Important Questions for Class 12 History Chapter 15 Framing the Constitution (The Beginning of a New Era)
Important Questions for Class 12 History Chapter 15 – 2 Marks Questions
Why is ‘Objective Resolution’ of Nehru considered as momentous resolution? Give two reasons? (HOTS; Delhi 2013)
Objective resolution was considered as momentous resolution because:
- It outlined the defining ideals of Constitution of Independent India and provided framework within which constitution making was to be proceeded.
- It proclaimed India to be an “Independent Sovereign Republic”.
Mention any two arguments given by Balakrishna Sharma for greater power to the centre. (All India 2013)
Balakrishna Sharma said following things in favour for greater power to the centre:
- He said strong centre could plan for well-being of the country and it can mobilise the available economic resources of the country.
- Strong centre can establish proper administration and defend the country against foreign invasion.
Important Questions for Class 12 History Chapter 15 – 4 Marks Questions
Describe the different arguments made in favour of protection on of depressed class in the Constituent Assembly. (All India 2017)
The following arguments were made in favour of protection of depressed classes in the Constituent Assembly:
1. It was realised that the depressed classes especially tribals and untouchables needed special attention and safeguards to raise their status in society and provide them equality. But some members of the depressed class emphasised that the problem of the “Untouchables” could not be resolved through protection and safeguards alone.
2. These members believed that the disabilities of the depressed class were caused by the social norms and the moral values of caste divided society. The depressed class had been left in isolation with this belief that they are not born to be fit in the civil society.
Their suffering was due to their systematic marginalisation. They had no aceess to education and also had no share in the administration.
Thus, in the Constituent Assembly many recognised that social discrimination could not solve only through constitutional legislation, there had to be a change in the attitudes within society.
“The discussions within the Constituent Assembly were also influenced by the opinions expressed by the public”.
Examine the statement. (HOTS; Delhi 2012)
The public opinion had a considerable effect on the discussions of the Constituent Assembly that were:
- There was public debate on all the resolutions.
- The newspapers reported the arguments presented by different members on any issue.
- Criticisms and counter criticism in the press shaped the nature of the consensus that was ultimately reached on specific issues.
- Suggestions from the public was also welcomed which created a sense of collective participation.
- Many linguistic minorities demanded protection of their mother tongue. Religious minorities asked for special safeguards.
- The groups low caste or dalits demanded an end to ill-treatments by upper caste people and reservation of separate seats on the basis of their population in legislatures.
- Important issues of cultural rights and social justice raised in the public discussions were debated in the Assembly.
- In the same way, groups of religious minorities came forward and asked for special safeguards.
“A communist member Somnath Lahiri saw the dark hand of British . imperialism hanging over the deliberations of the Constituent Assembly”. Examine the statement and give your own views in support of your answer. (All India 2012)
The statement implies that Somnath Lahiri saw the influence of the British imperialism over the deliberations of the Constituent Assembly.
As a result, he urged the members to completely free themselves from the influences of imperial rule. During the winter of 1946-47, when the assembly was constituted, the British were still in India.
An interim administration headed by • Jawaharlal Nehru was in place, but it could only operate under the directions of the viceroy and the British Government in London. Lahiri exhorted his colleagues to realise that the Constituent Assembly was British made and was working on the British plans as the British should like it to be worked out.
Important Questions for Class 12 History Chapter 15 – 8 Marks Questions
“Within the Constituent Assembly of India the language issue was intensely debated”. Examine the views put forward by members of the assembly on the issue. (All India 2016)
The language issue was intensely debated in the Constituent Assembly. R.V. Dhulekar, Shrimati G. Durgabai, Shri Shankarrao Deo and T.A. Ramalingam Chettiar were prominent members of the Constituent Assembly who gave their remarkable views on language.
R.V. Dhulekar, a Congressman from the United Provinces, made a strong plea that Hindi must be used as the language of constitution making. He stated! “People who are present in this house to fashion a constitution for India and do not know Hindustani are not worthy to be member of this Assembly. They better leave”. Many members of the Assembly became agitated and the controversy regarding language continued over the next three years.
