the people of our country, especially the youth, to understand our constitution and to get an insight into the effort that went into framing it. This is a subject that is not taught in our schools. I hope this series will fill that vacuum.

I have enjoyed making this TV series enormously, at the same time it gave me an opportunity to learn a great deal about our constitution. I hope that the audience will enjoy watching it as much as I did making it.