‘Ravi Shankar Prasad pushes for debate on constitutional nationalism
Union Law minister Ravi Shankar Prasad called for reflection on the idea of constitutional nationalism while pointing out that the spirit of India through its culture and heritage was purposefully captured in India’s original Constitution by way of illustrations of Indian gods and rulers. Speaking at the Hindustan Purvoday summit in Ranchi, Jharkhand, Prasad invited the audience to look at the illustrations in a copy of the original Constitution, he had brought along.
“There is lot of talk of constitutional nationalism in the country these days and many pledge their faith in it,” he said and added that the then Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru along with other prominent leaders like Patel, Ambedkar, Maulana Azad decided to ingrain Indian culture and heritage in the newly drafted Constitution before it was presented to the Parliament. Nand Lal Bose, a famous painter was tasked with the job.
“I have come here with a copy of the original constitution on Hindustan’s platform and I request them (the publication) to start a debate on the issue,” Prasad said.
“On the issue of elementary rights, you see a picture of lord Rama returning to Ayodhya with goddess Sita and Laxmana, this on the page for elementary rights,” he said and flipped a few more pages to bring out a few more illustrations.
“An illustration of lord Krishna delivering Geeta to Arjuna is also there, it has pictures of Buddha, Mahavir, Kabir, Queen of Jhansi, Tipu Sultan and lord Hanumana,” Prasad said, adding, “Akbar is there but there is no Babur or Aurangzeb in this copy signed by all the members of the constituent assembly.”
Prasad said that those who talk of constitutional nationalism must also try and grasp the “basic spirit” of the constitution. “If the constitution was made today and an attempt was made to include these illustrations, it would have led to an uproar,” he said before concluding that people had “digressed from the point over the years” and that India will not develop without respecting its traditions.