After three years, the Language Committee of the Constituent Assembly had produced its report. The committee tried to give a compromise formula to resolve the dead lock between those who advocated Hindi as the national language and those who opposed it. The committee suggested Hindi in the Devanagari script would be the official language along with English. But this solution could not satisfy members like Dhulekar who wanted to see Hindi as the national language of India.
Shrimati G. Durgabai from Madras expressed her worry that this controversy made the non-Hindi speaking people to think that other powerful languages of India would be neglected and it was an obstacle for the composite culture of our nation. She informed the House that the opposition in the South against Hindi was very strong. She said “The opponents feel perhaps justly that this propaganda for Hindi cuts at the very root of the provincial languages”.
She along with many others had obeyed the call of Mahatma Gandhi and carried on Hindi propaganda in the South. She accepted Hindustani as the language of the people. But its character was changed as it took many Urdu words and regional vocabulary. Durgabai believed this composite character of Hindustani was bound to create anxieties and fears among different language groups.
Shri Shankarrao Deo, a member from Bombay, a Congressman and a follower of Mahatma Gandhi accepted Hindustani as a language of the nation. But he warned “If you want my whole-hearted support (for Hindi) you must not do now any thing which may arise my suspicions and which will strengthen my fears”.
T. A. Ramalingam Chettiar from Madras suggested that whatever was done had to be done with caution. Because the cause of Hindi would not be helped if it was pushed too aggressively. There would be fear and bitter feelings among people if Hindi was applied forcefully, although the people might be unjustified. So he believed that to form a united nation “there should be mutual adjustment and no question of forcing things on people.”In this way different members of the Constituent Assembly expressed their views regarding the controversy.
How did Constituent Assembly of India protected the powers of the Central government? Explain. (All India 2016)
India achieved its independence on 15 th August, 1947 and was also divided into two parts i.e. India and Pakistan. Before the partition, the Constituent Assembly did not communicated itself in commendation of a strong Central Government, but after the declaration of partition on 3rd June, 1947, Constituent Assembly considered itself free from all restrictions inflicted by Cabinet Mission and political pressures. Constituent Assembly decided to opt for a federation alongwith strong centre. There were arguments in favour of strong provinces which evoked powerful reactions from the leaders who preferred strong centre.
Dr BR Ambedkar and Jawaharalal Nehru propounded a strong Central Government for India. They mentioned to the riots’and violences that were fearing the nation apart and stated that only a strong centre can stop the communal disharmony. Balakrishna Sharma focussed on length of the nation and stated that only a centre, which was powerful could plan for the well-being of the country. Strong centre would help in mobilising available economic resources and proper administration was possible only through strong centre only.
In spite of arguments of the centre has likely to break or inefficiency of the centre, the rights of the states were most impressively defended by K Santhanam from Madras. Also the decision of the Constituent Assembly to have a strong centre was occasioned by the situations in which it was taken. Most of the members felt that strong centre was the need of the hour. It was necessary to ensure peace, prosperity and political stability, and hence, Gopalaswami Ayyangar requested to make centre as strong as possible.
Important Questions for Class 12 History Chapter 15 Source Based Question
“There cannot be any divided loyalty”
Govind Ballabh Pant argued that in order to become loyal citizens people had to stop focusing only on the community and the self.
For the success of democracy one must train himself in the art of self discipline.
In Democracies one should care less for himself and more for others. There cannot be any divided loyalty. All loyalties must exclusively be centred round the state. If in a democracy, you create rival loyalties, or you create a system in which any individual or group, instead of suppressing his extravagance, cares nought for larger or other interests, then democracy is doomed.
- Why did Govind Ballabh Pant lay more stress on the art of self-discipline?
- What was considered important for the success of democracy?
- ‘In Democracies one should care less for himself and more for other.’ Give your views on this philosopy. (Delhi 2015)
1. Govind Ballabh Pant suggested that to make democracy successful, one should be self disciplined. Individual should care less for personal gain and focus more on collective benefit or for others gain in democracy. So a trait of sacrifice should be present in every citizen and this character of sacrifice can be learned through discipline.
