"A tryst with a destiny far from us and the time arrived in front of us to
redeem the pledge substantially, all the world sleeps while India got its
freedom and life"
The opening words of the book itself make it clear that we the people of India
were on our destiny to lay a path for our future.
Here the question is:
Does independent India need a constitution made by the Indians on their own?
In this book, the author makes up the reader's mind with a need of framing the
constitution. All the Indians on behalf of them selected the representatives and
by them, they are on for a new constitution. This book is the first classic in
Indian history that shows all the background work of constituent assembly
members and their contributions in brief and up to the point where they are
needed. The author portrays the personality and philosophy of key participants
and reconstructs the political function of the constituent assembly. This book
is indexed as one of the political historical ideas and a political base and
motivations and with the manuscript's sources of the constituent assembly.
The author points out that it is "a political history of the framing of the
constitution, of how past and present aims of the members who contributed for
framing the impossible to possible." He mentions it as a social document.
This book is literature on constitutional jurisprudence in Indian constitutional
law. The major part of the book revolves around the core concepts of social
revolution and parliamentary democracy.
The author's purpose in writing the book is to give the Indians a well-designed
book to make the Indians more flexible in understanding the Indian constitution
and its framing. There are two reasons for Austin to articulate the book, one is
the constitution is the convenient way to understand India better. The other one
is a bit easy for him to manage academically because he has some contacts in
India that make it easy but it's been quite hard in earlier days to get engaged
with the things for him, despite all these hurdles he made an excellent outlet
for the Indian base.
The related works in this field will give some more knowledge concerning
constitutional framing, here we have one of the literary works "India's
Constitution in the making"- B.N. Rau editor: B. Shiva Rao, published by Orient
Longmans, Bombay. 1st ed. May 1960. He is the constitutional adviser in the
constituent assembly. This volume is a comprehensive one firstly it deals with
Indian constitutional problems and the other problems concerned the author and
different chapters follow in their sequences, the board pattern set by the
How the constituent assembly adopted, resolved, commencement and the major
objectives, rules of procedure debates, and the purpose of the assembly were
mentioned by the author, and on the other side his visit to other nations like
the U.S.A, Canada, Ireland, and the U.K. to have a look on some constitutional
provisions. The report embodies the details mentioned in one of the chapters. He
had mentioned every aspect of the constitutional assembly and their agendas to
the best of his knowledge. Granville Austin for some material referred to his
book about the constituent assembly debates and the persons who participated in
He was described as an independent scholar and political historian. Though he
was born in the USA in 1927, he started his career as a photographer and
journalist his interest in modern Indian history and his nevertheless struggle
for the completion of the doctrinal work gave a fruitful result and he was
awarded a doctorate from Oxford University and for his notorious work in respect
to "The Indian constitution- the cornerstone of a nation" and "Working a
democratic constitution, a history of the Indian experience,1999" and for his
struggles and contributions for framing the book, he was honored with India's
fourth highest civilian honor "Padma Shri" in 2011. He demised in 2014 though he
was not there as a person in between us but his soul remains in his writings.
With his life story and through his scholarly writings he took the initiative to
provide an overview concerning constitution framing and the events which had
taken place during the sessions. He had gathered all the relevant documents
which are needed for his doctrinal work to outlet his contribution towards the
This book is unambiguous and reads friendly to every constitutional follower and
every page of the book was prescribed with an apt footnote, the appendices,
bibliography, and biography of the members were sculptured in such a way that
even a layman can understand the book easily. This has been taken as a reference
and cited by many jurists in landmark cases like I.C. Golaknath Nath vs. State
of Punjab, AIR 1967 SC 1643, Kesavananda Bharathi vs State of Kerala, AIR 1973
SC 1461 and Minerva Mills vs Union of India, AIR, 1980 SC 1789. In its
reasoning, the majority relied on cornerstone's theory that the constitution
establishes an equilibrium between citizens' rights and the state's
The major contribution of the book is to understand the depth and width of the
Indian Constitution and its organized framing by the makers of the constitution.
The author describes the major goals of constituent assembly members while
framing the constitution are maintaining unity, uplifting social revolution, and
a demanded parliamentary democracy. The members of the drafting committee and
advisory committee and all the assembly members felt that the spiritual and
institutional basis for a new society will be possible only by the adoption of
universal adult suffrage, a right providing for equality and personal liberty
under the law and independence of the judiciary.
