An event was organized at the Indian Cultural Centre, Castlereagh Street, Sydney on November 26 , to celebrate the Indian Constitution Day which was well attended by the people from Indian Diaspora.
India observes its Constitution Day on November 26, as it was on this day in 1949, the Constituent Assembly adopted the Constitution, however, it came into force a year later. The government took a decision in 2015 to observe 26th November as Constitution Day to honour our Constitution and its promulgation.
The programme at Indian Cultural Centre started with the lighting of lamp by Consul General B Vanlalwavna , Professor Kama Maclean , Douglas McDonald Norman.
Consul General welcomed all the guests and also introduced K P Dandapani – Former Advocate General Kerala High Court who later addressed the gathering through a video call.
Vishwajit Marathe was the MC for the evening. The program included the address by various speakers and experts on Indian Constitution who drew a parallel with Australian Constitution.
Pallavi Sinha moderated the panel discussion with Professor Kama Maclean and Douglas McDonald Norman which was later also joined by Julian Lesser –MP.
Douglas McDonald Norman while speaking on the occasion said, “The Constitution of India is more than a set of articles and schedules. It does more than merely establish institutions for the governance of India. Instead, scholars call the Indian Constitution a transformative Constitution. Its provisions are not just concerned with India as it is, but with the fulfillment of social and economic justice for all of India’s citizens.”
“It was this transformative purpose that first drew me to India, and to Indian constitutional studies. When I was 20 years old, I was offered a chance to apply for the Prime Minister’s Australia Asia Award, a predecessor to the current New Colombo Plan which allowed recipients to study and work in Asia. I chose to apply to go to India, and ended up staying more than a year,” he added.
“I chose India because of its Constitution, and because of what that Constitution represents. Let me explain why this Constitution is so significant, both to me and, much more importantly, to the Indian people. More than merely reflecting the nation in which they lived, the framers of the Indian Constitution – Dr Ambedkar chief among them – sought to create a document that would address and combat inequalities and injustice in Indian society,” he added.
“It was written by men and women, by Muslims, Christians, Hindus, Sikhs, Parsis and non-believers, drawn from different races, different language groups, different cultures, and different castes; some delegates were leftists, others were conservatives. Like India itself, the Constitution does not belong to any single religion or any single language or any single point of view, and no one group can claim a monopoly over its meaning. It belongs to India.
“Against a backdrop of intolerance and communal divisions, the Indian Constitution prohibits discrimination by the state on the basis of religion, race, caste, sex, or place of birth, and guarantees freedom of religion,” he said.
“The Indian Constitution is not flawless and not beyond controversy. The Constitution does not just belong to the lawyers or politicians of India. Its interpretation has been shaped and transformed by cases brought by activists and NGOs, by religious leaders and by atheists, by prisoners and princes,” he said.
“This is what I find so inspiring about the Indian Constitution – why I went to India, why I lived, studied and worked there, and why I am so glad to be here today to celebrate this Constitution.
Professor Kama Maclean also spoke about the Indian Constitution and drew a parallel with Australian Constitution. Julian Lesser also spoke on the occasion and threw light on the various features of Indian Constitution while comparing it with the Australian Constitution
This was followed by a ‘Question- Answer’ session wherein the people from the gathering put forth various questions in front of the panel who thoroughly explained their queries.
Light refreshments were served to gathering at the end of the program.
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