chapter  1
18 Pages

IMPLEMENTING A SECULAR STATE

With these now famous words, India’s fi rst Prime Minister, Jawa-harlal Nehru, began his speech celebrating India’s moment of independence. Delivered just before midnight on 14-15 August 1947, the speech actually served as the preamble to a motion he introduced to the Constituent Assembly, asking his fellow legislators to take a pledge of dedication to ‘the service of India’ (CA, 14 August 1947) [Doc. 1, pp. 134-5]. The Constituent Assembly was a governing council, elected just a year before in 1946 and at this time functioned both as a provisional parliament and as a deliberative body to write India’s Constitution.