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Why painting of Ram in India’s Constitution matters

In the original copy of India’s Constitution, Part III on Fundamental Rights carries an illustration of Ram, Sita, and Lakshman. Because Ram was a true guardian of people’s rights.

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When the writing of independent India’s new Constitution was in its final stages in the Constituent Assembly, a detailed discussion regarding the various artworks in the original copy took place soon after the final draft presented by Dr Bhimrao Ambedkar was passed. Following a unanimous decision, famous artist Nandalal Bose of Santiniketan was authorised to oversee the artworks. Bose and his team selected various paintings and drawings depicting the saints, gurus, rulers and mythological characters from Indian history to decorate parts/sections of the Constitution. Each of these drawings and paintings expressed a unique message and purpose of India’s infinite heritage and legacy.

In Part III of the Indian Constitution, which describes our Fundamental Rights, there is a painting of Shri Ram, Sita ji and Lakshman ji. It is important to understand why Shri Ram’s image is the most appropriate choice for this part of the Constitution. As soon as the Indian Constitution came into force, all its citizens received their fundamental rights. This was the first time after nearly 800 years of foreign rulers that the entire nation had gained independence in a systematic manner. With these fundamental rights, Indian citizens were granted freedom from all kinds of discrimination. As per the Right to Equality clause in Article 14 of the Constitution, everyone, whether rich or poor, powerful or weak, hold equal rights before the Constitution and the law. Furthermore, by the provisions contained in Article 15, the state and its agencies as well as non-state institutions and individuals, are obligated to treat citizens equally.

In Article 21, under the ambit of ‘Right to Life’, everyone not only has the right to live with human dignity but also entitled to a dignified funeral after death. The ‘Right to Equality’ also states that in the event of any dispute, every person holds the right to present their case in the judicial process. Thus, rather than being subjugated to any single authority or individual, the Constitution is an independent and sovereign custodian of the rights of Indian citizens.

Also read: In Ambedkar’s ‘Proposed Preamble’ to Indian Constitution, there was no ‘equality’ clause

Shri Ram’s nature in sync with human values

Shri Ram’s generous and impartial personality is known to all. Apart from this, the concept of ‘Ram Rajya’ – which is considered as a paradigm of good governance imbibes this spirit of human life. In various versions of the Ramayana and other folktales, we get numerous glimpses of Shri Ram’s human emotions and empathetic attitude towards people that are perfectly in sync with the values of our Constitution today. In that time and era, without any caste discrimination, Shri Ram befriended Nishadraj, who was considered as a lower caste. He was accorded the same respect that was bestowed on his other royal friends. Rejecting apartheid or racial discrimination, Shri Raghunandan also graciously accepted the semi-eaten plums offered by a tribeswoman Mata Shabari, that time. As a king, Shri Ram was a true guardian of people’s rights, treating all those under him as equals.

Similarly, after killing his enemies and opponents like Ravana and Tadka in battles, Shri Ram ensured their funerals with full honour. When he learnt that his father King Dasaratha had announced his coronation, he first wanted to know what had been decided for his three brothers. He believed that his brothers also had equal rights to the Kingdom of Ayodhya and they should also get equal share.

In another context, Shri Ram had blessed transgenders after accepting their reverence for him. Even during battles, he provided shelter to the messengers and followers of the enemy state and assured protection to them. When Vibhishan came to pay a visit, Sugriva warned Shri Ram that he is the brother of the enemy. In response, Shri Ram explained to Sugriva that listening to and protecting the views of every person who comes seeking justice is part of his basic nature as well as his duty.

According to the prevailing system and custom of that time, he himself was bound to his rajdharma and religious duty, which you can compare with today’s expression ‘rule of law’. Even after being omnipotent, extremely popular and a powerful king, Shri Ram never violated the prescribed rules nor did he ever keep himself above religion.

Also read: Tagore’s ‘Ramrajya’ didn’t have one Rama. Hindutva soldiers should know that

What is Ram Rajya?

