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The idea of a Preamble to the Indian Constitution was first presented by Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru by submitting an Objectives Resolution in the Constituent Assembly in 1946. The same was taken up for deliberate discussion by the Constituent Assembly on 21st January 1947.

Following is the text of the Objectives Resolution introduced by Jawaharlal Nehru:

“(1) This Constituent Assembly declares its firm and solemn resolve to proclaim India as an Independent Sovereign Republic and to draw up for her future governance a constitution;

  • WHEREIN the territories that now comprise British India, the territories that now form the Indian States, and such other parts of India as are outside British India and the States as well as such other territories as are willing to be constituted into the Independent Sovereign India, shall be a Union of them all; and
  • WHEREIN the said territories, whether with their present boundaries or with such others as may be determined by the Constituent Assembly and thereafter according to the Law of the Constitution, shall possess and retain the status of autonomous Units, together with residuary powers, and exercise all powers and functions of government and administration, save and except such powers and functions as are vested in or assigned to the Union, or as are inherent or implied in the Union or resulting therefrom; and
  • WHEREIN all power and authority of the Sovereign Independent India, its constituent parts and organs of government, are derived from the people; and
  • WHEREIN shall be guaranteed and secured to all the people of India justice, social, economic and political; equality of status, of opportunity, and before the law; freedom of thought, expression, belief, faith, worship, vocation, association and action, subject to law and public morality; and
  • WHEREIN adequate safeguards shall be provided for minorities, backward and tribal areas, and depressed and other backward classes; and
  • WHEREBY shall be maintained the integrity of the territory of the Republic and its sovereign rights on land, sea, and air according to Justice and the law of civilised nations, and
  • this ancient land attains its rightful and honoured place in the world and make its full and willing contribution to the promotion of world peace and the welfare of ”

On careful consideration of the text of the Resolution, one can see that it makes a staunch statement as to the commitment of a post-Independence India to make itself a sovereign nation with the will of the people at its centre. Moreover, concepts and importance of ‘equality’, ‘liberty/freedom’ were introduced and added in quite an extensive manner.

Originally, the Objectives Resolution, now accepted and added as the Preamble to the Constitution of India, speaks greatly about justice, equality and freedom. Each of these have a deeper meaning to include not only the political freedom of the nation but also social, economic and political justice to be ensured. The application of it has a huge impact on people individually and on the nation as a whole.

While understanding justice, it is important to understand that it embodies the concept of social justice, which in essence provides that all the historic social imbalances be addressed and strive to be removed. Through this Resolution, which later evolved into the Preamble, our Constitution eradicates untouchability, prohibits the exploitation of women, children, and other vulnerable groups, safeguards the interests and rights of minorities and tribal communities, and promotes affirmative action to uplift those historically oppressed.

In addition to this, economic and political justice is also embodied with the Resolution. Each individual is entitled to an equitable distribution of resources without prejudice and each individual has an equal in determining the polity of the country.

On ‘equality’, along with highlighting the equality of status, opportunities, as well as before the law, Nehru elaborates and establishes equality as the central theme of the Resolution.

“The Resolution placed before you today has equality as its underlying theme. The different sections of the country have been given autonomy and India as a whole remains one with full sovereignty. We shall stand united in affairs which demand our unity. The one important thing in the Resolution is the recognition of India as a free country. Our country is one and yet we shall give full freedom to its various sections to have for themselves whatever administration they liked. The present division of our country into provinces may change. We shall do justice to all communities and give them full freedom in their social and religious affairs.”

Making a strong statement on attaining political freedom, Nehru also spoke about democracy and how India will also aim at establishing ‘economic democracy’ to further the concepts of equality and justice in a more real sense.

“The House will notice that in this Resolution, although we have not used the word ‘democratic’ because we thought it is obvious that the word ‘republic’ contains that word and we did not want to use unnecessary words and redundant words, but we have done something much more than using the word. We have given the content of democracy in this Resolution and not only the content of democracy but the content, if I may say so, of economic democracy in this Resolution.”

Understanding the spirit behind the Resolution and after many discussions and amendment, the

Preamble to our Constitution was made.

“WE, THE PEOPLE OF INDIA, having solemnly resolved to constitute India into a SOVEREIGN

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 of the Nation;


Note: The words “Socialist” and “Secular” were added later in 1976 by way of the 42nd Amendment.

Now let’s dive deeper into the meaning of ‘liberty’, ‘equality’ and ‘fraternity’ and the practical impact it has when read together. This not only makes our Preamble and our Constitution fuller but also aids practical implementation and realisation of these sentiments in our day-to-day lives.

Liberty and equality are foundational principles that underpin the functioning of a democratic society, but their practical significance is contingent upon the presence of fraternity. Fraternity, often referred to as brotherhood or solidarity, is essential for the effective realisation of both liberty and equality in practice. While liberty grants individuals the freedom to pursue their interests and exercise their rights, it must be tempered by a sense of responsibility towards others in society.

Fraternity fosters a sense of collective responsibility and mutual respect among citizens, ensuring that individual liberty is exercised in a manner that respects the rights and dignity of others.

Similarly, equality would lack practical significance without fraternity because it relies on a sense of solidarity and empathy among citizens. While legal and institutional frameworks may guarantee equality before the law, genuine equality requires a commitment to addressing systemic injustices and disparities. Fraternity fosters a sense of collective identity and shared purpose, encouraging individuals to stand in solidarity and advocate for equitable treatment.

In essence, fraternity complements and reinforces the principles of liberty and equality by promoting a sense of community, mutual support, and shared responsibility. With fraternity, a sense of brotherhood would be introduced across the society and then we all will be on the same platform in all senses.