This chapter examines the background conditions, or ideas, that informed the Indian Constituent Assembly (1946–49) as it reflected on the country’s future identity, and how that identity has been shaped by the Constitution. Constitutions, including the Indian Constitution, have been associated with concrete events that are saturated in terms of context and are often interpreted as the product of a historical process. This article begins with an overview of how constitutions respond to imperatives in relation to the logic of historical causation. It then considers the ways in which crisis and anarchy inform constitutional founding moments, along with social issues that have pervaded the Constituent Assembly debates and the Constitution. The chapter also discusses the significance of national unity/disunity and the idea of the future for the Constitution and the vision of country it put in place.
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