Monday, March 28, 2011


India is a Union of States and Union Territories. It is a sovereign socialist secular democratic republic, with a parliamentary system of government. The Republic is governed in terms of the constitution which was adopted by the Constituent Assembly on November 26, 1949 and came into force on January 26, 1950.

The constitution which envisages parliamentary form of government is federal in structure with unitary features. President of India is constitutional head of executive of the Union. Article 74(1) of the constitution provides that there shall be a Council of Ministers with the Prime Minister as head to aid and advise the President who shall in exercise of his functions, act in accordance with such advice. Real executive power thus vests in the Council of Ministers with the Prime Minister as head. Council of Ministers is collectively responsible to the Lok Sabha. Similarly, in states, Governor is head of the executive, but it is the Council of Ministers with Chief Minister as head in whom real executive power vests. Council of Ministers of a state is collectively responsible to the State Legislative Assembly or the Vidhan Sabha.

The constitution distributes legislative power between the Parliament and state legislatures and provides for resting of residual powers in Parliament. The power to amend the constitution also vests in Parliament. The constitution has provision for independence of judiciary, Comptroller and Auditor General, Public Service Commissions and the Chief Election Commissioner.

The States and the Union Territories
India comprises 26 States and 6 Union Territories. The names of States are: Andhra Pradesh, Assam, Arunachal Pradesh, Bihar, Delhi, Goa, Gujarat, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir, Karnataka, Kerala, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland, Orissa, Punjab, Rajasthan, Sikkim, Tamil Nadu, Tripura, Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal. The Union Territories are: Andaman and Nicobar Islands, Chandigarh, Dadra and Nagar Haveli, Daman and Diu, Lakshadweep, and Pondicherry.

The constitution of India provides for a single and uniform citizenship for whole of India. Every person who was at the commencement of the constitution (January 26, 1950), domiciled in the territory of India and : (a) who was born in the territory of India or (b) either of whose parents was born in the territory of India, or (c) who has been ordinarily resident in the territory of India for not less than five years immediately preceding such commencement, shall be a citizen of India. The Citizenship Act, 1955 provides for acquisition and termination of citizenship after the commencement of constitution.

Fundamental Rights
The constitution offers all citizens, individually and collectively some basic freedoms. These are guaranteed in the constitution in the form of broad categories of Fundamental Rights which are justiciable. Article 12 to 35 contained in Part III of the constitution deal with Fundamental Rights. These are : (i) Right to equality before law, prohibition of discrimination on grounds of religion, race, caste, sex, or place of birth and equality of opportunity in matters of employment; (ii) Right of freedom of speech and expression, assembly, association or union, movement, residence and the right to practice any profession or occupation (some of these rights are subject to the security of the state, friendly relations with foreign countries, public order, decency

or morality); (iii) Right against exploitation, prohibiting all forms of forced labour, child labour, and traffic in human beings; (iv) Right to freedom of conscience and free profession, practice and propagation of religion; (v) Right of any section of citizens conserve their culture, language or script and right of minorities to establish and administer educational institutions of their choice; and (vi) Right to constitutional remedies for enforcement of Fundamental Rights.

Fundamental Duties
By the 42nd Amendment to the constitution, adopted in 1976, Fundamental Duties of the citizens have also been enumerated. Article 51 ‘A’ contained in Part IV A of the constitution deals with Fundamental Duties. These enjoin upon a citizen, among other things, to abide by the constitution, to cherish and follow noble ideals which inspired our national struggle for freedom, to defend the country and to render national service, when called upon to do so and to promote
harmony and spirit of common brotherhood amongst all people of India, transcending religious, linguistic and regional or sectional diversities.

Directive Principles of State Policy

The constitution lays down certain Directive Principles of State Policy which though not justiciable are “fundamental in governance of the country” and it is ‘the duty of the state to apply these principles in making law. These lay down that the state shall strive to promote welfare of people by securing and protecting as effectively as it may, a social order in which justice — social, economic and political , — shall inform all institutions of national life. The state shall direct its policy in such a manner as to secure the right of all men and women to work, education and to public assistance in the event of unemployment, old age, sickness and disablement other cases of undeserved want. The state shall also endeavour to secure to workers a living wage, humane conditions of work, a decent standard of life and full involvement of workers in the management of industries.

