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Framing The Constitution (Beginning New Era) NCERT Textbook With Solutions PDF Free Download
Chapter 15: Framing The Constitution (The Beginning of A New Era)
The years immediately preceding the making of the Constitution had been exceptionally tumultuous: a time of great hope, but also of abject disappointment. On 15 August 1947, India had been made free, but it had also been divided.
Fresh in popular memory was the Quit India struggle of 1942 – perhaps the most widely popular movement against the British Raj – as well as the bid by Subhas Chandra Bose to win freedom through the armed struggle with foreign aid.
An even more recent upsurge had also evoked much popular sympathy – this was the rising of the ratings of the Royal Indian Navy in Bombay and other cities in the spring of 1946.
Through the late 1940s, there were periodic, if scattered, mass protests of workers and peasants in different parts of the country.
One striking feature of these popular upsurges was the degree of Hindu-Muslim unity they manifested.
In contrast, the two leading Indian political parties, the Congress and the Muslim League, had repeatedly failed to arrive at a settlement that would bring about religious reconciliation and social harmony.
The Great Calcutta Killings of August 1946 began a year of almost continuous rioting across northern and eastern India (see Chapters 13 and 14).
The violence culminated in the massacres that accompanied the transfer of populations when the Partition of India was announced.
On Independence Day, 15 August 1947, there was an outburst of joy and hope, unforgettable for those who lived through that time.
But innumerable Muslims in India, and Hindus and Sikhs in Pakistan, were now faced with a cruel choice – the threat of sudden death or the squeezing of opportunities on the one side, and a forcible tearing away from their age-old roots on the other.
Millions of refugees were on the move, Muslims into East and West Pakistan, Hindus and Sikhs into West Bengal, and the eastern half of Punjab. Many perished before they reached their destination.
Another, and scarcely less serious, problem faced by the new nation was that of the princely states.
During the period of the Raj, approximately one-third of the area of the subcontinent was under the control of nawabs and maharajas who owed allegiance to the British Crown, but were otherwise left mostly free to rule – or misrule – their territory as they wished.
When the British left India, the constitutional status of these princes remained ambiguous.
As one contemporary observer remarked, some maharajas now began “to luxuriate in wild dreams of independent power in an India of many partitions”
The members of the Constituent Assembly were not elected on the basis of universal franchise.
In the winter of 1945-46 provincial elections were held in India. The Provincial legislature then chose the representatives to the Constituent Assembly.
The Constituent Assembly that came into being was dominated by one party: the Congress. The Congress swept the general seats in the provincial elections, and the Muslim League captured most of the reserved Muslim seats.
But the League chose to boycott the Constituent Assembly, pressing its demand for Pakistan with a separate constitution.
The Socialists too were initially unwilling to join, for they believed the Constituent Assembly was a creation of the British, and therefore incapable of being truly autonomous. In effect, therefore, 82 percent of the members of the Constituent Assembly were also members of Congress.
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NCERT Solutions Class 12 History Chapter 15 Framing Constitution Beginning New Era
1. What were the ideals expressed in the Objectives Resolution?
Ans: Jawahar Lai Nehru presented the Objectives Resolution in the Constituent Assembly on 13 December 1946. It gave a brief account of the ideals and objectives of the Constitution. These are the following:
- India was declared an independent sovereign republic.
- Justice, equality, and fraternity were assured to all the citizens of India.
- Adequate safeguards were provided to minorities. It also referred to the well-being of the backward and depressed classes.
- It was made an objective that India would combine the liberal ideas of democracy with the socialist idea of economic justice.
- India would adopt that form of government that would be acceptable to its people. No imposition from the British would be acceptable to the people of India.
- India would work for peace and human welfare.
2. How was the term minority defined by different groups?
Ans: The minority was defined by different groups in the following ways :
- N.G. Ranga, a socialist who had been a leader of the peasant movement, stated that the term minorities be interpreted in economic terms. He emphasized that the real minorities were the poor and the downtrodden i.e., the masses of this country. These include tribal people and poor villagers who are exploited by moneylenders, zamindars, malguzar, and other people.
- Jaipal Singh, an Adibasi, stated that tribes were not a numerical minority but they needed protection. They have been disgracefully treated and neglected for the last 6,000 years. They have been perceived as primitive and backward.
- Dakshayani Velayudhan from Madras refused to believe that seventy million Harijans were to be considered a minority but their social disabilities should be removed.
- J. Nagappa from Madras pointed out that numerically the Depressed Castes were not a minority. They formed between 20 and 25 percent of the total population. They suffered due to their systematic marginalization.
3. What were the arguments in favor of greater power for the provinces?
Ans: K.Santharam, a member of the Madras defended the rights of the states in the Constituent Assembly. He emphasized the need to strengthen the states. He was not in favor of vesting more powers with the Centre.
He was of the opinion the Centre would not be able to perform its duties efficiently in case it is over-burdened. The Centre will become automatically strong if all states are made stronger.
He advocated that the Centre should be given fewer powers and states should be given more powers.
The proposed allocation of powers between the Centre and States was also a matter of concern for K. Santharam. He felt that such a distribution of power would cripple the states.
4. Why did Mahatma Gandhi think Hindustani should be the national language?
Ans: Mahatma Gandhi thought that Hindustani should be the national language. It was a blend of Hindi and Urdu and was a popular language of a large section of the people of India.
Over the years it had incorporated words and terms from very many different sources. It was understood by people from various regions. Mahatma Gandhi thought that this multi-cultural language would be the ideal language of communication between diverse communities.
It could unify the Hindus and Muslims, and the people of the north and the south. He also stated that to confine oneself to Hindi or Urdu would be a crime against intelligence and the spirit of patriotism.
5. What historical forces shaped the vision of the Constitution?
Ans: Following are some historical forces that shaped the vision of the Constitution. Certain basic values were accepted by all national leaders as a result of the Nehru Report and the Resolution passed the Karachi session of the Indian National Congress.
Universal Adult Franchise, Right to Freedom and Equality, and Protection of minority rights were these basic values. After the results of the 1937 elections, Congress and other political parties were able to form governments in the provinces.
This experience with legislative and political institutions helped in developing an agreement over institutional design. Many colonial laws were also the sources of the Indian Constitution.
Government of India Act, 1935 was a major one. This way, the Indian Constitution adopted many institutional details and procedures from the colonial laws.
The French Revolution also inspired the makers of the Constitution. The working of the Parliamentary democracy in Britain and the Bill of Rights in the USA also inspired the framers of the Constitution.
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NCERT Class 12 History Textbook Chapter 15 With Answer PDF Free Download