Preamble of Indian Constitution and its Meaning
“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.”
Meaning of Preamble of Indian Constitution
"We, the people of India ...in our constituent assembly ...do here by adopt, enact and give to ourselves this constitution", signifies the democratic principle that the power is ultimately vested in the hands of the people. It also emphasizes that the constitution is made by and for the Indian people and not given to them by any outside power (such as the British Parliament).
The word sovereign means supreme or independent. India is internally and externally sovereign - externally free from the control of any foreign power and internally, it has a free government which is directly elected by the people and makes laws that govern the people. She allies in peace and war. The Popular sovereignty is also one of the basic structures of constitution of India. Hence, Citizens of India also enjoys sovereign power to elect their representatives in elections held for parliament, state legislature and local bodies as well.
The word socialist was added to the Preamble by the Forty- second Amendment. It implies social and economic equality. Social equality in this context means the absence of discrimination on the grounds only of caste, colour, creed, sex, religion, or language. Under social equality, everyone has equal status and opportunities. Economic equality in this context means that the government will endeavour to make the distribution of wealth more equal and provide a decent standard of living for all. This is in effect emphasized a commitment towards the formation of a welfare state. India has adopted a socialistic and mixed economy and the government has framed many laws to achieve the aim.
The word secular was also inserted into the preamble by the 42nd Amendment (1976). It implies equality of all religions and religious tolerance. India therefore does not have an official state religion. Every person has the right to preach, practice and propagate any religion they choose. The government must not favour or discriminate against any religion. It must treat all religions with equal respect. All citizens, irrespective of their religious beliefs are equal in the eyes of law.
The first part of the preamble “We, the people of India” and, its last part “give to ourselves this Constitution” clearly indicate the democratic spirit involved even in the Constitution. India is a democracy. The people of India elect their governments at all levels (Union, State and local) by a system of universal adult suffrage; popularly known as "one man one vote". Every citizen of India, who is 18 years of age and above and not otherwise debarred by law, is entitled to vote. Every citizen enjoys this right without any discrimination on the basis of caste, creed, colour, sex, religion or education.
As opposed to a monarchy, in which the head of state is appointed on hereditary basis for a lifetime or until he abdicates from the throne, a democratic republic is an entity in which the head of state is elected, directly or indirectly, for a fixed tenure. The President of India is elected by an electoral college for a term of five years. The post of the President of India is not hereditary. Every citizen of India is eligible to become the President of the country
The preamble has been amended only once so far. On 18 December 1976, during the Emergency in India, the Indira Gandhi government pushed through several changes in the 42nd Amendment of the constitution. A committee under the chairmanship of Sardar Swaran Singh recommended that this amendment be enacted after being constituted to study the question of amending the constitution in the light of past experience. Through this amendment the words "socialist" and "secular" were added between the words "sovereign" and "democratic" and the words "unity of the Nation" were changed to "unity and integrity of the Nation".