Indian constitution merely is a concept of Indian sovereign people who framed
the base document to regulate their lives through peaceful means and rule of
law. In the introductory phase, the author is more deliberate to speak about the
aims and goals of the constitution makers and the nevertheless struggle and
efforts to make it successful the view of the author this book will provide the
general reader with some insight into the political bases and motivations of
Indian life and at the same time provide the close student of Indian affairs
with the first account, based on manuscript sources of the working of the
The first portion deals with the adoption and the background of enforcement of
the constituent assembly the base and the reasons for forming the assembly and
there is a discussion about the Indian National Congress also. Firstly, the
Indian constitution was not made by a group of lawyers, small committees, and
under the shadow of any external authority, it only happens with the sanctions
coming from the masses that are the representatives who are elected by the
sovereign people and are the makers of the constitution. 
The pre-colonial shades were on the formation of administration and political
governance author focused briefly on how the Indian congress, Muslim League,
Hindu society, the interim government, cabinet missions, and finally constituent
assembly which was the key organ in making the constitution were formed and
organized. How we were guided for a swaraj which has to be made by our own
India in a short context is famous for its triangular governance which consists
of an assembly, congress, and the country. The assembly members have the freedom
to express their views in debates and all the proceedings were open to all.
There is a criticism that the constitution which was made for the Indian people
was merely the ideas of the Indian national congress but in the words of Nehru
it was made clear the constitution was drafted for the welfare people. This
portion is the base for constitution-making and the further topics which are
covered are the concepts which are helpful for human welfare and are adopted and
drafted according to the needs.
The second portion, now the constituent assembly was formed, now, the major
question is "Which resolution is best to take part in forming the revolution
that has to be adopted to set the fire on?". There are three revolutions one the
political revolution which ends with independence and the second, the social
and economic revolutions. So, the drafters adopted the concept of the
socio-economic one, but nowadays under a vast federal structure it has shaped
into a political and economic revolution. Doing service to the needy is the
major criterion for the makers and that will not be fulfilled until the tears
and suffering end.
The alternative to the revolution is the Gandhian alternative concept in which
he came up with the idea of a village level of administration and governance
would be effective, but the major intention is to make self-governance in large
measure in local bodies there will be no place for political parties in
compartmentalized by decentralization and its focus primarily on rural society
and to elevate the moral being of the Indians.
But the assembly neither accepted nor rejected the concept but politely kept it
aside because the Indians majorly demanded parliamentary democracy and
representative government from the base of the Government of India Act,1935.
Adult suffrage was introduced to lift the democratic view. All the assembly
members believed that "India could become modern, but remain Indian". That's
true because though we are highly modernized and civilized still, we all remain
as one nation that is "India" and no matter what we are all Indians.
Most interestingly, Austin described the phrase "conscience" to deal with the
concepts of fundamental rights and directive principles they are described as
the basic rights and layout for people's welfare. Which lays a moral path for
every individual. This concept of fundamental rights was adopted from the
American constitution and John Rawls in his book "A Theory of Justice" first
spoke about the importance of fundamental rights.
There is a differentiation between positive and negative rights. The demand for
positive liberty (directive principles) and negative freedom (fundamental
rights). In that context, the experience in world war -I and the reforms that
took place in the precolonial period, Annie Besant in his commonwealth of India
Bill, 1925 came up with seven fundamental rights.
Nehru's report,1928 all the provisions he made were added to the directive
principles of how an individual or state should behave. Lastly "The Sapru
committee" ended all these in 1945. Both the rights and principles are the
sources for legislation reform. The expression of positive and negative rights
has provided a thrust toward changing and rebuilding society.
The powers should not be under a single-headed authority they have to be
segregated so that every organ has its way of organization structure. So, they
adopted a concept of separation of powers to executive, legislative, and
The Executive: strength with democracy, to form the democratic structure and to
fill strength within the Indian administration and to the governance democratic
executives means high authoritative officiants' must be needed to fill the gap
we have adopted the British parliamentary system for our democratic
parliamentary system. The indirect electorate was introduced to elect the
eminent for the posts. Their powers have been limited by their respective
boundaries. After Rajendra Prasad's several attempts by a convention reduced a
mere figure-headed executive, to the fact the cabinet is all-powerful within the
firm precedent of the executive.
