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Write a short note on Nelson Mandela.

Nelson Mandela fought against white domination in South Africa. He cherished the ideal of a democratic and free society in which all persons live together in harmony and with equal opportunities.

The South African government tried him for treason and imprisoned him for daring to oppose the apartheid regime in his country. Mandela spent 28 years in South Africa’s most dreaded prison, Robben Island.

After 28 years of imprisonment, Nelson Mandela was released. On 26th April 1994, the new national flag of the Republic of South Africa was unfurled marking the newly born democracy in the world. Nelson Mandela was made the first President of this new democracy.


What is a Constitution?

Unlike a monarchy, in a democracy the rulers are not free to do what they like. Certain basic rules have to be followed by the citizens and the government. These rules put together are called the Constitution. As the supreme law of the country, the constitution determines the rights of citizens, the powers of the government and how the government should function.


What was basis of the apartheid regime in South Africa?

The apartheid regime differentiated people on the basis of their skin colour. The native people of South Africa who were black skinned were called ‘blacks’. They made up about three-fourth of the population. People of mixed races who were called ‘coloured’. The White Europeans were called ‘Whites’. The white rulers treated all non-whites as inferior.


How were the non-whites discriminated?

The non-whites did not have any voting rights. The apartheid regime was particularly oppressive for the ‘blacks’ and the ‘coloured’. They were forbidden from living in white areas. They could work in white areas only if they had a permit.

There were separate trains, buses, taxis, hotels, hospitals, schools and colleges, libraries, cinema halls, theatres, beaches, swimming pools and public toilets, for the whites and blacks. The blacks were not allowed into the Churches frequented by the whites. There were not allowed to form any association to represent their problems. This system of racial discrimination, unique to South Africa, was called Apartheid.


Which was the first organisation that led the first against Apartheid?

The African National Congress (ANC) was the first organisation that led the struggle against Apartheid.


Why is South Africa called a ‘rainbow nation’ today?

There is no social or any discrimination based on skin colour in free south Africa, today. Blacks, whites and coloured people, men and women, live as free citizens, in total harmony. This is why they call South Africa a ‘rainbow nation’.


What was the situation at the time India achieved independence?

At that time of independence, the people of India were emerging from the status of subjects to that of citizens. India and Pakistan were born through a partition on the basis of religious differences. This was a traumatic experience for the people of India and Pakistan. Lakhs of people were killed on both sides of the border in partition related violence. The British had left it to the rulers of the princely states to decide whether they wanted to merge with India or with Pakistan or remain independent. This created a lot of turmoil.


Write a short note on the first Constituent assembly.

Elections to the first Constituent Assembly were held in July 1946. The elected members drafted the document called the Constitution. The Constituent Assembly held its first meeting in November 1946. Soon after the country was divided into India and Pakistan. The Constituent Assembly was also divided into the Constituent Assembly of India and that of Pakistan. The Indian Constituent assembly had 299 members. The Assembly adopted the Constitution on 26 November 1949. The constitution only came into effect on January 26, 1950. So Republic Day is celebrated on the 26th of January , every year.


How is the South African Constitution looked upon today?

The South African constitution inspires democrats all over the world. South Africa was a State which was looked down upon by many during the Apartheid regime. Today the determination of the people of South Africa to work together, without bearing any grudges against the white regime in looked upon with great respect.

The South African Constitution sees people of all skin colours as equal. Men and women are treated equally.


What is a Preamble? Quote the Preamble of our constitution.

A Preamble is an introductory statement in a constitution which states the reasons and guiding values of the constitution.

" We, the people of India having solemnly resolved to constitute India into SOVEREIGN SOCIALIST SECULAR DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC and secure to all its citizens justice, social, economic and political. Liberty of thought, expression, belief, faith and worship. Equality of statue 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 constitutional assembly, this 26th day of November.1949, do hereby adopt, enact and give to ourselves this constitution."


Who constituted the Constituent assembly?

The Assembly was dominated by the Indian National Congress, which led India’s freedom struggle. The Indian National Congress included a variety of political groups . these different groups had different opinions.

The Assembly also had many members who did not agree with the Congress. On the social platform, the Assembly was represented by members from different language groups, castes, classes, religions and occupations.


What is secularism?

When a Government treats all religious beliefs and practices with equal respect it called a secular government. There is no official religion. Citizens have complete freedom to follow any religion.


Define ‘ Democratic Republic’.

‘ Democratic Republic’ is a form of government where people enjoy equal political rights, elect their rulers and hold them accountable. The government is run according to some basic rules. The head of the state is an elected person and not a hereditary ruler.


Write a brief note on the following personalities.

(a) Jawaharlal Nehru

(b) Sarojini Naidu

(c) Bhimrao Ramji Ambedkar

(a) Jawaharlal Nehru was born in the year 1889 and died in the year 1964. He was born in the state of Uttar Pradesh. He was a lawyer by profession. He was the Prime Minister of the interim government. As a Congress leader he advocated socialism, democracy and anti-imperialism. Later he was appointed the First Prime Minister of India.

(b) Sarojini Naidu was born in the year 1879 and died in the year 1949. She was born in Andhra Pradesh. She was a poet, writer and political activist. She was among the foremost women leaders in the Congress. Later she was appointed the Governor of Uttar Pradesh.

(c) Bhimrao Ramji Ambedkar was born in the year 1891 and died in the year 1956. He was born in Maharashtra. He was the Chairman of the Drafting Committee of the Constitution. He was a Social revolutionary thinker and agitated against caste divisions and caste based inequalities. He was made the Law minister in the first cabinet of post independence India.


Was Mahatma Gandhi a member of the Constituent Assembly?

No, Mahatma Gandhi was not a member of the Constituent Assembly.

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