Jawaharlal Nehru’s 50th death anniversary also marks 50 years since the introduction of the 17th constitutional amendment in Parliament. In the first 14 years of the republic, Nehru’s government amended the Constitution 17 times. This is among the lesser known, and more complicated of Nehru’s legacies. Though Nehru is often romanticized as upholding the Constitution, especially in comparison to Indira Gandhi, he was at best, a reluctant constitutionalist.
While Nehru outlined the broad principles of the Constitution in the objectives resolution on 13 December 1946, he was not as involved as other leaders who played more crucial roles in the Constitution-making process. Rajendra Prasad kept the troops in line and maintained meticulous records; B.R. Ambedkar took on the difficult task of drafting; and Vallabhbhai Patel, the man behind the scenes, built consensus with minorities, and served on many committees to see through the details.
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