‘We, the people of India…’
The Preamble to the Indian Constitution begins with words that persistently remain imprinted in the memory of almost anyone who has had even minimal engagement with a Civics textbook. But what does it mean to be ‘the people of India’? Does people mean the same as citizens?
In light of the recent updation of the National Register of Citizens Assam that has excluded over 19 lakh residents, these questions become even more crucial. We’ve put together a lesson structure to help you draw students into a deeper critical engagement with the idea of citizenship. Take a look!
Initiate a discussion on citizenship and what it means to the students. The below questions could be used to navigate the discussion, subject to how the discussion develops:
- How do you identify yourself? What makes you ‘you’?
- How can you prove this identity? Who decides what proofs count as legitimate?
- What are the circumstances in which one might need to prove one’s identity?
- If you are unable to prove your identity, what then?
Conduct the Scroll ‘Are you a Citizen?’ quiz and discuss the findings of the quiz in light of the students’ responses/assertions in the preceding discussion.
Why did Genocide Watch issue a genocide watch in Assam, India, 2019?
Use this question to begin a brief overview of the history of the NRC in Assam and where it stands now( refer to brief list of suggested reading at the end of the page).
We put together an assignment on exploring citizenship vis-à-vis the NRC Assam through poetry to make it accessible and usable even beyond the History classroom! Access it here: Poetry and Citizenship
Suggested reading material
‘Why Many in Assam see the National Register of Citizens as a lifeline’, TheWire.in, August 24, 2018
‘The Final Count’, Scroll.in, August 1-31, 2019.