By Gautam Mishra
The Constituent Assembly for drafting the Constitution held its first sitting on December 9, 1946. On November 26, 1949, the final version of the Constitution received the signature of the president of the assembly and was declared as passed. The provisions relating to citizenship, elections, provisional parliament, temporary and transitional provisions were given immediate effect from November 26, 1949. The rest of the Constitution came into force on January 26, 1950, and that date is referred to in the Constitution as the Date of its Commencement.
In any case, the number of realizing that this enormous constitution was written by hand without any instrument while writing the whole Constitution. Calligraphist Prem Bihari Narayan Rayzada wrote the entire Constitution with his hands in italic style.
He was born on December 16, 1901, graduated from St. Stephen’s College and belonged to a family of renowned handwriting researchers. His grandfather Ram Prasad was also a calligrapher and used to teach calligraphy to Prem.
Prem’s name started spreading after his graduation when he started practicing calligraphy and that is when the then Prime Minister of India, Jawaharlal Nehru summoned him as Nehru wanted the Constitution of India to be in handwriting calligraphy in italic style. Prem didn’t ask for a penny for writing the Constitution, however, sought liberty from Nehru to write his name on every page and the name of his father and grandfather at the end of the Constitution.
Later, Prem along with the then President Rajendra Prasad met with famous painter Nandalal Basu deciding as to where on the leaf Prem would write the Constitution and the remaining part will be decorated by Nandalal Basu.
Basu along with his students from Santiniketan filled the remaining part with paintings of Mohenjodaro Seals, Ramayana, Mahabharat, Gautam Buddha’s life, meeting of Vikramaditya, Mughal Empire, Emperor Akbar, Empress Lakshibai, Promotion of Buddhism by Emperor Ashoka, Tipu Sultan, Gandhiji’s Movement, Rupachitra and Subhas Chandra Bose. The paintings were put in accordance with the content of the Constitution.
The whole 251-page Constitution took six months to be written by hand, weighing 3 kg and 650 grams. It was written in a room in the Constitution Hall of India in Parliament House. The original copy of the Constitution is preserved in the library of the Parliament House, Delhi.
-Gautam Mishra is an advocate