Long Answer Type Questions. [5 Marks]

1. Give a description of the composition of the Constituent Assembly.

Ans. The Constituent Assembly was elected mainly by the members of the existing Provincial Legislatures. This ensured a fair geographical share of members from all the regions of the country. Congress, which was the dominant party in the Assembly, itself included a variety of political groups and opinions. It represented members from different languages, castes, religions, classes and occupations.

2. What did Ambedkar mean by ‘Contradiction’ in his concluding speech to the Constituent Assembly?

Ans. In his concluding speech to the Constituent Assembly Dr. Ambedkar said that India was entering a life of ‘contradictions’ on 26th Jan 1950. By this he meant that in politics Indians would have equality but in social and economic life, there would be inequality. In politics India would be recognising the principle of one man one vote, with one value, but in social and economic life, the principle of one man one value would be denied.

1. The Indian constitution is both rigid and flexible. Explain.

Ans. The Indian Constitution is neither wholly flexible nor wholly rigid. It is partly rigid and partly flexible. It is not so flexible as the British constitution is, nor so rigid as the American constitution is.

Some of the articles of the constitution can be amended by a simple majority of the parliament, e.g. changing the names of states, altering boundries of states, matters relating to citizenship, etc. Some of the articles of the constitution can be amended with 2/3 majority of the members of parliament, e.g. the election of the President of India. If any change in it is intended then it has to be passed first by a majority of the total members in each house of parliament.

2. Describe any three features of the Indian constitution.

Ans. (i) The Indian Constitution establishes a Sovereign, Democratic, Republic in India. It establishes a secular state in India. It provides Fundamental Rights and Fundamental Duties.

The Constitution begins with a short statement called the Preamble. Sovereign means people have supreme right to make decisions on internal as well as external matter. No external power can dictate the government of India. Democratic means a form of government where people enjoy equal political rights elect their rulers and hold them accountable. Republic means the head of the state is an elected person and it is not a hereditary position.

(ii) Secular means citizens have complete freedom to follow any religion – Government treats all religions, beliefs and practices with equal respect.

(iii) The Indian constitution provides justice – social, economic and political.

Liberty of thought, expression, belief, faith and worship. Equality of status and opportunity. Fraternity assuring dignity of the individual and unity and integrity of the nation.

3. What is the Preamble? Explain any three guiding principles mentioned in the Preamble.

Ans. Preamble is a short statement of the basic values of the constitution. Taking inspiration from American model, most countries have adopted constitutions with a preamble. The Preamble of the Indian constitution reads like a poem on democracy. It contains the philosophy on which the entire constitution has been built; 1. Democratic–It will have a democratic government where people will enjoy equal rights; 2. Equality–All citizens will be equal before the law; and 3. Fraternity–All of us should behave as if they are members of the same family.

3. Mention the landmark years in the making of the Indian constitution.

Ans. As far back as 1928, Motilal Nehru and eight other Congress leaders drafted a constitution for India. In 1931 at the Karachi Session of Indian National Congress leaders pondered what India’s constitution should be like. Elections held in 1937 to Provincial Legislatures and Ministry all over British India. It was beneficial for Indians to gain experience. That is why, Indian Constitution adopted many institutional details from colonial laws like the Government of India Act 1935.

1. Regarding the constitution-making, what was the compromise reached at between the blacks and whites?

Ans. The constitution of South Africa was drawn together by the party of whites which had rules through oppression and the party that led the freedom struggle. The constitution gave to its citizens the most extensive rights available in any country. After long negotiations both parties agreed to a compromise. The whites agreed to the principle of majority rule and that of one person one vote. They also agreed to accept some basic rights for the poor and the workers. The blacks agreed that the majority rule would not be absolute. They agreed that the majority would not take away the property of the white minority.

2. What does the constitution effectively do that makes a country a democratic one?

Ans. A constitution does many things to make a country a democratic one:

(i) It generates a degree of trust and coordination that is necessary for different kind of people to live together.

(ii) It specifies how the government will be constituted and who will have the power of taking which decisions.

(iii) It lays down limits on the powers of the government and tells us what the rights of the citizens are.

(iv) It expresses the aspirations of the people about creating a good society.

3. What was the African Policy of Apartheid? How could that come to an end?

Ans. Apartheid was the name of a system of racial discrimination unique to South Africa. The White Europeans imposed this system on South Africa. The native people of Africa are black. They had 3/4 of the population. The whites treated all non-whites as inferiors. The non-whites did not have voting rights. The blacks were forbidden from living in the white area. Trains, buses, hospitals, schools, hotels, taxis, cinemas, etc were all separate for the whites and blacks. The blacks, coloured and Indians fought for their rights-arranged marches protests and strikes. The racist government tortured them. On 26 April 1994. Apartheid came to an end with the birth of the Republic of South Africa.