The constitution is the source of power and the guiding principle for oppressed Indians, who would otherwise be subjected to the whims of rules set by rulers. Awareness of the constitution is an imperative step in empowering the masses. Keeping this fact in mind, Dalit rights groups from Gujarat have set up a Constitution Museum. Built at a cost of Rs 8 lakh, the 'Open-air' museum, which functions from the premises of Dalit Shakti Kendra, provides insight into the process that led to the making of the Constitution. Divided into four sections across the DSK compound, the Constitution Museum seeks to make people aware of their various rights and responsibilities, as well as the grievance redressal mechanisms available. The museum is located in Sanand in the Ahmedabad district of Gujarat, also famous as the manufacturing facility of Nano by Tata Motors.
The Mooknayak spoke to Pradeep G. More of the Dalit Foundation, who played an instrumental role in setting up this museum. He said, “The basic idea of the Constitution Museum is to sensitize people about the importance of the constitution. There are no simple and convenient ways through which the layman can understand the constitution. We try to summarize the ideas and messages of Ambedkar through various models in this museum. The constitution also emphasizes the scientific approach as espoused by Buddha, Ambedkar, and other such people. We see that certain religious ideologies dominating today espouse superstition. As the Indian constitution completes 75 years in 2025, we thought that there should be a center to teach people from the village. We have used different models to drive home the point; for example, the model of the train has been used to explain how there was untouchability in society before the implementation of the constitution and how the constitution has helped alleviate it through the years.
The exhibits at the open-air museum acquire symbolic significance, aiming to drive home the point of the power of the constitution. The premises of Dalit Shakti Kendra function as a vocational training center, with sports activities aligned with the theme of the constitution. The punching bag at the center serves as a symbol of untouchability, encouraging kids to hit it with full vigor. Kids can also aim at models of untouchability with bow and arrow. The museum also has a model of a toy house named “Constitutional Home” seeking to answer the question “What is the Indian Constitution all about?” The toy models are available in Gujarati and Hindi and can be owned at a cost of Rs 300.
Brain Child of an Award-Winning Activist
The Dalit Shakti Kendra has been established by the Dalit Foundation, Navsarjan Trust, and Dalit Shakti Kendra with contributions from the people. Martin Mcwan, the founder of Navsarjan Trust, is the brainchild behind the "Open Air Museum." Martin Macwan founded the Navsarjan Trust in 1989 to promote the rights of Dalits and the landless. His work in the sphere of Human Rights was recognized, and he received the Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights Award in 2000 from the Robert F. Kennedy Centre for Justice and Human Rights.
Kuldeep Kumar is an activist from Bundelkand region of UP, who founded Yuva Dastak, an organization committed to safeguarding of the constitution, throwing light on the conception behind Constitution Home, he says “The constitutional home is a wooden replica to expound the concept behind the constitution, like the four walls of constitution are Equality, liberty, fraternity, justice, The roofs are a symbol of fundamental rights and fundamental duties. The windows have been symbolically named after sections and articles and I think the people will be able to get an idea behind the constitution through this model. “