This was published in HuffPost India on Republic Day 2016. Here is the link.
Below is an extract:
The most significant (and least appreciated) way in which the Constitution affects our lives positively, almost every day, is through the guarantees of equality and freedom it has gifted us all. A woman driving a car, a girl dancing in a movie, young men and women going abroad for study or work, lovers hugging each other at a station — these are just some snippets of a good, ordinary Indian life which might never have existed if religion had dominated our civic and criminal systems. India is the poster child of the “ban culture”, and it is a harrowing mental exercise to think of all the mindless prohibitions that would crop up if our lawmakers and administrators were given a holy book, not the Constitution, to get inspiration from (something they of course still often do). Interestingly the Constitution, because it upholds secularism, gives all citizens extensive rights under “freedom of religion”; a religious state would, to think of it, put random restrictions even on people belonging to the “sanctioned” religion (especially women and disadvantaged communities), let alone those of other faiths or atheists.