WE, THE PEOPLE OF INDIA, having solemnly resolved to constitute India into a SOVEREIGN SOCIALIST SECULAR DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC and to secure to all its citizens:
JUSTICE, social, economic and political; LIBERTY of thought, expression, belief, faith and worship;
EQUALITY of status and of opportunity;
and to promote among them all FRATERNITY assuring the dignity of the individual and the unity and integrity of the Nation;
IN OUR CONSTITUENT ASSEMBLY this twenty-sixth day of November, 1949, do HEREBY ADOPT, ENACT AND GIVE TO OURSELVES THIS CONSTITUTION
The Constituent Assembly debated the Preamble on 17th October 1949. The debates around the Preamble revolved around the name of India and inclusion of ‘God’ and ‘Gandhi’.
One member urged the Assembly to rename India as the ‘Union of Indian Socialistic Republics’, similar to the USSR. Members were not convinced with this suggestion as they felt that it would go against the already adopted constitutional scheme.
Another member sought to include ‘In the name of God’. Many were opposed to this suggestion – it was noted that it was unfortunate to put ‘God’ on vote. One member believed that inclusion of ‘God’ would amount to ‘compulsion of faith’ and violate the fundamental right to freedom of faith.
Another proposal was made to include Gandhi’s name in the Preamble. A member was discontent with the already adopted draft articles as he felt that the Indian constitution was based on the American Supreme Court cases and Government of India Act. He opposed any association of Gandhi with the ‘rotten Constitution’.
The amendments moved by the members were negatived. However, this was one of the rare instances of the Assembly proceedings wherein the members voted on the proposal to include ‘God’ by a show of hands. The Assembly was divided with 41 voting in favour and 68 voting against it.
The Assembly adopted the Preamble as presented by the Drafting Committee.