Bengaluru: The Karnataka government on Friday organised a mega event of reading the Constitution’s preamble as part of the ‘International Day of Democracy’ celebrations, with over two crore people participating in the programme from the country and abroad at the same time.
Chief Minister Siddaramaiah led the celebrations, along with Deputy Chief Minister D K Shivakumar and several other guests, by reading the preamble in Kannada from the grand steps of ‘Vidhan Soudha’ here with a large number of school students and others joining in unison in front of them.
According to the state government, over 10,000 people attended the event physically, apart from virtual participation of over two crore individuals spanning 20 nations including Australia, the United States, Canada, Saudi Arabia, the Netherlands, Spain, Sweden, Germany, Taiwan, Italy, and many more, all united in a collective reading of the Constitution’s preamble.
The preamble reading programme has earned an esteemed place in the World Book of Records, it said.
“Together, we have not only set a world record but also etched an indelible mark on ‘International Democracy Day’. The government’s profound dedication to constitutional values, coupled with the heartfelt participation of citizens, mirrors the very essence of India’s democratic heritage,” the state government said in a release.
In June, the Karnataka government made it mandatory for all students of schools and colleges, whether government, aided or private, to read the preamble of the Constitution daily. It also made it compulsory to have a portrait of the preamble of the Constitution put up at all government and semi-government offices in the state.
Addressing the gathering, Siddaramaiah spoke of the governance of his administration, stating four of the five ‘guarantees’ (pre-poll promises of the Congress) have been fulfilled and that the government has “walked the talk”.
“Protection of the Constitution is the duty of every citizen Our Constitution opens with ‘We the people of India…’ If the what the Constitution says is not effectively understood and followed, it is not possible to build an equal society,” the chief minister said.
As per the tenets laid down in the Constitution, which calls for an equal society and highlights secular principles, Siddaramaiah said his government has implemented schemes for the prosperity of all, and their purpose was to return money to the public to improve their lives.
“Our government has implemented programmes for the prosperity of all, as per the aspirations of equal society and secular principle of the Constitution,” he said.
The chief minister said anti-constitutional forces are trying to destroy the Constitution and implement the ‘Manusmriti’ again. He called on the state to be alert and aware about this.
“Destroying the Constitution and enforcing ‘Manusmriti’ means 90% of Indians will be forced back into slavery,” he said and warned that a lot of conspiracies are going on in this direction.
Siddaramaiah said that after the adoption of the Constitution, the democratic system was officially implemented in India.
“The democratic system has been formed in our land since the time of Buddha and Basavanna (12th-century social reformer) The debates held in Parliament during the promulgation of the Constitution seem to reflect the importance of our Constitution and the mindset of the opponents of the Constitution,” the chief minister added.
Social Welfare Minister H C Mahadevappa, among several other ministers, and Chief Secretary Vandita Sharma also attended the event.
Mahadevappa had said on Wednesday that nearly 2.28 crore people, from all walks of life within the country and abroad, have registered to read the Constitution’s preamble.
“From within the country and abroad, 2,27,81,894 people have made online registration. We had expected 5 or 10 lakh people to register, but this has become a movement,” Mahadevappa had said.
He had said that people from corporate, private, government and banking sectors, as well as industries, and NRIs from several countries have come forward to participate, and have registered.
“The intention is to make people, especially the youth, understand the idea of democracy and the Constitution. Thereby they know the main purpose of the preamble, to lead a life with dignity, freedom and equality,” Mahadevappa added.
The Social Welfare department had said that anyone who wants to read the Constitution on the same day (September 15) and at the same time of the main event, and get a participation certificate issued by the Government of Karnataka, needs to register.
On September 15, they can upload a video or picture of them reading the preamble, upon which they will be approved to download participation certificates from the same website, it said.
The minister spoke about the importance of making it mandatory to read the preamble at all formal functions of the state government, besides all schools, colleges and educational institutions.
Meanwhile, in view of the mega event, Bengaluru Traffic Police also issued an advisory suggesting diversion of vehicles to ensure smooth flow of traffic.