In economic sphere the state is to direct its policy in such a manner as to secure distribution of ownership and control of material resources of community to subserve the common good and to ensure that operation of economic system does not result in concentration of wealth and means of production to common detriment.

Some of the other important directives relate to provision of opportunities and facilities for children to develop in a healthy manner.


Wednesday, March 16, 2011


National Flag
National Flag is a horizontal tri-colour of deep saffron (kesari) at the top, white in the middle and dark green at the bottom in equal proportion. Ratio of the width of the flag to its length is two to three. In the centre of the white band is a navy blue wheel which represents the Charkha. Its design is that of the wheel which appears on the abacus of the Sarnath Lion Capital of Ashoka. Its diameter approximates to the width of the white band and it has 24 spokes.
The design of the National Flag was adopted by the Constituent Assembly of India on July 22, 1947. Its use and display are regulated by Flag Code-India.

State Emblem
State emblem is an adaptation from the Sarnath Lion Capital of Ashoka. In the original, there are four lions standing back to back mounted on an abacus with a frieze carrying sculptures in high relief of an elephant, a galloping horse, a bull and a lion separated by intervening wheels over a bell-shaped lotus. Carved out of a single block of polished sandstone, the capital is crowned by the Wheel of the Law (Dharma Chakra).

In the state emblem adopted by the Government of India on 26 January, 1950, only three lions are visible, the fourth being hidden from view. The wheel appears in relief in the centre of the abacus with a bull on right and a horse on left and the outlines of ether wheels on extreme right and left, the bell-shaped lotus has been omitted. The words Satyameva Jayate fom Mundaka Upnishad, meaning ‘Truth Alone Triumphs’ are inscribed below the abacus in the Devanagri script.

National Anthem
The song Jana-gana-mana, composed by Rabindranath Tagore, was adopted by the Constituent Assembly as the national anthem of India on January 24, 1950. It had been first sung on December 27, 1911 at the Calcutta session of the Indian National Congress. The complete song consists of five stanzas. First stanza consists full version of the National Anthem. It reads:

Jana-gana-mana-adhinayaka, jaya he
Punjab-Sindhu-Gujrata -Maratha
Tava shubha name jage,

Tava-shubha asisa mange,
Gahe tava jaya gatha,
Jana-gana-mangala-dayaka- jaya he
Jaya he, jaya he, jaya he,
Jaya jaya jaya, jaya he.

Playing time of the full version of the national anthem is approximately 52 seconds. A short version consisting of first and last lines of the stanza (playing time is approximately 20 seconds) is also played on certain occasions. The following is Tagore’s English rendering of the stanza:

Thou art the ruler of the minds of all people, dispenser of India’s destiny.
Thou name rouses the hearts of Punjab, Sind, Gujarat and Maratha,
of the Dravida, and Orissa and Bengal; It echoes the hills of the Vindhyas and Himalayas, mingles in the music of Jamuna and Ganga and is chanted by the waves of the Indian Sea. They pray for thy blessings and sing thy praise. The saving of all people waits in thy hand, thou dispenser of India’s destiny. Victory, Victory, Victory to thee.

National Song
The song Vande Matram, composed by Bankim Chandra Chatterji, was a great source of inspiration to the people in their struggle for freedom. It has an equal status with with Jana-gana-mana. The first political occasion when it was sung was the 1896 session of the Indian National Congress. The following is the text of its first stanza:

Vande Matram!
Sujalam, Suphalam, malayaja shitalam,
Shasyashyamalam, Mataram,
Shubhrajyosthana pulakitayaminim
Phullakusumita drumandala shobhinim,
Suhasinim sumadhura bhashinim,
Sukhadam varadam, Mataram!

