Monday Musings: Upholding and celebrating our Constitution… in Pune
On the occasion of the Republic Day just gone by, we highlighted in this newspaper how our city got its very own museum and memorial dedicated to the father of the Indian Constitution, Babasaheb Ambedkar.
The rather spacious museum on Senapati Bapat Road- not tucked away in some remote corner but easily accessible from all directions- has a rare collection of 280 personal effects and numerous artefacts, books and manuscripts belonging to Ambedkar. It traces the entire life of this great son of India and tells the fascinating story of how the Indian Constitution was drafted and finalised.
Our report told the story of how this museum took shape in Pune, rather than be located in say, New Delhi or Mumbai, thanks to the initiatives of Maisaheb Ambedkar, Symbiosis Society and one of its founder-directors, Sanjeevani Mujumdar, wife of SB Mujumdar, founder-chairman of the well-known Symbiosis group of institutes.
Somehow, this museum has not been a popular destination on the city’s tourism map and one wonders whether it even figures on the Pune Darshan circuit of the tourism bus that does a tour of the various monuments in the city.
It is perhaps for the first time in these 73 years since Independence that the constitution has entered the consciousness of the common people. From a much-revered tome sitting high on the pedestal defining and safeguarding the idea of India, the constitutional values listed in the preamble, are now on our lips across the country.
Thanks to the intense, nation-wide debate, discussion and protests around the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) and the National Register of Citizens (NRC), the constitution and its core values are being talked about on a daily basis.
In Maharashtra, the government has already announced that from this Republic Day onwards, schools across the state will implement group reading of the constitutional values of liberty, justice, equality, and fraternity enshrined in the preamble, to reinforce these lofty ideals into our consciousness as patriotic and responsible citizens of India.
A much more focused exercise over the past many years has been silently running in the 67,000 government schools in this large state with the constitutional values being imparted to children through the revision of textbooks and teacher training.
This is the Mulyavardhan Framework being implemented by the state education department in partnership with the Tata Trusts and Shantilal Muttha Foundation, Pune.
This has been happening because imparting constitutional values to children has already been highlighted as an objective of the National Curriculum Framework, 2005 and section 2 of the Right to Education Act, 2009, and because of the personal initiative of Shantilal Muttha, the Pune-based philanthropist and social worker.
Thus, we have a lot to celebrate when it comes to our Constitution and a visit to the Ambedkar Museum could well be a part of this celebration.