An 8-year-old’s lesson at Karnataka’s Constitution & National Unity Convention

The convention sought to enlighten and raise awareness among the citizens of Karnataka about the true essence of the Constitution.

ByBellie Thomas

Published Feb 24, 2024 | 8:34 PMUpdatedFeb 24, 2024 | 10:45 PM

Inauguration of the Constitution and National Unity Convention. (Supplied)

Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah, accompanied by his Cabinet colleagues IT/BT Minister Priyank Kharge and Social Welfare Minister HC Mahadevappa, on Saturday, 24 February, inaugurated the two-day Constitution and National Unity Convention ’24 at the Palace Grounds in Bengaluru.

The convention, organised by the Social Welfare Department on behalf of the Government of Karnataka, sought to enlighten and raise awareness among the citizens of Karnataka about the true essence of the Constitution.

Constitution convention begins

Addressing the audience, Chief Minister Siddaramaiah said, “Propaganda is being spread in the country that the Constitution is framed only for the upliftment of the Dalits and is not in accordance with the socio-economic status of the country. We must understand that people who spread such false propaganda are against the core values of the Constitution that advocates freedom, equality and fraternity.”

Folk artists who performed at the inauguration. (South First)

Folk artists who performed at the inauguration. (South First)

The Chief Minister also released a special cover in the presence of the Chief Post Master General commemorating 75 years of the Constitution.

Both the Ministry of Social Welfare and the Ministry of Law and Parliamentary Affairs have initiated door-to-door campaigns, distributing the book Read the Constitution. Additionally, they are engaging with 5,659 Gram Panchayats in the state, fostering a rethinking of prevailing socio-economic, political, and cultural paradigms that threaten the democratic fabric of the country.

“The two-day convention also aims to propose innovative ideas to redress the structural challenges facing the country,” Minister HC Mahadevappa said.

The convention commenced at the Tripura-Vasini in Palace Grounds on Saturday morning, with folk artists showcasing traditional attires and dances, creating a vibrant atmosphere to welcome hundreds of guests, delegates, and participants.

Also Read: ‘Constitution under threat, protect it to survive,’ urges Siddaramaiah

Eight-year-old steals the show

Tejas Chakravarty, the 8-year-old who gave an explanation speech on Preamble

Tejas Chakravarty. (South First)

The highlight of the inaugural session was eight-year-old Tejas Chakravarty, a Class 2 student of Kendriya Vidyalaya in Chamarajanagar, who delivered a 10-minute speech explaining the various parts of the Constitution.

The young boy, son of a government staff from the Backward Classes Department, had memorised his entire speech and delivered it in Kannada with great confidence.

Tejas, sparing himself barely any time to breathe, impressively rattled off the 25 parts of the Constitution, along with the associated article numbers.

He further explained certain parts with relatable examples. He further broke down some of the key fundamental rights, which is part 3 of the Constitution. He elucidated with examples the right to equality (Articles 14-18), right to freedom (Articles 19-22), freedom of conscience and the freedom to profess, practice and propagate religion (Article 25) — all in Kannada.

Tejas took it a step further and described the structure of the Constitution, explaining to the audience the role of the Executive, President, Vice-President, as well as the working of the Legislative Branch and the Parliament.

Tejas’s 10-minute speech with barely a few pauses received a standing ovation from the audience and delegates, including the Social Welfare Minister who carried Tejas and exulted in front of the audience. “If a second standard student can learn and understand the Constitution to this level, it is not impossible for us to learn about the Preamble,” Mahadevappa reiterated.

The same was echoed by other members on the dais during their speeches to the audience.

Along with Minister Mahadevappa, the other delegates on the dais included BJP MLA of Yeshwanthapur constituency ST Somashekar, Chairman of Karnataka Legislative Council Basavaraj Horatti, Additional Chief Secretary-Cum-Development Commissioner Dr Shalini Rajneesh, and retired Justices V Gopala Gowda and HN Nagamohan Das.

Also Read: India can’t be prosperous if people don’t understand its Constitution: Mahadevappa

Call to protect the Constitution

Calling the gathering the “Amrit Mahotsav” of the Constitution of India, Chief Minister Siddaramaiah expressed his government’s commitment to conducting “Jaathas” in all 33 districts and engage with Gram Panchayats to promote understanding and appreciation of the Constitution, its values, and significance.

Addressing the gathering, Justice Gopala Gowda cautioned that the country and the Constitution are in jeopardy, emphasising the need to preserve and protect the Constitution. “The Constitution that was passed in the Parliament after discussion for around 232 days in the Assembly sessions is binding on even the President, Prime Minister, Chief Justice of India, and every one as a citizen of the country. It has to be preserved and protected,” he said.

Gowda also explained the veracities of the reservation system in India, stating that reservations are not charity, but the Constitution ensures that people from the lower strata receive their rightful share as they are also citizens of this country.

Justice Nagamohan Das likened the Constitution’s Preamble to sacred texts for various religious communities, urging the people to choose leaders wisely to safeguard the values enshrined in it.