2. For success of democracy, there should not be divided loyality and it must be centred round the state and citizens
should care less for themselves and more for fellow citizens.
3. This philosophy of democracy suggests that one should be considerate towards other, nothing should be done for personal gain which can harm the interest of other person or large section of people. This philosophy promotes the feeling of people centric benefits instead of individual centric.
‘We are not just going to copy’
We say that it is our firm and solemn resolve to have an independent sovereign republic. India is bound to be sovereign, it is bound to be independent and it is bound to be a republic….Now, some friends have raised the question “Why have you not put in the word ‘democratic’ here.?” Well, I told them that it is conceivable of course, that a republic may not be democratic but the whole of our past is witness to this fact that we stand for democratic institutions.
Obviously, we are aiming at democracy and nothing less than a democracy. What form of democracy, what shape it might take is another matter. The democracies of the present day, many of them in Europe and elsewhere, have played a great part in the world’s progress. Yet it may be doubtful if those democracies may not have to change their shape somewhat before long if they have to remain completely democratic. We are not going just to copy, I hope, a certain democratic procedure or an institution of a so-called democratic country.
We may improve upon it. In any event whatever system of government we may establish here must fit in with the temper of our people and be acceptable to them. We stand for democracy. It will be for this House to determine what shape to be given to that democracy, the fullest democracy, I hope 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 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 context, also, if I may say so of economic democracy in this resolution. Others might take objection to this Resolution on the grounds that we have not said that it should be a Socialist State.
Well, I stand for Socialism and, I hope, India will stand for Socialism and that India will go towards the Constitution of a Socialist State and I do believe that the whole world will have to go that way.
- Explain why Nehru did not mention the word democratic in the resolution.
- Mention the three basic features of the constitution given in the above passage.
- On what kind of socialism did Nehru give stress to? (Delhi 2014)
1. The explanation given by Jawaharlal Nehru for not using the term ‘Democratic’ in the objective resolution is as follows:
(a) It was thought by the makers of the constitution that the word ‘republic’ contains that word.
(b) They did not want to use unnecessary and redundant words.
(c) They had given the content of democracy in the resolution especially democracy.
2. Three basic features of the constitution given in above passage are independent, sovereign, republic.
3. Nehru was supporter of Socialism and he said that India would stand for socialism, where every citizen would be provided equal opportunities for growth and development. There would be economic democracy and economic justice.
“British element is gone but they have left the mischief behind”
Sardar Vallabh Bhai Patel said
It is no use saying that we ask for separate electorates, because it is good for us. We have heard it long enough. We have heard it for years, and as a result of this agitation we are now a separate nation… Can you show me one free country where there are separate electorates? If so, I shall be prepared to accept it. But in this unfortunate country if this separate electorate is going to be persisted in, even after the division of the country, woe betide the country; it is not worth living in. Therefore, I say, it is not for my good alone, it is for your own good that I say it, forget the past.
One day, we may be united… The British element is gone, but they have left the mischief behind. We do not want to perpetuate that mischief. (Hear, hear).
When the British introduced this element they had not expected that they have to go so soon. They wanted it for their easy administration. That is all right. But they have left the legacy behind. Are we to get out of it or not?
- Why are separate electorates considered as a mischief?
- State the arguments given by Sardar Vallabh Bhai Patel for building political unity and forging a nation.
- How did the philosophy of separate electorates result in a separate nation? (All India 2015)
- Explain Sardar Vallabh Bhai Patel’s views on the issue of separate electorate system.
- In what ways did Sardar Patel explain that “The British element is gone, but they have left the mischief behind”?
- Mention the reasons behind Sardar Patel urging the assembly members to get rid of separate electorate.
(All India 2014)
1. Separate electorate was considered as a mischief because in the name of giving representation to minorities and making the administration easy, Britishers divided two major communities of India politically. Later, this issue of separate electorate played an important role in partition of the country.
2. Patel said in an assembly that there was no provision of separate electorate in any free country. He further said that separate electorate could not deliver any good, so it was better to forget it. For political unity he said, this electorate had to go. British introduced the policy of divide and rule. After the British we should reject.it for the sake of the unity of our nation.
