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The Preamble to the Constitution of India is an integral and an absolutely necessary part of the Constitution. The Preamble cannot be enforced in a court of law. Despite that, it is fundamental to the functioning of the Constitution of India. Did you know that the Preamble was the last part discussed and debated by the Constituent Assembly? The Preamble was debated after the entire Constitution was drafted and debated. The Preamble was taken up for debate on 17th October 1949.

The Preamble to the Indian Constitution serves as a fundamental and multifaceted component that extends beyond a mere summary or brief overview of the constitutional provisions. It embodies a spectrum of purposes, each contributing to its significance and role within the constitutional framework.

Firstly, the Preamble articulates the foundational values upon which the entire Constitution is based. It serves as a repository of these core principles, encapsulating the guiding ethos that fortifies the governance and structure of the Indian state. By enshrining these values, the Preamble lays the groundwork for the legal and political principles that govern the nation.

In addition to its foundational role, the Preamble serves as an inspirational component of the Constitution. It invokes a sense of unity, purpose, and aspiration among the citizens of India, reaffirming their collective commitment to the ideals and vision articulated within its text. Through its aspirational language and overarching goals, the Preamble fosters a sense of national identity and unity among diverse communities.

Moreover, the Preamble provides a structural framework for the formation and organisation of the Indian states. It outlines the mechanical principles and foundational concepts that inform the design and functioning of the state apparatus within the federal structure of India. By delineating these structural elements, the preamble establishes a foundational framework for the governance and administration of the Indian state.

Furthermore, the Preamble serves as a guide for interpreting and understanding the provisions of the Constitution. It elucidates the purpose and intent behind each provision, providing context and clarity to the legal and political principles enshrined within the document. Through its explanatory function, the preamble facilitates a deeper comprehension and application of the constitutional provisions.

Lastly, the Preamble sets out the overarching goals, vision, and mission of the Constitution in shaping the post-independence nation of India. It articulates the core values upon which the Constitution is based, delineating the collective vision for a just, democratic, and inclusive society. By outlining these goals and aspirations, the preamble establishes itself as an ideological cornerstone of the legal and political document that the Indian Constitution represents, reaffirming its significance as a foundational text for the nation.

All the words and phrases added in the Preamble hold a unique significance. The phrase “enact, adopt and give to ourselves” in the Preamble of the Indian Constitution encapsulates a bold and profound statement that holds significant implications for the foundational principles upon which the Constitution is based. It signifies a collective endeavour undertaken by the people of India, symbolising the embodiment of their will and aspirations in the shaping of their governance framework. This assertion underscores the participatory nature of the constitutional process, where the Constitution is not imposed from external authorities but rather crafted by elected representatives chosen by the citizens of the country. It reaffirms the centrality of the “people of India” and their will in the framing and amendment of the Constitution, establishing a democratic foundation where political authority emanates from and remains accountable to the people.

The Preamble further elucidates the foundational values and principles that guide the Indian state, with each term carrying significant implications for the nature and functioning of the government.

“Sovereign” reflects India’s decision to assert its independence and autonomy, rejecting subjugation to external authorities and establishing an independent authority of the State. This assertion not only signifies India’s political freedom but also underscores its commitment to self-determination and sovereignty in determining its own destiny.

“Democratic” underscores the foundational principle that the authority of the Indian state derives from the will of the people, expressed through free and fair elections. It reaffirms the commitment to democratic governance, where political authority is vested in the hands of the people and functions in accordance with their will. Despite being a part of the Commonwealth, India affirms its stance by not accepting external authority in determining its polity, thus reiterating its commitment to democratic principles.

“Republic” signifies the mode of governance where the head of the State is elected by the people, emphasizing the democratic nature of the Indian polity and the principle of popular sovereignty.

“Socialist” reflects the commitment to ensuring a basic minimum standard of living for all citizens, emphasising the principles of social justice and welfare embedded in the Indian Constitution.

“Secular” underscores the principle of secularism in the Indian context, where the State does not endorse any specific religion but instead respects and treats all religions equally. This principle reaffirms India’s commitment to religious pluralism, ensuring equal protection and support for all religions.

Interestingly, in the Preamble itself, justice and freedom are established as core values, underscoring their vital roles in facilitating the smooth functioning of the State and ensuring fairness at all times. However, the significance of this goes beyond surface-level understanding. When justice and freedom are intertwined, they foster a society where individuals not only possess the liberty to pursue their interests but also enjoy equal access to opportunities and resources. Justice plays a crucial role in safeguarding freedom from arbitrary limitations or disproportionate distribution, while freedom empowers individuals to seek redress when their rights are violated and actively engage in shaping the social and political landscape.

A better way to understand this would be to look at how Amartya Sen theorises this. He says, a theory of justice rooted in fairness should prioritise the effective freedom or capability of individuals to pursue lives that align with their values and aspirations.

In essence, the Preamble to the Indian Constitution serves as a foundational document that embodies the nation’s aspirations, values, and principles. It not only provides a roadmap for governance but also reflects the collective vision of the Indian people for a just, equitable, and inclusive society. As such, it remains a cornerstone of India’s democratic framework, guiding its path towards progress and development. The Preamble makes itself an ideological part of the legal and political document that Indian constitution is.