Each page of The Constitution was decorated by artists from Shantiniketan. Photo Source:: WikiSource

Constitution as a work of Art – The Indian Constitution is not only a consolidation of laws and regulations. But it is a wonderful repository of art. It gives us a sense of India’s rich tradition and culture. It’s a glimpse into our cultural heritage. Adorning the Constitution with pictures depicting Indian culture and heritage was a task entrusted to Nandalal Bose and his students from Shantiniketan. Each of the 22 parts of the Indian Constitution begins with an illustration. Bose decorated several pages of the first manuscript with stylish borders, headers, and backdrops. He even embossed complex patterns on the edges and made the covers in gold. These embossments are reminiscent of the Ajanta murals.

The Constitution of India is the only one in the world with images. Bose and his team made 22 images for the manuscript of the Indian Constitution. These 22 paintings are on the top of the illustrated in various parts of the Constitution. Some of them are:

Cover page of the Calligraphic copy of the Constitution of India In English. Photo Source: DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE
  • The Preamble, which was designed by Beohar Rammanohar Sinha;
  • The National Emblem, which was sketched by Nandalal’s student Dinanath Bhargava;
  • Directive Principles of State Policy, Fundamental Rights, etc.

Our constitution was not typed on a typewriter nor was it printed. It was completely written with human hands, that too by only one person, Prem Bihari Narain Raizada. He wrote the constitution in beautiful flowing Italic style in calligraphy. Several students of Santiniketan worked on the borders that frame each page. It took almost three years to complete the first draft.

Each part of the Constitution begins with a depiction of a phase or scene from India’s national history. The artworks represent various periods in Indian history, including the Vedic Period, Mohenjodaro in the Indus Valley, the Gupta and Maurya empires as well as the Mughal era.

Composed between 1947 and 1950, the Indian constitution – one of the longest written Constitutions for any sovereign state in the world, has only grown over the years, the ministry of external affairs explains:

The original text of the Constitution contained 395 articles in 22 parts and eight schedules. It came into effect on January 26, 1950, the day that India celebrates each year as the Republic Day. The number of articles has since increased to 448 due to 100 amendments.

Two copies of the Indian constitution were handwritten, one in English and one in Hindi. The Handmade Paper Institute in Pune, that was setup by K B Joshi in 1940, with the blessings of Mahatma Gandhi, has the unique distinction of providing the paper on which India’s Constitution was first written. Writing the Constitution of India and completing it had taken almost three years. They are currently kept in helium-filled cases in the library of the Parliament House.

To know more about the magnificent work of decorating the Indian Constitution check out Republic of Art: The Constitution as an Illustrated History of India written by The Heritage Lab (THL) .

We are so used to seeing clauses, acts and amendments in our textbooks that we’ve forgotten about the original. To recreate some important aspects of Indian Constitution we introduced a few wall arts and desk plaques. We chose following parts of Indian Constitution

  • Preamble – a brief introductory statement that sets out guidelines, which guide the people of the nation, and to present the principles of the Constitution, and to indicate the source from which the document derives its authority, and meaning. 
  • Citizens’ Fundamental Rights – 6 fundamental rights (defined in Part III of the Constitution) – the basic human rights of all citizens.
  • Citizens’ Fundamental Duties – 11 fundamental duties in Part IV–A of the Constitution – the moral obligations of all citizens to help promote a spirit of patriotism and to uphold the unity of India.
  • Citizens’ Pledge – an oath of allegiance to the Republic of India

So our collection – INDIA | The Republic is created to remaster the Indian constitution to its original glory took.