3. Philosophy of separate electorate saw Hindus and Muslims as separate political identity. It believed that interest of Hindus and Muslims were not common, so to represent Muslims there should be a Muslim only, similarly for Hindu only Hindu should represent. This policy separated the people on the basis of religion and started to keep one community isolated from another politically. It was there to divide Indians on the basis of religion.
1. According to Sardar Vallabh Bhai Patel, separate electorates would be suicidal to the minorities and would do tremendous harm to them and the whole society. It was a demand that had turned one community against another, divided the nation, caused , bloodshed and led to the tragic
partition of the country. He argued that it would permanently isolate the minorities, make them vulnerable and deprive them of any effective say within the government.
2. Sardar Patel said that British policy of separate electorate created a division in the people of India and divided them on the basis of religion. This division culminated with partition of the country Britishers have left the country but negative consequence of that policy still haunted Indians.
3. Sardar Patel was urging for no separate electorates because it may harm the unity of the country as such no country is in the world having separate electorates.
“That is Very Good, Sir-Bold Words, Noble Words”
Somnath Lahiri said: Well, Sir, I must congratulate Pandit Nehru for the fine expression he gave to the spirit of the Indian people when he said that no imposition from the British will be accepted by the Indian people.
Imposition would be resented and objected to he said and he added that if need be we will walk to the valley of struggle. That is very good, Sir-bold words, noble words.
But the point is to see when and how are you going to apply that challenge. Well Sir the point is that the imposition is here right now.
Not only has the British plan made any future Constitution dependent on a treaty satisfactory to the Britisher but it suggests that for every little difference you will have to run to the Federal Court or dance attendance there in England or to call on the British Prime Minister Clement Attlee or someone else.
Not only is it a fact that this Constituent Assembly, whatever plans we may be hatching, we are under the shadow of British guns. British Army, their economic and financial stranglehold-which means that the final power is still in the British hands and the question of power has not yet been finally decided which means the future is not yet completely in our hands. Not only that, but the statements made by Attlee and others recently have made it clear that if need be, they will even threaten you with division entirely.
This means Sir there is no freedom in this country. As Sardar Vallabh Bhai Patel put in some days ago, we have freedom only to fight among ourselves. That is the only freedom we have got…therefore, our humble suggestion is that it is not a question of getting something by working out this plan but to declare independence here and now and call upon the Interim government and call upon the people of India to stop fratricidal warfare and look out against its enemy, which still had the whip in hand of the British imperialism and go together to fight it and then resolve our claim afterward when we will be free.
- Why did Somnath Lahiri congratulate Pandit Nehru?
- Explain why Somnath feels that the absence of constitution will mean dependence on the British.
- How did he feel that final power was still in hands of the British?
- Explain the views of Sardar Vallabh Bhai Patel.
- Explain the intentions of the British in not framing the Constitution beforehand. What did they want?
(Delhi 2012, 2010)
1. Somnath Lahiri congratulated Pandit Nehru for his fine expression that gave to the Indian people, when he said no imposition from the British would be accepted by India which was his true spirit for India and its free people.
2. Somnath felt that in the absence of Constitution for every basic law and rule, there would be need to refer to British government. British would obviously want control over the governance. So he felt that Indians should draft their own constitution according to their will and will of people, so it could be truly, independent and free.
3. Somnath Lahiri feels that although we have made our constitution but still we are not free. We are under British Army, British economic and financial stranglehold and this means that final power is still in the hands of British.
4. According to Sardar Vallabh Bhai Patel, we had freedom to fight only among ourselves, there was as such no freedom in our country.
5. The intentions of the British in not framing the constitution beforehand can be explained in the context of their convenience. It suggested that for every little difference, one would have to run to the federal court or act on the rule of the Government of England or to call on the British Prime Minister Clement Attlee.
We are not Just Going to Copy’
This is what Jawaharlal Nehru said in his famous speech of 13th December, 1946.
