She wanted to be a teacher but life took a different turn for Leila Seth who went on to became the first woman Chief Justice and now she relives her dream in a new book which demystifies the Constitution's Preamble for children.
In "We the Children of India: The Preamble to our Constitution" Justice Seth, the first woman to be Chief Justice in a state High Court has simplified the Preamble making it understandable to even youngest readers.
"I used my granddaughter, who was eight years old at the time of writing this book, as my sounding board. I feel it is important for every child to know the importance of the Preamble. In many countries like the US, children are made to learn about the Constitution at a very young age," Seth told PTI.
Seth who lost her father at a young age says she wanted to become a Montessori teacher but took up law by chance during her husband's foreign posting. She came back to India and broke the gender barrier by becoming the first woman chief justice of a high court in India and the first woman judge of the Delhi High Court.
"When I began writing the Preamble I thought it would be a cakewalk for me. I later realised that children do not understand words like citizens, secular, justice etc. I kept in mind my granddaughter and her questions while writing the book," says the nearly 80-year-old author.
Seth adds that children in India aren't taught the Constitution at the correct time.
"Our country has a very good Constitution but it should be taught to them when they are younger so that it becomes a part of their consciousness."
Accompanied with a history of the formation of the Constitution and a brief note on its makers, Seth has broken down one long sentence of the Preamble into separate sections, each accompanied by elaborate illustrations by Bindia Thapar.
"I have included nuggets of information like the conversion of Amender into Buddhism, the eagerness of Jawaharlal Nehru to sign the Constitution that he forgot to leave space for the then President Rajendra Prasad to sign and also about the illustrated copies of the document kept in a locked glass in the Parliament Library."
Seth plans to get the 40 page book by Puffin Books written for children aged between 7 and 11 years translated into different languages so that it reaches every child.
"If every child learns about equality justice and other issues like abolition of untouchability it will make them better equipped for a better tomorrow," says Justice Seth.
A Guide to the Constitution Through Grandma's Eyes
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