Republic Day quotes: Leading lights of the Constituent Assembly and their thoughts on Republichttps://indianexpress.com/article/india/republic-day-quotes-leading-lights-of-the-constituent-assembly-and-their-thoughts-on-republic/

Republic Day quotes: Leading lights of the Constituent Assembly and their thoughts on Republic

The Constituent Assembly witnessed detailed debates on the value and necessity of the term ‘Republic’. Here are a few quotes by leaders and members of the Assembly.

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Reading out the Preamble to the Constitution during a Morning Assembly.

‘Independent Sovereign India’ were the words which were part of the Rules of Procedure drawn up by a Committee, suggested by Jawahar Lal Nehru, in the first few sittings of the Constituent Assembly. The word ‘Republic’ had no role to play by then and on the fifth day of the sitting, Nehru passed a resolution to insert the term which, had to be read as, This Constituent Assembly declares its firm and solemn resolve to proclaim India as an Independent Sovereign Republic and to draw up for her future governance a Constitution.

The Assembly witnessed detailed debates on the value and necessity of the term ‘Republic’. Here are a few quotes by leaders and members of the Assembly:

Jawahar Lal Nehru

“Our republic shall include the whole of India. India is bound to be sovereign, it is bound to be independent and it is bound to be a republic. If it is to be an independent and sovereign State, we are not going to have an external monarchy and we cannot have a research for some local monarchies. It must inevitably be a republic.”

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“Laws are made of words but this Resolution is something higher than the law. If you examine its words like lawyers you will produce only a lifeless thing. We are at present standing midway between two ears; the old order is fast changing, yielding place to the new. But one thing is, however, certain: it is not a law; but is something that breathes life in human minds.”

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“What else can we have in India? Whatever the States may have or may not have, it is impossible and inconceivable and undesirable to think in any other terms but in terms of the Republic in India.”

B.R. Ambedkar

“Our difficulty is not about the ultimate future. Our difficulty is how to make the heterogeneous mass that we have to-day take a decision in common and march on the way which leads us to unity. Our difficulty is not with regard to the ultimate, our difficulty is with regard to the beginning.”

“Let us leave aside slogans, let us leave aside words which frighten people. Let us even make a concession to the prejudices of our opponents, bring them in, so that they may willingly join with us on marching upon that mad, which as I said, if we walk long enough, must necessarily lead us to unity.”

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“I know to-day we are divided politically, socially and economic-,ally; We are a group of warring camps and I may go even to the extent of confessing that I am probably one of the leaders of such a camp. But, Sir, with all this, I am quite convinced that given time and circumstances nothing in the world will prevent this country from becoming one.”

S. Radhakrishnan (United Provinces: General)

“A Republican India does not mean the abolition of Princely rule. Princes may continue; Princes will be there so long as they make themselves constitutional so long as they make themselves responsible to the people of the States. If the great paramount power which is sovereign in this country by conquest is now transferring responsibility to the representatives of the people, it goes without saying that those who depend on that paramount power should do what the British have done. They must also transfer responsibility to the representatives of the people.”

“The assertion of republicanism, the assertion of the sovereignty of the people, do not in any manner indicate any antagonism to the Princely rule itself. They do not refer to the present facts of past history of the Indian States but they indicate the future aspirations of the peoples of the States.”

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“We cannot say that the republican tradition is foreign to the genius of this country. We have had it from the beginning of our history. When a few merchants from the north went down to the south, one of the Princes of the Deccan asked the question. “Who is your King?” The answer was, “Some of us are governed by assemblies, some of us by kings.”

Purushottam Das Tandon (United Provinces: General)

“The one important thing in the Resolution is the recognition of India as a free country. Our country is one and yet we shall give full freedom to its various sections to have for themselves whatever administration they liked. The present division of our country into provinces may change. We shall do justice to all communities and give them full freedom in their social and religious affairs.”

Dakshayani Velayudan (Madras: General)

“In the Indian Republic there will be no barriers based on caste or community. The Harijans will be safe in a Republican State of the Indian Union. I visualise that the underdogs will be the rulers of the Indian Republic. Our freedom can be obtained only from Indians and not from the British Government.”

Pandit Hirday Nath Kunzru (United-Provinces: General)

“It is wise on our part to make every section of the people in India realise that we do not want to impose our will on any party or community, but that such decisions as we may arrive at will be the result of joint discussion carried on with the sole object of enabling India to achieve her independence and protecting the just rights of the minorities and the backward classes.”

Sardar Ujjal Singh (Punjab: Sikh)

“Indian States have been used to the monarchical system of government and they may have some fears on that score but in the light of the speech of Pandit Nehruji those fears are entirely unjustified. In an Indian Republic the people of the Indian States, if they so choose can retain a monarchical form of government in their own part of the country.”

Shri Krishna Sinha (Bihar: General)

“India of the future is to be a democratic and, decentralised republic, in which the ultimate sovereignty is to lie with the people and in which fundamental rights are too be safeguarded to minorities inhabiting this land.”

“There has arisen in Indian, an Indian nation, an Indian nation with an Indian culture and an Indian civilisation. It is a realisation of this truth which makes many Indians feel that India must have a centralised republic.”

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Dr. Syama Prasad Mookherjee (Bengal: General)

“After all, we are sitting here not in our individual capacity, but we claim to represent the People of this great land. Our sanction is not the British Parliament; our sanction is the people of India and therefore we have to make the ultimate appeal to the people of our country.”

Biswanath Das (Orissa) 

“After the withdrawal of Britain, there is no reason for anyone to think that India would think any other form of State than a republic. A republic does not necessarily mean the wiping off the States.”

Begum Aizaz Rasul (United Provinces : Muslim)

“Being a Democratic Republic, the Constitution provides for all citizens, individually and collectively, the best fruits of democracy and ensures to them those basic conditions and freedoms which alone made life secure, significant and productive.”

S. V. Krishnamoorthy Rao (Mysore State)

“For the first time in the history of India, there is integration, political integration, financial integration, economic integration and judicial integration and also defence integration. Today, under this Constitution, there will be no more petty armies. Under this Constitution, there will be only one army and that will be under the command of the President of India.”

Rev. J. J. M. Nichols-Roy (Assam: General)

“It is true that there are some monarchies in India but we envisage the time when all these monarchies will become at least wholly constitutional monarchies like the Monarchy of England, and we believe that even the people of all the States envisage that in their own States, there will be a democratic form of Government.”

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Dr. P. K. Sen (Bihar: General)

“It is necessary, therefore, that we should proclaim to the world our determination to carry out our undertaking and frame a constitution for an Independent Sovereign Republic –a Republic in which the ultimate power is vested in the people and all power and authority are derived from the people.”

S. Nagappa (Madras: General)

“With fellow feeling, we must all join together and help to see our country free as early as possible. None of us want to be a slave to a third person or a second person. Everyone wants to be free. Every individual of this country must realise that he is the administrator of the country. He must be made to realise, he must be made to understand that he is the real ruler of this country.”

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