My mind goes back to the various Constituent Assemblies that have gone before and of what took place at the making of the great American nation when the father of that nation met and fashioned out a Constitution which has stood the test of so many years, more than a century and a half and of the great nation which has resulted, which has been built up on the basis of that construction.
My mind goes back to that mighty revolution, which took place also over 150 years ago and to that Constituent Assembly that met in that gracious and lovely city or Paris which has fought so many battles for freedom, to the difficulties than that Constituent Assembly had and to now the king and other authorities came in its way and still it continued.
The house will remember that when these difficulties came and even the room for a meeting was denied to the Constituent Assembly, they took themselves to an open tennis court and met there and took the oath, which is called the Oath of the Tennis Court that they continued meeting inspite of kings, inspite of the others and did not disperse till they had finished the task they had undertaken.
Well I trust that it is in that solemn spirit that we too are meeting here and that we too whether we meet in this chamber or other chambers or in the fields or in the market place will go on meeting and continue our work till we have finished it.
- How was the American Constitution finalised and explain its results?
- What does Nehru’s determination to pass the Constitution show? Explain any two such difficulties that were faced by the Constituent Assembly. (Delhi 2010)
1. American Constitution was finalised when fathers of that Constitution met and fashioned out a Constitution. As a result, this Constitution stood the test of so many years.
2. Nehru’s determination to pass ‘The Constitution’ shows that our leaders were determined to establish parliamentary democracy in India and they were not ready to copy from other Constitution. But dedication and spirit were things that they wanted to copy. Two such difficulties faced by Constituent Assembly were:
- There was no hall for meeting.
- Kings and other authorities were not too willing and thus, posed hurdles in the making of Constitution.
“The Real Minorities are the Masses Of this country”
Welcoming the Objectives Resolution introduced by Jawaharlal Nehru, NG Ranga said. Sir, there is a lot of talk about minorities. Who are the real minorities? Not the Hindus in the so-called Pakistan provinces, not the Sikhs, not even the Muslims. No, the real minorities are the masses of this country.
These people are so depressed and oppressed and suppressed till now that they are not able to take advantage of the ordinary civil rights. What is the position? You go to the tribal areas. According to law, their own traditional . law, their tribal law, their lands, cannot be alienated.
Yet our merchants go there and in the so-called free market they are able to snatch their lands. Thus, even though the law goes against this snatching away of their lands, still the merchants are able to turn the tribal people into veritable slaves by various kinds of bonds and make them hereditary bond-slaves.
Let us go to the ordinary villagers. There goes the money lender with his money and he is able to get the villagers in his pocket. There is the landlord himself, the zamindar and the malguzar and there are the various other people who are able to exploit these poor villagers. There is no elementary education even among these people. These are the real minorities that need protection and assurances of protection. In order to give them the necessary protection, we will need much more than this Resolution…
- How is the notion of minority defined by NG Ranga?
Who are the real minorities according to Shri NG Ranga and why?
- Do you agree with Ranga? If not, mention who are real minorities according to you and why?
- Explain the conditions of ordinary villagers.
- Describe the living condition of the tribals. (All India 2010)
1. According to Shri NG Ranga, the real minorities were the poor and downtrodden, especially the tribals because these people are so depressed, oppressed and suppressed till now that they are not able to take advantage of the ordinary civil rights.
2. I agree with Ranga that masses of this country are real minorities because these people have been depressed, suppressed and oppressed from the very long time.
3. The conditions of ordinary villagers
- According to NG Ranga the life of ordinary villagers is miserable since they remain subjugated and exploited in the hands of the landlords, zamindars and the malguzars.
- Secondly, there is no elementary education even among these people.
- According to NG Ranga, these are the real minorities that need protection and assurances.
4. According to Professor NG Ranga, the living conditions of the tribals can be described as follows:
- According to tribal law, the tribals cannot be alienated from their lands in their own areas but they were being alienated.
- When the merchants go to the lands of tribals, they snatch their lands. The merchants were able to turn the tribal people into veritable slaves by various kinds of bonds and make them hereditary bond slaves.
