On February 20, 2014 the Rajya Sabha organized a formal farewell for its retiring members. Besides the usual formalities, the farewell had a key highlight, the screening of extracts of a serial titled ‘SAMVIDHAN’ on the making of India’s Constitution. This serial has been produced for the Rajya Sabha TV and supported by the Rajya Sabha Secretariat.
The serial has been directed by Shyam Benegal, one of the most outstanding film makers of India in the recent times. Shyam Benegal was also a colleague of ours for six years as a nominated member of Rajya Sabha. Well known actors from both cinema and theatre have acted in the serial. It will be a ten part serial which will be telecast initially on Rajya Sabha TV. Each episode is of one hour duration. In the course of the recording of the serial, a replica of the Central Hall of the Parliament was created in a studio at Mumbai. The replica looks identical to the Central Hall. Furnishings, photograph frames, the dais, the peculiar fans of the Central Hall are all there. Actors bore resemblance to the President of the Constituent Assembly Dr. Rajendra Prasad, Chairman of the Drafting Committee Dr. B.R. Ambedkar, Jawaharlal Nehru, Sardar Patel, Mohammed Ali Jinnah, Govind Ballabh Pant, Rajkumari Amrit Kaur, Maulana Abul Kalam Azad, N Gopalaswami Ayyangar etc. The contents of the debates, discussions and speeches are based on what is contained in the text of the Constituent Assembly debates.
While I eagerly wait for the episodes of the serial to be telecast, having got a glimpse of the serial, I have no doubt that it brings on the screen the most fascinating story of the India’s constitution drafting. It is a history which is easier to absorb from the screen than from the books. Since the Rajya Sabha had budgeted for the entire cost of the serial and there is no profit motive in this regard, it may be serving a larger purpose, if after initial telecast on the Rajya Sabha TV, this is widely shown in all other mediums including the Doordarshan and the private channels. It is a must see serial for anyone who has interest in the subject. In particular all elected political representatives, political activists, media persons, academics and students must necessarily watch this serial. It should be made available eventually on the You Tube so that people across the world can have access to it.
Coming close to the telecast of episodes of the serial ‘Pradhan Mantri’ by a private news channel, the presentation of history on TV and the digital medium can serve as a great education for interested persons. If quality episodes of ‘Pradhan Mantri’ and ‘Samvidhan’ attract audiences, hopefully it may be beginning of India’s History Channel.