On 26th November 1949, proceedings of the Constituent Assembly began with Sardar Patel giving the members some good news:

I am glad to inform the House that all the nine States specified in Part B of the First Schedule of the Constitution, including the State of Hyderabad, have signified, in the manner indicated in my statement made on October 12th, their acceptance of the Constitution which the House is now going to adopt.

The problem of the Princely States was a thorn during the entire duration of the constitution-making process. Patel’s news could not have come on a better day: the Constituent Assembly after 2 years 11 months and 165 settings,wasabout to adopt the Constitution.

Rajendra Prasad, President of the Constituent Assembly, as usual,conducted the proceedings of the house. Before he could begin his speech, he had to deal with some interruptions.

B. Das wanted to know if the President of the Constituent Assembly would make an announcement about Vandemataram being India’s national song and ‘what should be our national anthem?’ The President refused to make an announcement “That matter will be considered later on, if necessary, by the Assembly when we meet in January”.

AlguRaiShastri wanted some information regarding the Hindi translation of the Constitution from the President: when was the Hindi translation going to be ready? Can the Constituent Assembly sit for two or three more days to generally discuss the Hindi translation? He continued:

We can sit for two or three days and adopt the Constitution in our National Language. We should pass our Constitution in the language of the country. This language (English) is not the language of the people, it is not the language of the common man. I, therefore, request you in the name of Indian nationalism and in the name of Indian people to make a definite announcement in this respect

R.V. Dhulekar had similar queries. It seems like both members and possibly some others as well wanted the symbolism attached to the adoption and signing of the Constitution to have some ‘Hindi’ component. While AlguRaiShastri wanted the Constituent Assembly to adopt a Hindi translation of the Constitution, Dhulekar wanted to check if members could sign a Hindi translation of the Constitution.

Rajendra Prasad reminded AlguShastri that the Constituent Assembly had decided that English would be the language of official use for the next 15 years and that he will work towards getting a Hindi translation, as directed by a resolution of the Assembly, ready by the 26th January 1950. And no, the signing of a Hindi translated version of the Indian Constitution can only happen after the Constituent Assembly authenticated the translation – which won’t be possible before 26th January 1949.

Rajendra Prasad then finally began his longspeech: he mentioned the challenges that framers of the Constitution had to take into account: size and population of the country, the problem of the princely states. He briefly touched upon the constitution-makingprocess itself – the Objectives Resolution being the terms of reference for the constitution-making process; the setting up of various committees etc. He also provided some trivia:

  • The expense incurred in the Constitution making process as of 22nd November 1949: Rs. 63, 96, 729
  • Number visitors who watched the proceedings of the Constituent Assembly from the Gallery: 53,000

The bulk of speech related to different parts and features of the Constitution – most of which he was happy with. However, he did have two regrets: the Constitution did not lay down any qualifications for a member of the legislature and, the Constitution was not written in an Indian language.

In his speech, RajendraPrasad thanked the various individuals who contributed to the constitution making process: members of the Drafting Committee, the Secretariat, support staff etc. He ended his speech and then the moment had finally arrived:

President: It now remains to put the motion which was moved by Dr Ambedkar, to the vote of the House. The question is:

"That the Constitution as settled by the Assembly be passed."

The motion was adopted, (Prolonged Cheers).

After almost three years of hard work, the Constituent Assembly finally adopted the Constitution of India. Rajendra Prasad called for one more sitting – this would be the day that members would sign the Constitution - before 26th January 1949.

Rajendra Prasad then went around to the members to shake hands.