English translation of the stanza rendered by Sri Aurobindo Ghosh in prose is:

I bow to thee, mother,
richly watered, richly fruited,
cool with the winds of the south,
dark with the crops of the harvests,
The Mother!
Her nights rejoicing in the glory of the moonlight, her lands clothed beautifully with her trees in flowering bloom, sweet of laughter, sweet of speech,
The Mother, giver of boons, giver of bliss.

National calendar
National Calendar based on the Saka era with Chaitra as its first month and a normal year of 365 days was adopted from March 22, 1957 along with Georgian calendar for the following official purposes: (i) Gazette of India, (ii) News Broadcasts by All India Radio, (iii) calendars issued by the Government of India, (iv) Government communications addressed to the members of public.

Dates of the national calendar have a permanent correspondence with dates of Georgian calendar: Chaitra 1 falling on March 22 normally and on March 21 in leap year.

National Animal
The magnificent tiger, Panthera tigris (Linnaeus), the national animal of India, is a rich-coloured well-striped animal with a short coat. The combination of grace, strength, agility and enormous power has earned the tiger great respect and high esteem. Out of eight species known, the Indian race, the Royal Bengal Tiger is found throughout the country except the north-western region and also in the neighbouring countries, Nepal, Bhutan and Bangladesh. To check the dwindling population of tigers in India ‘Project Tiger” was launched in April 1973. So far, 23 tiger reserves have been established in the country under this project, covering an area of 33,046 sq km.

National Bird
The Indian Peacock, Pavo cristatus (Linnaeus), the national bird of India, is a colourful swan sized bird with a fan-shaped crest of feathers on its head, a white patch under the eye and a long slender neck. The male of the species is more colourful than the female with a glistening blue breast and neck and a spectacular bronze-green tail of around 200 elongated feathers. The female is a brownish, slightly smaller than the male and it lacks the tail. The elaborate courtship dance of the male by fanning out the tail and quivering the feathers is a gorgeous sight.

The peacock is widely found in the Indian sub continent from the south and east of the Indus river, Jammu and Kashmir, east to Assam, south to Mizoram and the whole of the Indian peninsula. The peacock enjoys full protection from the people as it is never molested on religious and sentimental grounds. It is also protected under the Indian Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972.

Monday, March 14, 2011


It was William Shakespeare who, in a funny situation in ‘Twelfth Alight’, made one of his characters say, “Some are born great, some achieve greatness and some have greatness thrust upon them.” The light statement applies seriously to the life of Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru. He was born great, being the son of Pandit Motilal Nehru who was one of the top most successful lawyers of India earning a lot of money and who, it is said, got his clothes washed in Paris. He achieved greatness through his great contribution to struggle for freedom before independence and as an architect of modern India after independence. And he had greatness thrust upon him by the Indian masses who lavished liberal praises on him and made him the darling of their eyes. He was the first Prime Minister of free India and continued to be so till he died in harness in 1964. No other Indian leader influenced national and international politics so much as Nehru did.

Jawaharlal Nehru was born on November 14, 1889 at Allahabad. He was born with a silver spoon in his mouth as his father, Mr. Motilal Nehru was a leading lawyer of India, and was brought up like a prince. After his early education at home by English tutors, he was sent to
England for higher studies. He took his degree in Law from England and returned to India as a Barrister.

Pandit Nehru came under the influence of Mahatma Gandhi and devoted himself to the cause of India’s struggle for freedom. He associated himself with Mahatma Gandhi in the long-drawn nonviolent campaign against the British rule in India. He spent the best part of his life in jails and even lost his beloved wife, Kamala Nehru, in the process. On January 26, 1929, it was under his presidentship of the Congress that its Lahore session passed the Independence Resolution. Later he was the author of the ‘Quit India’ Resolution. When India became free on August 15, 1947, Pandit Nehru was made the first Prime Minister of the free nation.

As Prime Minister, Nehru worked hard and continuously year after year with zest and zeal for the progress and development of the country. For the guidance of his countrymen, particularly the youth, Nehru gave the slogan ‘Aaram Haraam Hai’ and demonstrated it by his own example. He was so active and energetic even at the advanced age of seventy five that he made young men blush. Nehru was essentially a man of the masses and good of the common man was always at his heart. For improving common man’s lot, he started economic planning in the country through Five Year Plans.

