India’s 59th Republic Day!

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By Akshita Agrawal

As India celebrated its 59th Republic Day on 26 Jan 08, we look into the real meaning of Republic Day rather than a ‘wasted holiday’ as many claimed it to be, because it was on a weekend this year.

In the Lahore session, it was decided that the Indians would celebrate Independence Day on 26th January. However, when India got its independence on the 15th August 1947, it was decided that the Constitution would be published on 26th January to mark the importance of the day in Indian history. 59 years have passed since India declared itself a sovereign, socialist, democratic republic to its citizens.

As a University, the mere acknowledgement of the Republic Day of India is absent.

This day brings the whole nation together when everyone honours the freedom struggle and the rich diversity of India. The spectacular celebrations included the parade by the Armed Forces and magnificent tableaus from various states and ministries. Students from different states spent months in preparation for this programme and performed various folk dances in picturesque costumes marking the cultural unity of India. It is always an encouraging sight for them when the lawns of India Gate come alive with spectators.

The streak of jet planes of the Indian Air Force, leaving a trial of coloured smoke, marked the end of the festival. The President of India, on this most colourful day, takes the salute of the contingents of Armed Forces. To everyone’s pleasant surprise, Pratibha Patil, the first woman President of India, carried out this duty with grace and solemn stead.

In the States, the Governors take the salute, and in Taluqas and administrative headquarters, a similar procedure is adopted.

At Vijay Chowk in New Delhi, three days later (i.e. 29th January) the massed bands of the Armed Forces “Beat the Retreat” in a majestic manner.

This year, the French President Nicolas Sarkozy, who arrived in India on Friday on a two-day official visit, was the chief guest at the Republic Day Celebrations. He looked on with fascinated delight as the colours of India danced before him.

It is indeed uplifting to know that Indian students all over the world celebrate this day with equal zeal and enthusiasm. In Washington, London, Dubai, Bahrain, Abu Dhabi, Beijing and Islamabad more than 250 NRIs and several trainee officers of the Indian Armed Forces in uniform join the function that concludes with performances by Indian students singing patriotic songs along with the National Anthem. The Indian Ambassadors unfurled the national flag at a function at the Indian embassy.

Bahrain has a weeklong celebration organized by the Coordination Committee of Indian Associations (CCIA), which are held under the patronage of Indian ambassador there, Balkrishna Shetty. Last year, the Indian Ambassador Ms. Latha Reddy read out the President’s Republic Day eve address in both Hindi and English while children from MIS, Bangkok and members of the Indian Women’s Club rendered Indian patriotic group songs in Hindi and Telugu.
The Indian schools in USA and UK celebrate Republic Day with fervour and Indian students participate in it with much interest.

However, it is unfortunate that at DU there are hardly any grand celebrations in any of the colleges, to mark the Republic Day. As a University, the mere acknowledgement of the Republic Day of India is absent. Not even with a simple flag hoisting and national anthem. Does patriotism have to be drilled into us because it doesn’t come naturally? No doubt NRIs can say proudly that they are more patriotic than those in India because patriotism is in the heart, the country or the city one lives in need not justify it.

Journalism has been called the “first rough draft of history”. D.U.B may be termed as the first rough draft of DU history. Freedom to Express.

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