The Preamble, or the introduction to India’s Constitution, lays down its guiding principles and reflects the vision of those who conceived it. The Preamble defines the nature of the Republic of India and outlines the objectives it sets out to ensure for the citizens of the country.
The Preamble is based on the Objectives Resolution moved in the Constituent Assembly by Jawaharlal Nehru on 13 December 1946. The resolution, unanimously adopted on 22 January 1947, resolved that India was to be an independent sovereign republic and a union of states. The document also underlined the objectives of justice, equality and freedom.
The Preamble begins with the words “We, the people of India…”, clearly indicating the source that the Constitution derives its authority from.
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.
The original Preamble described India as a “sovereign democratic republic. The words “socialist” and “secular” were added through the Forty-second Amendment to the Constitution on December 18, 1976. This amendment also changed the expression “unity of the nation” to “unity and integrity of the nation”.