The legislative: to promote unity in popular government is their agenda to
provide minimum reservations to the minorities to create a basis for the social
and political unity of the country. They chose this concept to unite entire
India under one roof of the electorate having universal adult suffrage through
this all the voters will be directly representing the assemblies. In the
pre-independence era, there was huge discrimination among the electorates to
eradicate this the assembly tried their level best along with the high efforts
of Dr. B.R. Ambedkar who is a minority subcommittee person and finally, they
succeeded in doing so.
The Judiciary: The seat of a judge is a seat of God. The constituent assembly
members gave a special portion for the judiciary in the Indian constitution.
Judicial review and independence of the judiciary were the essential powers for
the free and federal constitution they gave raise to many subsidiary questions
and through the Sapru Committee and the ad hoc committee all the queries got
cleared by creating an original jurisdiction to the supreme court by appointing
high courts in every state by 1956 there are 14 high courts whereas, in the
pre-colonial period, there are only three provincial courts and one federal
court which later converted to the supreme court. The CA members separated
the judiciary from politics including salaries, allowances, impeachment, and
retirement under the ground of independence of the judiciary. Uniformity of law
was essential to maintain unity in India.
The federal state under the supervision of CA members adopted federalism as the
key concept by separating union and state relations and distributing powers and
provisions among them through a union list, state list, and concurrent list. The
division of power under the legislative list and the union executive authority.
Following is the six subjects' distribution of powers, the union's emergency
powers, the distribution of revenues, national planning, the linguistic
provinces issues, and the integration into the federal structure of the former
Amendment � the flexible federation, the option of amending the constitution
after a long debate and opposition, Nehru's silence lead the way of neither
dissent nor assent but to fill the gap Ambedkar said with a two-third of the
majority in parliament constitutional amendment can be possible under certain
circumstances and the preamble and the fundamental rights cannot be amended as
per the post republic situation but the situation changed in the present era.
Language: an ever-ending controversial debate between the states and union to
elevate on national language but the CA debates all the members with several
contentions got compromised for the language half-heartedly and here the Nehru
contention is under rich diversity of inheritance how shall we promote the
unity. With all the heated debates among CA members, this provision was left to
the fate of Indians.
Finally, B.R. Ambedkar: in his words from now onwards, we have no one to blame
except ourselves, because for the first time in 150 years, we are responsible
for our future, it was an attempt to achieve administrative and political unity
and an economic and social revolution. The very teething troubles that the
democratic government has had in India emphasize the soundness of the
constitution. The constitution has established the accepted norms of 'national'
behavior. So, in one sense, the absence of comment about the constitutional
situation in India is a mark of the Constitution's effective working.
Harmony has deep roots in India. Based on tolerance and as a multi-diversified
state we have to respect all ideologies whereas all the assembly members with
the collective mind in several circumstances accepted and gave assent to many
provisions. The constituent assembly members made the impossible possible with
their efforts. Through appendixes and bibliography, the author gave a brief
description of every member, and the role they played in every situation was
well articulated by the author while creating the art of constitution framing.
Indian jurists appreciated his work in several aspects and major landmark
judgments they followed the footsteps of the "Austin cornerstone" to deal with
the cases and to sense the essence of framing the lengthiest constitution and
elevate the key concepts in it, this book is jurisprudence and even they have
interpreted some issues with the help of this book like Maneka Gandhi case,
Keshavananda Bharathi case, Minerva Mills case, etc.,
Thus, the concept of review has covered mostly, all the portions were mentioned
precisely and the author has done his best to frame all the manuscripts,
documents, and interviews in an organized format in form of literature. Finally,
the socio-economic revolution and parliamentary democracy succeeded through the
constitution. Nehru's aim of framing a strong document was figured at last. The
socio-political document which was named as constitution this book was the major
literature in constitutional jurisprudence.
- The Indian Constitution is a cornerstone of a nation- "Jawaharlal Nehru"
in a speech to the constituent assembly on 14th August 1947. the opening
quote of the book.
- Norman D. Palmer, reviewed work- the Journal of Asian Studies, Vol.26,
No.4, (Aug. 1967), pp.719-720
- 1st portion opening quote by Jawaharlal Nehru "the Indian constitution
cornerstone of the nation"
- Mahatma Gandhi's words in pp:1
- K. Santhanam in "magazine section-the Hindustan Times" & in pp.33 of
"The Indian Constitution cornerstone of the nation."
- Jawaharlal Nehru quote in pp.32
- Constituent Assembly
- B.R. Ambedkar quote in pp.230