Nehru was a great lover of children and the children also loved him dearly. They lovingly called him ‘Chacha Nehru’. It is because of his great liking for the children and the children’s love for Nehru that his birthday on November 14 is celebrated as Children’s Day in the country every year.

Nehru was a great patriot who gave his all for the country. He was a socialist through and through who wanted to establish in India a classless and casteless society and who gave the slogan ‘produce or perish’ to the nation. He was also a good writer who wrote and published his ‘Autobiography’, ‘Discovery of India’, and ‘Glimpses of World History’ . His letters written from prison to his daughter Indira were published under the title ‘Letters of a Father to His Daughter’.
This great son of India breathed his last on May 27, 1964 and “an epoch came to an end” with his death. Till the end of his life he kept on thinking of his country and her welfare which fact is borne out by the famous lines of American poet Robert Frost which were found written on his writing pad:

‘The woods are lovely, dark and deep,
But I have promises to keep,
And miles to go before I sleep,
And miles to go before I sleep. ‘



The name of Mr. Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi will always be written in letters of gold in the history of India. He may undoubtedly be regarded as the man of the millennium. In 1936, while lying on his death-bed, Pandit Motilal Nehru called him ‘Mahatmaji’. Gurudev Rabindranath Tagore used to call him ‘Mahatma’. In a meeting in Singapore, speaking before the people, Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose described Gandhi ji as ‘The Father of the Nation’. This speaks volumes about not only his personality but also his popularity. Today, as soon as, you utter ‘Mahatma’ or ‘The Father of the Nation, the listener will at once understand that you are talking of Gandhiji.

Shri M.K. Gandhi was born at Porbander in Gujarat on October 2, 1869. His father Shri Kaba Gandhi was the Diwan (Minister) of Rajkot state. His mother, Putlibai was a noble and religious-minded lady. At the age of seven he was sent to school for his primary education. At school he was not a very bright student. After passing his matriculation examination, he was sent to England for higher education. He returned to India as a barrister. Then in order to fight a case he had to go to South Africa where he stayed for 21 years. There he fought against the White man’s injustice towards the Indians who were called coolies and treated like dogs. There he started an ashram which was called ‘Tolstoy Farm’.

Gandhi ji came back to India from South Africa in 1915, Rejoined the Indian National Congress and toured India dressed like a common farmer to understand the people and their problems; Then he launched his Satyagrah movement against the British rule in India. His Satyagrah movement was based on Truth and Ahimsa (Non-Violence). He led the historic Dandi Yatra or March where he broke the Salt Law. He was put in prison several times and he faced all the hardships and harassments with peace and patience. He undertook fast a number of times for bringing the Hindus and Muslims together and also to obtain for Harijans the right to enter temples at Kashi and Prayag (Varanasi and Allahabad). In 1942, Gandhi ji began ‘Quit India Movement’ and forced the Britishers to leave India forever. India won her independence on August 15, 1947 largely due to Gandhiji’s efforts.

Gandhiji was a sbcial reformer who worked for the upliftment of the Harijans who lovingly started calling him ‘Bapu’. His wife Kasturba Gandhi also worked with him and was endearingly called ‘Baa’. Bapu ji was also a champion of Hindu-Muslim unity and worked earnestly for the achievement of this objective throughout his life.

Truth and Ahimsa were the two guiding principles of Gandhi’s life. His autobiography ‘My Experiments with Truth’ bears witness to his quest for truth. He never cared for the difficulties of life and showed respect even for his enemies. He never uttered a single harsh word even for his dead enemies. He was a man of simple living and high thinking who always advised people to discard foreign clothes and wear Khadi.

Gandhiji sacrificed his life for his ideals. A fanatic Hindu, Nathuram Godse shot him dead on January 30, 1948 on the plea that he favoured the Muslims. The whole of the world was sad at his death. George Bernard Shaw said, “It is an irony of fate that he who preached non-violence became a prey of violence.”

