Constitution of India, know all about the history and development since it came into effect

Seventy-three years after the Constitution came into effect on 26 January 1950, how has the Constitution advanced the radical changes it envisions for India, especially with respect to women and gender rights?

Rohini Pande, Henry J Heinz II Professor of Economics and Director of the Center for Economic Growth, joins historian Rohit De and journalist Barkha Dutt to talk about the experiences of Indian women and girls through the lens of the Constitution.

India’s constitution made gender equality a fait accompli, says De, an associate professor of history at Yale University. The challenge, he says, was post-independence while these goals were put forward.

According to Dutt, the Constitution is always a document of hope that India can be, even if what the Constitution expects is not carried out. While there is a perception that much has yet to be achieved or that much is interpretive, there is an ever-changing meaning for Article 14 (Equal Rights for All) and how it can be interpreted or re-imagined.

Pande points out that while India has granted universal suffrage, this is not the result of a suffrage movement that has helped link political empowerment with economic empowerment, as well as women’s rights in other areas. As a result, economic and physical rights have largely caught up after the Constitution in India and other countries, Pande says.

Finally, they also discuss the hopes and promises the Constitution continues to provide, and how India’s other half can be an important part of this conversation. As De asks, what will happen in a society where women’s consciousness has been raised but men still think as they did 20 years ago?

This conversation is a special edition of EGC Voices in Development, a podcast series from Yale’s Center for Economic Growth that explores issues related to sustainable development and economic justice in low- and middle-income countries. Yale Development Talk.

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