When we aspire for Shri Ram’s rule, we mean ‘Ram Rajya’, not ‘Ramraj‘. Good governance is proof of the success of a king or ruler. But there is a difference between the success of ‘Rajya‘ (state) and the success of a limited period of a king’s ‘Raj‘ (tenure of rule). Even the foundations of ‘Ram Rajya’ were laid when Shri Ram himself was in exile and not physically present in Ayodhya. His footwear was symbolically placed and Ayodhya was administered for 14-years with due respect to Shri Ram’s ideals. The true meaning of Ram Rajya is in the establishment of a well-protected, prosperous, progressive and positive state for the welfare of people. Similarly, we have not confined our Constitution to the limits of a person-centric ‘Raj’. Instead, the Indian Constitution establishes a ‘people-centric’ republic state — one that truly reflects Shri Ram’s ideals.

It would not be wrong to acknowledge that India’s cultural, moral and political values and ShriRam’s personality and philosophy of life are homogenous to our constitutional values.

Tejasvi Surya is Lok Sabha MP and National President of Bharatiya Janata Yuva Morcha. Suyash Pande is an Advocate, Supreme Court. Views are personal.

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  1. Indonesia, now a Muslim majority nation, still remembers it’s icons Shri Ram and Krishna, Ganesha and even Garuda among others. They invoke Om shanti in official functions as well. They acknowledge greatness of God’s whom they worshipped before becoming Muslims. Here in India people want to make God out of people living 70 years ago. The Constitution was not drafted and approved by one man.

  2. Then who were the ones who have created caste system that established
    the worst form of inequality that no one could have broken down?
    What does secularism mean?
    Don’t tell me that the makers of our constitution were not wise enough to understand its meaning.

  3. Authors are right to say that we the citizens of India got fundamental rights with adoption of constitution. But, their arguments that we got back these rights after a gap of 800 years of foreign rule is misleading. Before 1947 we were under various kingdoms where the entire attention was on king and his control over the citizens. Citizens never enjoyed any rights under any category of king .

    • Original Ramayana written by Valmiki presents Ram as an imaginary hero. Ram was made God by Tulsidas in the 16th century AD.

      • Oh I see, where did you get the original Valmiki Ramayana. Please let me inform it where you get it I also wanted to read. And what about Nabi and Allahu are they gods or just mythical heroes or something.

        Is this hurt your religious sentiments then please think about others too. I admit there is only one God we worship him in his different form (Jesus, Allah or Ram) and I have complete respect in all these form of God. But I can’t accept someone opinion only his way of worship is right and others is wrong, and disrespecting others values and way of worship is totally wrong. Give Respect and take respect. Try to follow this.

      • Oohh really from where did u read it, i too readed that muslims are basically hindus and all those allha and ur gods are mythyely created u were basically hindu there is no god like Allha ever existed…..
        It hearted your sentiments na in the same way i too hearted with your comment,dont try to comment publicaly about ur imaginations ur fellings learn to respect all the relgions then u will be self respected,Jai Hind …

      • Oohh really from where did u read it, i too readed that muslims are basically hindus and all those allha and ur gods are mythyely created u were basically hindu there is no god like Allha ever existed…..
        It hearted your sentiments na in the same way i too hearted with your comment,dont try to comment publicaly about ur imaginations ur fellings learn to respect all the relgions then u will be self respected,Jai Hind brother

      • Brother we’ve Tamil version of Ramayana written by kambar …..sri ram portrait reincarnation of lord Vishnu not human being please go through it….. don’t stupidly mentioned anything

    • This article is a biased one. Laid on the foundation of Hindu majoritarianism it want to justify every thing foolish. What was the status of the fundamental rights? I wonder that suddenly fundamental rights were suddenly snatched.

  4. Looks like print is fond of fishing in troubled waters,.most of the articles seem to brew up unwanted attention..

  5. Why are we one of the most corrupt countries in the world? Why is it so difficult for a private business to grow and become world class here? Why do we have so many pending court cases? Why do people frequently disregard rules or laws? Neither the ideas in the Constitution nor the idea of Ram Rajya or any other religious book (Bible,Koran etc.) seem to be helping us in this part of the world.