“I Believe Separate Electorates will be Suicidal to the Minorities”
During the debate on 27th August, 1947, Govind Ballabh Pant said. I believe separate electorates will be suicidal to the minorities and will do them tremendous harm. If they are isolated forever, they can never convert themselves into a majority and the feeling of frustrations will cripple them even from the very beginning. What is that you desire and what is our ultimate objective? Do the minorities always want to remain as minorities or do they ever expect to form an integral part of a great nation and as such to guide and control its destinies?
If they do can they ever achieve that aspiration and that ideal if they are isolated from the rest of the community? I think it would be extremely dangerous for them if they were segregated from the rest of the community and kept aloof in an air-tight compartment where they would have to rely on others even for the air they breathe. The minorities if they are returned by separate electorates can never have any effective voice.
- Why were some Muslims, like Begum Aizaz Rasul against it?
- What are separate electorates?
- Why did GB Pant feel separate electorate would be suicidal for the minorities? (Delhi 2008)
- Do you think that seats should be reserved for Muslims and other minorities in educational institutions? Give one argument for or against it.
1. Not all Muslims supported the demand for separate electorates. Begum Aizaz Rasul felt that separate electorates were self-destructive, since they isolated the minorities from the majority.
2. It was political arrangements where the seats were reserved for minority candidates. Means Muslim candidates in the election would be voted by only Muslim members. This was done to give representation to Muslims in the governance of the country.
3. Views put forward by GB Pant against the system of separate electorates were:
- It would be suicidal to minorities and would tremendously harm them.
- It would be difficult for them to be an integral part of a nation and as such guide and control their destinies.
- They would have to always be dependent upon others.
- In this way, if they were returned by separate electorates, they could never have an effective voice.
4. In my opinion, there should not be any reservation for Muslims and other minorities because it will make the minorities being isolated which will cripple them from the beginning.
Important Questions for Class 12 History Chapter 15 Value Based Questions
Read the following passage and answer the question that follows. (Delhi 2016)
Every citizen in a free state should be treated in a manner that satisfied not only his material wants but also his spiritual sense of the self respect and the majority community has an obligation to try and understand the problems of the minorities and empathise with their aspirations.
- How could a citizen of a free nation express his imbibed value of equality and social justice while dealing with the members of the minority community? Explain.
1. Majority community should understand the problem of their brothers from minority community and . empathise with their aspirations.
Constitution has granted its every citizen right to equality. Majority community should protect the rights of minorities and prevent them from discrimination. Majority community should keep in mind that culture of the majoritarian community should not dominate over the minorities and minorities culture and customs should be protected.
- Why did Mahatma Gandhi think Hindustani should be the national language?
- How did the Constituent Assembly seek to resolve the language controversy? (All India 2010)
1. Mahatma Gandhi thought that Hindustani should be the national language because of following reasons:
The common people could easily understand it.
Blend of Diverse Cultures:
Hindustani was a blend of Hindi and Urdu and was a composite language enriched by interaction of diverse cultures.
Ideal Language of Communication between Diverse Cultures:
It would help to unify Hindus and Muslims and the people from North and South.
2. The language committee of the Constituent Assembly had submitted its report and thought of a composite formula to resolve the deadlock between those who advocated Hindi as the national language and those who opposed it.
- How was the concept of separate electorates erratic? Explain by giving examples from the Constituent Assembly.
- “I believed separate electorates will be suicidal to the minorities” How far these view of GB Pant are relevant in contemporary India? (Delhi 2008)
1. Intense debate took place in the Constituent Assembly on the issue of separate electorate. Some were in favour of it and many nationalist leaders saw this system as a tool to divide people on the basis of religion and they believed that this idea finally culminated in partition of the country.
Sarder Patel strongly declared that separate electorate was a poison that has entered the body of politics of our contry and instigate one community against other caused bloodshed, riots and partition. So, for peace we need to remove separate electorate.
2. According to GB Pant, separate electorates would be suicidal to the minorities. By doing this, there would be tremendous harm to the minority sections, they would remain isolated forever. The feelings of isolation and frustration would cripple them from the very beginning.
Isolation would be extremely dangerous for them if they were segregated from the rest of the community. Through separate electorates, they could never have any effective voice.