# Day 243 (Vive la république!)

Today is our Republic Day ~ one of the three national holidays where pan-India a spirit of patriotism pervades, as we honour the day our country chose to officially declare itself a republic. The day has a different significance for different people. For our grand-parents and parents generation born in the pre-independence era, the day was charged with personal emotion. They had their own first hand memories of the country attaining freedom from British Rule. Ever since Doordarshan began live telecast of the Republic Day parade, my mother-in-law would put aside all other work for the morning and watch the full parade with rapt attention. Over two decades back when my younger brother was leading a mounted contingent of his regiment, my grand-father made it a point to be there, his heart swelling with pride as he watched his grandson ride past down the Rajpath. Nowadays for most of us it’s one of the two days (the other being Independence Day on 15th Aug) when you wear your patriotism on your sleeve (sometimes literally!) A playlist of songs imbued with nationalistic pride suddenly finds favour with all radio stations; miniature versions of our tricolour are sold at every traffic crossing; markets and shopping malls are bedecked in hues of green, orange and white; everyone with a phone is busy composing/copy-pasting and sending out greeting messages for the day; the profile photo of most of your friends on the social media will change to a tricolour; and if you are the ‘cool-type’ you can even ink yourself with a colourful temporary tattoo of the national flag to flaunt your love for the motherland. Then there are those who simply look at it as another date in the calendar and plan a short get-away trip if the day can be combined with some leave to get a long weekend!
For those who live in the capital city, the day is about ‘the parade’ on Rajpath. Every Delhiite worth his/her salt has to witness firsthand the pomp and pageantry of the Republic Day Parade at least on one occasion, if not more. The first time i watched the parade was in the early eighties. Courtesy my father, we had managed some passes for watching the parade from the VIP enclosure (this too is a typical Delhi-thing ~ looking for a source to get you passes for the Republic Day Parade and the Beating the Retreat Ceremony held 3 days later on 29th Jan!) Indira Gandhi was the prime minister and catching a glimpse of her from close quarters as she waved to the cheering crowd in her charismatic style was one of the take-home-images of the day for me! Many decades later we went again, this time my husband getting the VIP entry as a general officer of the Indian Army. The visual spectacle that passes in front of you is truly enthralling. In a country where no public function (specially one involving politicians!) ever starts on time, it is amazing to see everything happening with clock-work precision. The dignitaries and guests arrive as per protocol; you can predict the minute when the National flag will be unfurled and the anthem sung; the marching contingents go past with their hands and feet moving in perfect unison; the military might of the nation is showcased with the mounted weaponry; acts of daredevilry are performed flawlessly by despatch riders of the Indian Army; the tableaux from different states float past majestically; school children come, perform and leave, not one child out of place; and finally when the aerial flypast by the airforce planes marks the grand finale, it’s like an affirmation of our republic “touching the sky with glory!” As we watched the parade being beamed live on our television screens, it struck me that this was perhaps the biggest takeaway of the parade…it is a celebration of the spirit and possibility that is India. As a nation we may be torn by communal, caste, or any other strife but when required we can all come together and rise above petty issues for the greater glory of the nation. The negativity of all those reports of intolerance, corruption and rampant inefficiency fades to the background as some faith in our capabilities is restored…when we want to, when we need to, we can get our act together and put up a spectacular show. May this sentiment be nurtured and allowed to prosper and spread in the task of nation-building.
Vive la republique…

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About sunsur81

A gatherer of thoughts...exploring myths,metaphors and expressions of life...
This entry was posted in 365 Days Blog-roll, Indian Accents, Thought snippets and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

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