    It’s one thing to have an inspiring book or inspiring story of human values, it seems totally a different thing for a common man in India to practise and abide by those values in the street, in the family, in the office or in the community.

    • Lol most peacefully countries in the world are christian countries, so don’t drag christianity in between. Lord jesus teaches us love your neighbours as yourself. That’s why we are peaceful with everyone else

  6. A paternal society full of rumor mongers due to whom a woman left for forest and had to go through Agni pariksha.

  7. Everyday we are heading towards mad, radical Hinduism instead of real Hinduism.
    We seem to forget actual spirit of secularism ,much akin to the rise of Hinduism

    • The core of Hinduism is about self-knowledge. The core is not about rituals, idols and temples. Those are layers for the common man to follow.
      Self-knowledge is the secret and is shrouded by all beliefs, customs and practices.

  8. Ram leaving his pregnant wife in the wild forest, is surely an act of murder. Perhaps, his treacherous act forced Sita not to reunite with him again.

    • First know the real reason behind this. Always try to read whole story before asking any questions or questioning the image of lord shree Ram.

    • Part 14 of Indian constitution have sketches of Akbar’s court. The sketches are in chronological order from Indus valley civilization upto the freedom of India.

  9. I understood about Ram’s sync with human values, relatable. But its articles like these about “Ram Rajya” that misleads illiterate Hindus and divides India. Every religion is the reason why India is India. So keep your pants on. Don’t try to do what the Shit Politicians are already doing.
    Jai Bharat

  10. If constitution of India won’t have Shri Rams picture than a which country’s ? Pakistan, USA, UAE, …..? Ridiculous agreements against a well written article.
    Hindus before it’s too late unite and stand for each other.

  11. We never seen Seetha in between Rama and laxmana . That’s why that art is not Rama, seetha and laxman…. Jai sriram

      • that is why I like babashib . The brotherhood of Islam is not the universal brotherhood of man. It is brotherhood of Muslims for Muslims only. There is a fraternity, but its benefit is confined to those within that corporation. For those who are outside the corporation, there is nothing but contempt and enmity. The second defect of Islam is that it is a system of social self-government and is incompatible with local self-government, because the allegiance of a Muslim does not rest on his domicile in the country which is his but on the faith to which he belongs. To the Muslim ibi bene ibi patria [Where it is well with me, there is my country] is unthinkable. Wherever there is the rule of Islam, there is his own country. In other words, Islam can never allow a true Muslim to adopt India as his motherland and regard a Hindu as his kith and kin.

    • Mr. Sayyid, I have a clear response regarding modern Hindu sentiments in politics.


      If you look at the political trajectory of Indian subcontinent over the last 70 years, you can see that the Hindu majority state (India) is only one of the 3 to uphold religious freedom and secularism. Now compare that to Pakistan and Bangladesh.

      1) Pakistan – Jinnah made it very clear in his 1947 speech: “You are free to go to your temples. You are free to go to your mosques.” Fast forward to now; Hindu population has been decimated and their previously established economic wealth in places like Karachi and Lahore has been systematically oppressed by Islamic Republic of Pakistan. Pakistan has failed entirely to protect Hindu rights. Not only that, but it has failed to protect Christian, Sikh, and even Muslim rights (Shia, Sufi, etc). And don’t get me started on the Muslim community is committing against the Ahmadiyya Community. Hindus cannot be prime minister in a country where their ancestors have worshipped for the last 4000 years. if you want to know why we Hindus support CAA, please just follow Instagram social media page @hindusinsindhpakistan and you’ll understand why (Viewer discretion advised). Hindus are getting lynched on a daily basis in rural Pakistan and government is complicit. Hindu marriage was only recognized in 2016, and compare that Islamic Personal Law which has existed since India’s inception. And Indian Muslims get government aid for Hajj too.

