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As the Indian independence movement progressed—from the economic critique of colonial rule by the early nationalists, to the unequivocal demand for Purna Swaraj and the immense moral authority of the Mahatma Gandhi-led resistance—the notion of an equal society that ensured dignity to all— irrespective of caste, class, gender or religion—came to occupy a central place in it. By the time the Constituent Assembly met in December 1946, not just civil rights, but the particular rights of women, of minorities, of the Depressed Classes and the Adivasis were being articulated and demanded, not as favours but as a matter of course. As the editor of this volume writes in his brilliant introduction, the effect of the speeches delivered by the leaders of our national movement was to focus ‘political action towards scripting an ennobling nationalism that would give us a just and equal society’.