The most important event of the year for us – the Prize Distribution event of our Inter-College Constitution Literacy Exam started from last year, or in short the “Constitution Event”, took place on 27th January 2020.

Preparations had begun from almost a month back – from finding an appropriate venue, inviting guest speakers who are eminent in their fields while strongly upholding the Indian Constitution, ensuring all exam participants attend, arranging for the prizes, and of course, getting the prize winners list from the paper checkers. Excitement was on a high when the 100 odd students started coming into the auditorium, excited to receive their certificates and perhaps the prize too!

The event started with, and was regularly interspersed with performances by the Badlache Parv Kala Manch. This is formed by youth leaders from many of our projects who use cultural mediums to take across messages of social change. Their performance included songs, poetry and reading out quotes by Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar – whose thoughts reflect democracy and justice in so many ways. These really brightened up and set the tone for the event.

The chief guest was Padma Shri Sudharak Olwe, a celebrated photojournalist, and who has been a friend and well-wisher of Anubhuti since its inception. He has, in his own words, “Always followed and appreciated Anubhuti’s work because of continuing to work with grassroot youth and for constitutional literacy no matter what, despite many challenges including lack of resources.” He delivered the keynote address where he touched upon his work, why he as a photographer and journalist has always adhered to concepts of social justice in his work, and why it is the media’s duty to uphold democracy and be constitutional in their approach, which many news media, etc. are not doing. He also fielded insightful questions from the audience such as – how he dealt with pressure from the establishment that journalists with a conscience have to many a times.

This was followed by speech by Dr. Vivek Korde, a known expert on the Indian Constitution. He spoke about how the only true base of the Indian nation is its Constitution; there is no common religious, linguistic or culutral base as there is for some other nations. He also reiterated how the Constitution plays the difficult role of promising rights and freedoms that are not yet existing in the Indian society, which is why it is so much more important for youth to be working to uphold the Indian Constitution.

Lastly, Deepa Pawar, founder of Anubhuti and thought leader of this entire Constitution Literacy process, strongly asserted that the Indian Constitution is so clear and committed that it protects the rights of even those who oppose it. Current socio-politics were discussed to see whether they were in the spirit of the Constitution or not, and our responsibility to then speak up against it. Finally, she invited participants to sign up as ‘Constitution Friends’ – a concept started last year where selected youth are trained to work in more active roles for the Constitution. A huge number of hands went up!

The most awaited event of the day finally arrived with the announcement of the winners! There was a new addition this year of ‘best answers’ who were given special mention prizes – Tarkesh Jha from SIA college, Pranav Bhamare and Taniya Jahagirdar from CHM college and Nidhi Dhiman from SHM college. Like last year, the competition was really tought and there were not one but two consolation prizes – Prateek Pawan Singh and Aditya Thapa from CHM college. It was super amazing that all the top winners, like last year, were all women! Third prize went to Jyoti Mestri of Pragati college, second to Bhagrashree Tadge of Agrawal college and first to Komal Yadav of Bharat college!

There were many highlights of the day, but the most heartwarming for us was when the youth came up to the stage – the first time for many of them – and spoke about why the Indian Constitution was important to them.

It is the first and last hope to save, nurture and propagate the integrity of the nation which is ‘Union of States’ i.e. India. If we want to achieve anything close to the concept of ‘Utopian Nation’, the constitution is the only guiding force. And that is why I stand with the most important book of the land called, ‘Constitution’.

Abhijit Jadhav

If tomorrow something inhuman happens to me, my father, mother, family, community, nation, race, gender, everyone may disown me, but constitution will not and cannot disown me.

Aditya Thapa

संविधान आम्हाला मानवता शिकवतो.
यह जान हैं, यह प्राण है
यह सन्मान है हमारा
संविधान को जानना
यह कर्त्तव्य है हमारा
हम रहे न रहे
पर संविधान रहना चाहिए
(लिहू शक्लो कारन संविधानाने स्वातंत्र्य दिलंय)

पातेश रघुनाथ लाद

सर्व्भौमिक्ता,धर्मनिरपेखक्षता, समाजवादी विचार हर व्यक्ति विशेष मैं होना ज़रूरी है।
सामाजिक, आर्थिक, न्याय और राजनैतिक न्याय वास्तव में होना चाहिए।
और मैं सर्वप्रथम अंतिमत: सिर्फ भारतीय हू।
और यह पहचान मुझे मेरा संविधान देता है। भारत का संविधान।

हरीश विकश वाघमोरे

मुझे अपने देश संविधान पर गर्व है, और मैं इसलिए भी साथ हूँ क्यूंकि जो देश के क़ानून का विरोध करता है उसका भी हमारा संविधान रक्षा करता है।

प्रीती राजू वैश्य

वह मेरी पहचान है। वह मुझे बताता है की मेरे अधिकार क्या हैं। अगर मेरे साथ कुछ गलत होता है तो संविधान मुझे बताता है की उन्हें मैं वापिस कैसे सुधार सकती हूँ। और कैसे मेरे बेहेन और भाई जो कुछ कारणों से पीछे रह गए हैं उन्हें कैसे साथ में आगे ला सकती हूँ।

अंजलि मीणा

आते समय हमे एक स्टीकर जहाँ मराठी में लिखा था “माणूस म्हणून जगण्यासाठी” इस बात पर मैं यह कहना चाहता हूँ की संविधान इंसान को इंसान जैसा जीने के लिए प्रेरित करता है। जहाँ कई देशों में इंसान को अभी भी पूरे अधिकार नहीं है, इस चीज़ की वजह से मैं गर्व से कहता हूँ की मैं संविधानवादी हूँ।

प्रणव भामरे

क्यूंकि संविधान को रेस्पेक्ट करना मेरी आदत नहीं मेरी ज़रुरत है। संविधान में लिखी गयी बातें यह लोगों तक पहुंचना मेरा कर्त्तव्य है। संविधान से जुड़े रहना मेरे लिए गर्व की बात है। क्यूंकि मुझे किसी भी तरह का अन्याय के विरोध लड़ने का हक़ है। गलत के खिलाफ आवाज़ उठाने का हक़ है। ज़िंदाबाद साथियों।

अंकिता कृष्णप्रसाद गुप्ता

Some students wrote in later with their feedback:

Babasaheb Ambedkar said that he measures the progress of a society by the progress their women have made. Today, I can say with pride seeing that both years the top winners have been women and the entire exam and process was being led by women, that our community of constitution learners is on the right way to progress.

A young man

Earlier I used to stay far away from politics. Once a friend had asked – what is the meaning of India? I had no answer then. But today I can strongly say – India is its Constitution! My whole outlook has changed. I would like to learn more, and truly want to join as a Constitution Friend.

A young woman

There are a few organisations who do the work of constitution literacy, and Anubhuti is unique even amongst them for not limiting to only literacy but connecting many other social programs with it. The way they managed to have youth express themselves really felt like the beginnings of youth leadership.

A young man