      2) Bangladesh is constitutionally a secular state but over the course of its existence, somehow the Islamists cleverly made Islam the state religion. Compared to Pakistan, Hindus enjoy more rights but are still treated as second-class citizens. Bengali Muslims are responsible for orchestrating Direct Action Day, Noakhali riots, and Hindu genocide during Bangladesh independence movement.

      Now fast forward to the 1990s when the Hindutva movement arose as a response to protect the indigenous faiths of India from the repeated marginalization they’ve experienced in the subcontinent.
      I’m not justifying Ayodhya riots, Gujurat riots, cow vigilantes, etc. I will admit in these cases, so called “Hindus” committed crimes against Muslims. And criminals, even if they are Hindu, must be dealt with swiftly within the judicial system.

      But if you look at the past 1000 years of India’s history, it is unanimous truth that Muslims have been the attackers and the Hindus have been the defenders.

      Just like in America, I’m sure blacks have killed whites too, but for the majority of the nation’s history, who has been wielding the sword and who is wielding the shield??

      Islam has a embarrassingly poor track record in India (Aurangzeb, Tipu Sultan, Hyderabad Razakars, etc.) Own up to crimes your people have committed. Hindus, Sikhs, and Jains have just ONE nation to call their own. And we have a RIGHT to protect our national culture and heritage.

      Stop playing victim card when most of historical examples prove otherwise.

      We will not stop at Ayodhya. Kashi Vishwanath and Mathura are next. In Ramarajya, no humans should be harmed in the reestablishment of our holy sites and government should swiftly deal with troublemakers.

      Uniform Civil Code should also be implemented and Islamic practice of polygamy should also be outlawed in our country.

      If a foreign faith demolished your sites at Mecca and Medina, imagine the outrage??? the hypocrisy has almost become viral.

      If painting of Ram, Lakshman, and Sita make you uncomfortable, remember that Indian Muslims have achieved the highest degree of success in government, finance, cinema, sports, etc. Can Hindus in Pakistan and Bangladesh say the same?

      Ahmadiyyas can worship freely and identify as Muslims if they chose to do so and Sunnis/Shias don’t bomb each other like they do in Pakistan. All thanks to the tolerant crucible of the Hindu majority, the original champion of religious liberty since 4000 years.

      Continue to fight for justice for your people, but appreciate the nation you come from…

      Jai Shri Ram.

      • We are secular in India because of the Constitution and Shri Ambedkar. Had RSS or BJP existed and been very powerful in 1947 I am sure they would have influenced the Constitutional values differently. We might have eventually turned out to be no different from Bangladesh!

      • To My Fellow Indian,

        Keep destroying whatever you wish and keep justifying whatever you wish.

        You mean : Muslims in India will be treated by Hindus in India as Hindus in Pakistan and Bangladesh will be treated.

        I admit : Hindus in all the countries (especially Muslim countries) where they are in Minority do not enjoy as much freedom as they enjoy here in my India.

        I do presume nothing. After a vigorous research I comnent.

        I think if one is excessively emotional he or she will fail to understsnd The Babri Masjid Dispute.

        The mosque stood there for 464 years up until it was demolished on the 6th December in 1992 by a Mob not representing Hinduism but fanaticism.

        The apex court told in its verdict on the 9th November in 2019, “The destruction of the mosque and the obliteration of the Islamic structure was an egregious violation of the rule of law.”

        But the irony is that the court awarded the complete 2.77 acres of land to those who did this “egregious violation”.

        It chose doctrine of necessity over doctrine of reasonability.

        First, one should observe not only black and white but also the grey areas.

        But it is great to read your comment.

        Important : You will keep destroying mosque for which Muslims can not but be murdered like a genocide and Muslims will meekly keep watching. It may continue for 70 years or 100 years but not perennially.

        Important : What happened in Gujarat in 2002 was not a riot but it was an “Ethnic Cleansing”.

        Important : Muslims deserve a treatment like what Jews got in Germany from 1933 till 1945. Otherwise Muslims (me included) will not awake as they are in a slumber now, having been detached from True Islam.

