#AyodhyaDiary: Celebs, netizens find astha in secular India's Preamble as Ram 'returns'

In a counter to the amplification of Ayodhya across state & private media and social media, Malayalam actors and directors take the lead in reifying the Constitution

The Preamble to the Constitution declares us a 'sovereign socialist secular democratic republic', below an image of the national flower, the lotus. Many on social media upheld it in the run-up to the 22 January 2023 Ayodhya Ram Temple inauguration
The Preamble to the Constitution declares us a 'sovereign socialist secular democratic republic', below an image of the national flower, the lotus. Many on social media upheld it in the run-up to the 22 January 2023 Ayodhya Ram Temple inauguration
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NH Political Bureau

The night before the pran pratishthan ceremony in Ayodhya's Ram Temple, a curious trend emerged on Instagram and X, formerly known as Twitter.

It wasn't a hashtag. It wasn't a meme. It was a viral image—of sorts.

Many handles, both celebrities and common citizens, started posting an image of the Preamble to the Constitution of India.

The News Minute reported on how it started to trend across the Malayalam movie industry in the hours ahead of the inauguration of the Ram Mandir: 'The move is a reminder — on the day the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is seen to have fulfilled one of its most strident Hindutva promises — of the secular, socialist, and democratic values enshrined in the Constitution.'

Some will remember the furore last year when, in connection with another event that was hyped up as a historic state occasion—the inauguration of the new parliament building by the BJP government of India—an older version of the Constitution (prior to the addition of 'socialist', 'secular' and 'integrity' as values) was circulated among members of Parliament as a memento.

However, it is the Preamble as it currently stands that is seen on the timelines of well-known Kollywood personalities, the report noted: actors Parvathy Thiruvothu, Rima Kallingal, Divya Prabha, Kani Kusruti, directors Jeo Baby, Aashiq Abu, Kamal KM and singer Sooraj Santhosh.

Some, like Divya Prabha, went an extra step and elaborated on the values in their post caption. Kamal KM amplified the promise of the 'sovereign socialist secular democratic republic' in particular, while Rima Kallingal's emphasis was on 'Justice. Liberty. Equality. Fraternity.'

But where did this lowkey (compared to the hype that is Ayodhya today) viral project originate?

Could it be Vinay Kumar, the man behind Reclaim Constitution—a non-profit project to amplify the constitutional values, including through merchandise—who is the inspiration behind it? His mission began on Republic Day last year, 26 January 2023.

Yesterday, Kumar posted the following from his X account, reminding Indians what the day 22 January was celebrated for in 1947—it was the day the Constituent Assembly of India formally accepted the 'Objectives Resolution', with the declared intent of framing a Constitution that would govern the nation:

On Twitter, Yamini Aiyar of the Centre for Policy Research—a think tank whose FCRA registration was recently cancelled by the home ministry—was another of those to hold up the Preamble.

Journalist Greeshma Kuthar shared a more inclusion version of the Preamble, a video incorporating both speech and sign language. In her accompanying post, she said:

Remember our Preamble today. Remember that this Preamble humanises us from what we were historically—an unequal society. Remember that you can choose to stay with this Preamble even if the government of this country doesn't.
Greeshma Kuthar, journalist

As a reminder, the Preamble—as it currently stands, with the later additions of the values 'secular', 'socialist' and (national) 'integrity'—reads in full:

WE, THE PEOPLE OF INDIA having solemnly resolved to constitute India into a SOVEREIGN SOCIALIST SECULAR DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC and to secure to all its citizens:
JUSTICE, social, economic and political;
LIBERTY of thought, expression, belief, faith and worship;
EQUALITY of status and of opportunity; and to promote among them all
FRATERNITY assuring the dignity of the individual and the unity and integrity of the Nation;
IN OUR CONSTITUENT ASSEMBLY this twenty-sixth day of November, 1949, do HEREBY ADOPT, ENACT AND GIVE TO OURSELVES THIS CONSTITUTION.

Others who upheld the same faith in the Constitution rather than in religion today include Dayanand Kamble, deputy director (news) at the Directorate General of Information & Public Relations in the Maharashtra government, curiously enough. He quoted Babasaheb Ambedkar, the father of the Constitution: 'Indians today are governed by two different ideologies. Their political ideal set in the preamble of the Constitution affirms a life of liberty, equality, and fraternity. Their social ideal embodied in their religion denies them..."

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