­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­ _____________

Sunday, March 13, 2011


Variously described as India’s ‘Missile Man’, a ‘Techo-Yogj’, Avul Pakir Jainulabddin (A.P.J.) Abdul Kalam became the twelfth President of India. With the outcome of the Presidential elections panning along expected lines, A.P.J. Abdul Kalam was elected President getting nearly ninety percent of the vote value from the electoral college. He was administered the oath to this august office on July 25, 2002. Those who have known Abdul Kalam closely talk about his frugal lifestyle, humane nature and dedication-sometimes he packed in 18 hours of work in a day. He is a man guided by just one mission—_that every Indian should benefit from technology. lveryone who knows him speaks of his impeccable honesty and ability to steer clear of controversies Lt. General (retired) V. Sundaram, who headed missile programme under Kalam, said; “His simplicity and fairness has drawn a lot of us to him. He may take some time to pick up the threads, but I am sure he will succeed in his new assignment.”

A.P.J. Abdul Kalam was born on October 15, 1931 in a middle class Tamil family of a town called Rameshwaram in Tamil Nadu. He received his primary education in a local school of the pilgrimage town of Rameshwaram, His father, Mr. Jainulabddin was not a formally educated man but was well-informed about social and religious things and could read and write English quite well. His father greatly influenced and inspired Kalam in his early years of life. His mother, Ashyamma was a kind and generous lady who showed great affection for Kalam. Two other persons who influenced Kalam in his early life were—the head-priest of Rameshwaram temple, Mr. Lakshman Shastri, and his science teacher, Mr. Shiv Subramanya Aiyer.

After finishing his primary education at Rameshwaram panchayat elementary school, he was sent to Sehwartz School in Ramanathapuram town for further education. On finishing his school, he joined St. Joseph’s college at Tiruchirapalli and passed his B.Sc. Then he took up aeronautical engineering at Madras Institute of Technology. Kalam’s classmate and relative, M.M.A.Noordeen mentions that Kalam took up aeronautics on the advice of Professor Fr. Sequeira while he was at St. Joseph’s college.

In 1958, A.P.J. Abdul Kalam joined the Directorate of Technical Development and Production in the Ministry of Defence. But fame and adulation came to Kalam with S L V-3 project at the Indian Space Research Organisation. R. V. Perumal, the associate director at Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre, Thiruvananthapuram, hailed Kalam for his fiery determination to make India a strong and rich nation. Kalam himself has noted four milestones in his career. The years at l.S.R.O.’; when ‘Agni’ met its mission requirements in 1994; the nuclear tests “which made me feel proud as an Indian”; and when he made lightweight callipers for children at the orthopaedic centre at the Nizam Institute of Medical Sciences in Hyderabad. The man who led the nuclear weaponisation programme and believed “only strength respects strength” is now involved in a brain research centre for mentally challenged children, a project to digitally format knowledge preserved on palm leaves a cochlea implant for deaf children.

For his achievement and services in various fields, he received various awards as recognition. In 1981, he was awarded Padma Bhushan. In 1990, he was honoured with the Padma Vibhushan. The nation’s highest civilian honour, Bharat Ratna was conferred on him in 1997. These awards testify that he used very little except hard work, motivation and practical approach to lead a brilliant team of what the world for long considered as garage technicians into changing the threat of perception towards India. This boat-owner’s son, who sold newspapers to pay his school fees, is the key behind India’s nuclear weapons programme, the country’s major meal-ticket in diplomacy.

Kalam is strict vegetarian (nicknamed Kalam lyer), teetotaller’ and remains a bachelor. He plays the Veena, writes poetry in Tamil and admires poet Subramanya Bharati. He prays twice a day, and can quote with equal ease from the Koran and the Bhagwad Gita. He says that India’s problem is not with its youth but its national vision. He writes: “The nation should have a vision. That vision should echo in Parliament and the nation should decide. The vision should further echo in family and among children.

Famous quote by him :

Intezar karne walon ko sirf utna milta hai jitna koshish karne wale chod diya karte hain.