        Muslims suffer when they go astray.

        Muslims rule the whole world ( in an affirmative sense) when they cling to Islam.

        N.B. : Pan India Civil War is Good For None.

  12. Tejaswi, this is complete rubbish.
    Actually you fools are bringing ruin to Hinduism itself. Think of India in the late 21st and early 22nd centuries. You get my answer.

  13. Dear ptint, add ”shri” or ”lord” in front of lord ram’s name in the headline. It’s very upsetting.

  14. Learn something from Sri Rama and be at the least good human beings if not good rulers. You BJP guys bring shame to the country, our culture and our democracy.

    • Exactly, they are changing the polytheistic Hinduism to monotheism bringing people together to drive out the ‘internal threat’, rather than promoting true hinduism which is ever evolving and absorbing.

    • Religion can be controlling as well as liberating. It depends on the person it is his/her choice to be liberated or controlled.

      Beware of politicians, they will only use religion for purposes of controlling their people. They are smart enough to know that in India religion is truly the opium of the masses.

  15. Dr. Ambedkar talks about Shambhuka Vadha incident as follows in his “Riddles of Hinduism”
    That means that Sita preferred to die rather than return to Rama who had behaved no better than a brute. Such is the tragedy of Sita and the crime of Rama the God. Let me throw some search light on Rama the King. Rama is held out as an ideal King. But can that conclusion be said to be founded in fact?
    As a matter of fact Rama never functions, as a King. He was a nominal King. The administration as Valmiki states were entrusted to Bharata his brother. He had freed himself from the cares and worries about his kingdom and his subjects. Valmiki has very minutely described the daily life of Rama after he became King. According to that account the day was divided into two parts. Up to forenoon and afternoon. From morning to forenoon he was engaged in performing religious rites and ceremonies and offering devotion. The afternoon he spent alternately in the company of Court jesters and in the Zenana. When he got tired of the Zenana he joined the company of jesters and when he got tired of jesters he went back to the Zenana . Valmiki also gives a detailed description of how Rama spent his life in the Zenana. This Zenana was housed in a park called Ashoka Vana. There Rama, used to take his meal. The food according to Valmiki consisted of all kinds of delicious viands. They included flesh and fruits and liquor. Rama was not a teetotaller. He drank liquor copiously and Valmiki records that Rama saw to it that Sita joined with him in his drinking bouts*[f81] . From the description of the Zenana of Rama as given by Valmiki it was by no means a mean thing. There were Apsaras, Uraga and Kinnari accomplished in dancing and singing. There were other beautiful women brought from different parts. Rama sat in the midst of these women drinking and dancing. They pleased Rama and Rama garlanded them. Valmiki calls Rama as a ‘Prince among women’s men ‘. This was not a day’s affair. It was a regular course of his life.
    As has already been said Rama never attended to public business. He never observed the ancient rule of Indian kings of hearing the wrongs of his subjects and attempting to redress them. Only one occasion has been recorded by Valmiki when he personally heard the grievance of his subjects. But unfortunately the occasion turned out to be a tragic one. He took upon himself to redress the wrong but in doing so committed the worst crime that history has ever recorded. The incident is known as the murder of Sambuka the Shudra. It is said by Valmiki that in Rama’s reign there were no premature deaths in his kingdom. It happened, however, that a certain Brahman’s son died in a premature death. The bereaved father carried his body to the gate of the king’s palace, and placing it there, cried aloud and bitterly reproached Rama for the death of his son, saying that it must be the consequence of some sin committed within his realm, and that the king himself was guilty if he did not punish it: and Finally threatened to end his life there by sitting dharna (hunger-strike) against Rama unless his son was restored to life. Rama thereupon consulted his council of eight learned Rishis and Narada amongst them told Rama that some Shudra among his subjects must have been performing Tapasya (ascetic exercises), and thereby going against Dharma (sacred law); for according to it the practice of Tapasya was proper to the twice-born alone, while the duty of the Shudras consisted only in the service of the twice-born. Rama was thus convinced that it was the sin committed by a Shudra in transgressing Dharma in that manner, which was responsible for the death of the Brahmin boy. So, Rama mounted his aerial car and scoured the countryside for the culprit. At last, in a wild region far away to the south he espied a man practising rigorous austerities of a certain kind. He approached the man, and with no more ado than to enquire of him and inform himself that he was a Shudra, by name Sambuka who was practising Tapasya with a view to going to heaven in his own earthly person and without so much as a warning, expostulation or the like addressed to him, cut off his head. And to and behold! that very moment the dead Brahman boy in distant Ayodhya began to breathe again. Here in the wilds the Gods rained flowers on the king from their joy at his having prevented a Shudra from gaining admission to their celestial abode through the power of the Tapasya which he had no right to perform. They also appeared before Rama and congratulated him on his deed. In answer to his prayer to them to revive the dead Brahman boy lying at the palace gate in Ayodhya, they informed him that he had already come to life. They then departed. Rama thence proceeded to the Ashrama which was nearby of the sage +Agastya, who commended the step he had taken with Sambuka, and presented him with a divine bracelet. Rama then returned to his capital. Such is Rama.

