Commonwealth Local Government Forum

Understanding democracy – the Constitution explained

01 March 2023


Local democracy runs through every part of CLGF’s work and understanding how it relates, on a practical level, is key to this. A new initiative in the Indian city of Mumbai is making a significant difference to the way in which people think about democracy.

Constitutional literacy

The New Mumbai Corporation is the organising body responsible for a one-day workshop on Constitutional Literacy to help people better understand how the country’s Constitution relates to their daily lives. Staff from the Department of Social Justice and Welfare are reaching out to people to help them understand Constitutional roles and responsibilities, making it more than simply an abstract or academic publication. The aim of the workshops demonstrate how the Constitution has real meaning to the way we live our lives.


CLGF’s South Asia Programme Manager, Ms Anuya Kuwar, was one of the speakers in the workshops. She spoke about the issue of equality and how this can be practised by citizens in relation to how they treat others. The more affluent people, who employ staff can demonstrate equality by sharing a dining table and eating together. Using wealth to help others to attain education contributes towards ensuring a more equal society. These are just some of the practical ways that the Constitutional can be brought to life.


Ms Kuwar said: “This is a great initiative, not least because the New Mumbai Corporation is the first local government in India to drive this forward, voluntarily. The Constitution should not be handed over to citizens without translating it into ordinary life.”

Democracy building successful communities

She went on to praise the impact that this kind of training would have, generally, in helping people to understand the ways in which democracy can contribute to creating fair, equal, safe and sustainable communities.


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