Jodhpur, Rajasthan- Saturdays at the Jai Narain Vyas University in Jodhpur take on a unique significance as the day is dedicated to a noble cause: fostering awareness and understanding of the Constitution, particularly among the younger generation.
In a transformative endeavour aimed at demystifying the Constitution and rectifying widespread misconceptions, the Ambedkar Study Center and the Department of Public Administration at JNVU, leads an initiative called 'Samvidhan Aapke Dwar.' This campaign, which commenced to enlighten school and college students about the Constitution's essence, has gone beyond mere educational discussions. The initiative seeks to clarify the fundamental values and intricacies of the Constitution among the youth.
Under the banner of 'Samvidhan Aapke Dwar,' the organisers aim to cultivate a deeper comprehension of the Constitution among students in various colleges and schools across the Jodhpur district. Commencing on September 2, the program has already conducted nine impactful workshops. Academicians visit these educational institutions, engaging students in discussions about constitutional values, the significance of the Indian Constitution, and its underlying principles. The focus areas encompass the philosophy of the Constitution, the Preamble, rule of law, democracy, and fundamental duties.
During these workshops, students not only participate in discussions but also undergo tests related to the Constitution. The top three performers are honored at the university level. Additionally, plans are underway to establish a dedicated center for the arts faculty at the university, promoting constitutional studies among the students.
In an exclusive conversation with the Mooknayak, Dr. Dinesh Gehlot, Director of the Ambedkar Study Center, illuminated the underlying objectives of the pioneering initiative.
"Numerous misconceptions shroud the understanding of the Constitution. During my interactions with students, I've observed a prevalent knowledge gap, possibly stemming from the ever-evolving societal dynamics. The younger generation's perception of the Constitution seems influenced by current happenings and lacks insights into the historical process that birthed it," Dr. Gehlot explicated.
Recognizing this gap, Dr. Gehlot stressed the critical necessity to bridge this divide by initiating a program that delves into the Constitution's intricacies and nuances. "It is imperative that the Constitution itself becomes the narrator, elucidating its formation, the arduous journey of our forefathers, and the toils they endured to secure freedom and lay the foundation of a sovereign nation, as India stands today," he affirmed.
He further explained that a formal communication is dispatched to schools and colleges, requesting a two-hour interaction focused on the Constitution. The core of this engagement involves a comprehensive explanation, shedding light on the preamble, fundamental values, and aims encapsulated within the Constitution. Subsequently, students are actively encouraged to voice their queries and uncertainties, fostering an environment conducive to learning and open discussion.
Dr. Gehlot's vision behind 'Samvidhan Aapke Dwar' hinges on addressing misconceptions, providing a historical context, and empowering the youth to comprehend the significance and relevance of the Constitution in today's societal framework. The initiative aims not only to impart knowledge but also to spark curiosity and encourage critical thinking among the younger generation.
Dr. Gehlot, shed light on prevalent misconceptions surrounding fundamental constitutional concepts such as Secularism, Reservation, and even the mention of 'India' within the document itself. He emphasized the need to rectify these misconceptions prevalent among students.
"Students often derive their understanding of these concepts from their immediate surroundings, which results in various misinterpretations," Dr. Gehlot noted. Specifically, he highlighted how the term 'Secularism' is frequently misinterpreted, with some students proposing its elimination from the Constitution. Workshops conducted by the initiative have been instrumental in clarifying the depth and significance of the term as envisioned by the framers of the Constitution.
Addressing the misattribution of Reservation solely to Baba Saheb, Dr. Gehlot employed a poignant poetic line: "aankh jise dekh na saki dil uske liye rota nahi hai,"( आँख जिसे देख न सकी, दिल उसके लिए रोता नहीं है) signifying the inability to comprehend the suffering of others without witnessing it first hand. Through these workshops, the initiative aims to educate students about the historical background and imperative need for Reservation as a mechanism to empower marginalized communities that have historically faced oppression and injustice.
The response to the nine workshops held thus far has been overwhelmingly positive, with both faculty members and students acknowledging a transformation in their perceptions post-engagement with the initiative.
Dr. Gehlot emphasized the continuation of the campaign until March 2024, highlighting the ongoing commitment to rectify misconceptions and foster a more accurate understanding of essential constitutional principles. The campaign's aim is not just to educate but to create a more informed, empathetic, and constitutionally aware generation, ensuring a more inclusive and just society.
Dr Gehlot expressed the potential for expanding the initiative as a state-driven campaign to magnify its impact.
Highlighting the transformative effect of a district-level initiative led by a university, Dr. Gehlot emphasized the potential for a much broader impact if the state were to spearhead a similar campaign. "The 'Prashasan Aapke Sang' and 'Sarkar Aapke Dwar' campaigns at the state level have already made substantial inroads in reaching the public. A 'Samvidhan Aapke Dwar' initiative, embraced by the state government, could debunk myths and rectify misconceptions related to the Constitution on a massive scale," Dr. Gehlot said.
He emphasized that the Constitution is not affiliated with any political party or individual but stands as a collective legacy of India, reflecting the country's rich cultural diversity, historical significance, and promising future.
Expressing a willingness to collaborate, Dr. Gehlot stated that JNVU would gladly serve as a nodal agency if the state government agrees to adopt and implement such a proposal.
Its noteworthy that over the past 2 years, the Department of Political Science, Public Administration, and the Nehru Study Centre at JNVUhave spearheaded innovative initiatives. One such ground breaking endeavour is the online discussion campaign centered on the Constituent Assembly debates, which has gained remarkable momentum. With a total of eleven historic sessions, these discussions delve into the crucial dialogues held by the Constituent Assembly. Six sessions have been exhaustively reviewed so far, attracting millions of viewers on YouTube. The seventh session is being held from 4th November to 8th January 2024.