  16. How can Ram be considered as champion of human rights. Do not you know the episode of killing of Shambhuka? Rama killed him just because, he was a shudra and violated manusmriti by daring to read vedas and doing tapasya, which are privileges only of upper casts. People justify this act of Rama saying he acted according to law of treta yuga. What ever may be the yuga, injustice is injustice. A man who opposes such injustice only can become a hero, not a nan who meekly submits to the dictates of the rishis in his time. In Ramrajya, shudras did not have human rights. I do not want Ramrajya. I want Bhim rajya, which is built on principles enunciated in the Indian constitution by Bhim rao Ambedkar.

    • India is running according to constitution.And the story made by u is just ur blind imagination and I am telling stop writing these nonsense.

      PRINT take action against him how dare he talking nonsense about PRABHU SHRI RAM

    • बहुत सुंदरअपका विचार है…..
      सब साजिश है दर-सल उस पर कोई राम का चित्र वक्त नहीं है उस पर चित्र लाने के लिए यह बवंडर किया जा रहा है….
      ऐसा हम लोग होने नहीं देंगे….

  17. Lord Rama faith in true justice, sacrifice, freedom, loyal to words and to eradicate evil forces on this planet and kept the humanity above all. Last but not the least love and respect to Mother Nature.

  18. Even in the constitution he sees only 1 picture and it’s religious relevance. People don’t sit in front of God to pray 24×7, they also go for work, purchase provisions, cook and eat food, send children to school, go to hospitals etc…..stop the religious nonsense and reduce Fuel prices, cooking gas prices, fix the roads, provide employment…..If we need religion we can go to places of worship, don’t need it from shameless illiterate lying thieves.

    • If we were a nation of atheists and casteless, we might have probably had progressed faster. There is so much noise about religion and caste in India it is such a huge distraction in
      our democracy. Economic and personal potential is always going to be limited in this country as compared to other countries which have developed faster because religious or historical ideas take far more space and attention as compared to what we need to accomplish in the present.

  19. Paintings or artwork on a document do not make the Constitution. It is the actual words that make the Constitution. Shri Ambedkar was influenced by Western democratic values for our Constitution rather than Hindu mythology or Vedic texts.

      • ‘Ambedkar’ he himself was a respectable person who read vedas , understand the true objective behind the vedas and then act accordingly.
        You call ‘Ambedkar ‘ like he is ur neighbor…
        He was the person who create the supreme law of India

      • थोड़ा इज्जत से बात किया करो
        कुछ ज्यादा नहीं हो रहा है ना…
        कभी एक लव के बारे में पढ़ लिया करो ठीक है……

  20. So it is natural,honorable and legitimate to greet guest at government event with jai SriRam chant by an Indian

  21. So chanting of Jai Sri Ram at any government event is no abuse but respect to guest as right of any Indian

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