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We, the People

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The current anti-Citizenship (Amendment) Act (CAA) protests that are happening in India lead one to offer at least two conceptions of “we, the people,” which is the opening expression of the preamble to the Indian Constitution. Arguably, the expression with which the preamble begins can be seen in terms of its abstractness in the sense that it does not refer to an individual or to social groups. The expression that was echoed on 26 January 1950 was hypothetical inasmuch as it assumed people’s endorsement to the Constitution that was mediated through the spokesperson of each social group.

“We, the people,” the premium expression of the Constitution connotes an abstract if not an imprecise sense. Generally speaking, the word “we” in the expression seeks to identify those who belonged to India on the eve of the promulgation of the Constitution on 26 January 1950. The “we” further indicates that the people who are constitutive of the above expression and share a general identification, irrespective of their specific leanings to religion, region, caste, and gender, do belong to India. However, it is historically true that the wider process of constitution-making did contain multiple expressions of different voices. And yet, the leaders representing these specific voices had to merge into a consensus on the original meaning that is embedded in the preamble. The original meaning, which extends to the fundamental principles of the Constitution, theoretically induced people into accepting the importance of being sovereign, socialist, secular, and democratic. “We,” thus, was seen as a collective endorsement of these principles. This is how the concept or the expression “we, the people’’ was produced through consensus.

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Updated On : 28th Jan, 2020

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