Understanding the Preamble: IIT-B professor Amit Singh deconstructs the phrase 'We, the people of India'

The words of the Preamble to the Indian Constitution, like the National Anthem, come easily to our lips.

“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.”

And yet, glibly though we pronounce these words, few among us have dwelt on and fully understood their meaning.

A lecture series organised by the IIT-Bombay for Justice group between 16-26 January 2020 attempts to address just this gap.

Even as the passage of the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) in India has shown up the fault lines amid the people of this country, IIT-Bombay for Justice’s Preamble lecture series endeavours to go back to the basics; to examine what it means to be a “sovereign socialist secular democratic republic”, to reaffirm the ideals enshrined in the Constitution — justice, liberty, equality, fraternity — that Indians must hold on to, more than ever in these fractured times.

The lectures from the Preamble series can now be accessed on Firstpost. More from the series, here.


In lecture 6, Amit Singh, assistant professor, Department of Mechanical Engineering — IIT Bombay, analyses the Preamble's opening phrase — "We, the People of India". Watch it here:

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Updated Date: Feb 12, 2020 09:33:03 IST