Republic Day


A non-resident Bengali relative of mine groaned to me on call, how he scarcely felt Saraswati Puja this year. Something seemed off, he complained. I don’t think anything was off, just that the sedentary yet meditative festival somehow got ferociously conflated into the pompous celebrations of Repubic Day this year, I chimed in with my know-it-all voice. But I was not entirely wrong in drawing this connection. Saraswati Puja or Vasant Panchami, has always been a massive cultural celebration in Bengal. Every year beyond this annual ritual of worshipping and invoking this (Brahminical) Hindu Goddess of Knowledge, Bengali students across ages are supposed to dress up in colours of Spring – yellow, ochre, orange, red, blue and the likes. It is a day dedicated to eating khichudi and begun bhaja, praying for academic wisdom and most importantly going on dates with your romantic interests.

The origins of the concept of vasant panchmi as the “Bengali Valentine’s Day” is something that is a futile exercise in the labyrinthine annals of Time. The cultural construct of this festival is now unquestioned and widely embraced and celebrated. This day, in the early morning cold breezes of January, the city wistfully turns into a liminal space of sanctioned transgressions. The best, and often most provocative, pieces of traditional finery are donned. The greys and greens of schools give way to loud pinks and bright reds of lipsticks which are hidden in purses – stolen the previous night from the mother’s dresser. Blisters from wearing forbidden heels are hardly any price for a day spent in the company of your lover, giggling your way through sidewalks and standing outside already-full-at-10-in-the-morning bars across Park Street and Quest Mall.

This year, after a brief annual hiatus, I had the fortune of being in Kolkata again for the occasion. But even as my mother rudely awakened me from my sleep to help her with preparations, an early morning disoriented me found myself almost unconsciously drawing himself to the television set first, switching on Doordarshan and sitting down brush in hand to see the live telecast from Raj- oops, Kartavya Path. The conflation of a day which, all my woke understandings of nationhood and patriotism notwithstanding, had been carefully constructed to invoke feelings of patriotic fervour in my heart somehow felt at an alien odd with the other natural emanating sense of desire and youthful fervour for this annual celebration of springtime extravagance. As post-colonial queer subjects in a world where ideas of the post-nation are at their highest, where does one erase the line between multiple registers of desire? Is militantly performed desire for the historically amenisa-inducing nation anyway similar to the exhaustive desires of love on display on this singular day? Are all desires essentially linked to performance and demonstration? If so then what about lonelinessand its performance? How do you navigate the contours of that?


As I sat in the backseat of my cab in the evening of the same day, on my way to airport to catch a flight back to Delhi in time for the 8:30 AM class the next day, I found myself unconsciously smiling at the familiar of sight of multiple young girls and boys in love – or atleast pretending to be in love. All my school days, before the pandemic took away from me the privilege (I use this word fully aware of its connotations) of attending college in person, I had been a blessed witness to the Saraswati Puja romances of my friends. The month-long plans, the carefully colour coordinated outfits, the lies told at home, the multiple tuition places to hop onto under the excuse of attending the “puja”, the innocent grazing of the fingers and the final stretch of weeping from the blisters on the ankle – I have seen it all. At twenty-one years of age, that day when I whirled past these young hearts in love at the very peak of springtime, I pondered a few moments over the politics of performing a love that is qeer. What would it mean for young girls or boys or gender non-conforming minorities to be out there, on this same day, hands clasped and in love? Would this liminal temporal space of the city embrace their transgression as willingly as it did of their heterosexual counterparts? Especially in the context of this year’s festival, in the occurrence of such a rare conflated oddity, what would one make of surveilling love in a Nation State that is increasingly intolerant towards delinquent expressions of desire?

As I sat on my aircraft, pondering about the many like me who must have spent lonely festivals of love for years on end, I found myself wishing if this Valentine’s Day our markets would perhaps for once sell not love but a soothener to the itchy aesthetics of structural loneliness.


Anwesh Banerjee

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Countries all over the globe irrespective of their economic, social, political stances, are unified by a common pillar of authority- the army. From the very ‘apolitical’ institution which runs on political instructions to the cinema glorification of martyrdom and kurbaani comes along a deep-rooted question, how over-glorified is the Army?


From spending nights in -20 degrees at the border to the excruciating heat, living each day unaware, the Army very well reminds citizens of patriotism, valour and strength. However, in the recent changing political scenarios, the notion of the Army, all over the globe has been put on a pedestal and appropriated as the peak of nationalism. Most debates, start with ‘humare jawan’ and end at the declaration of being an anti-national if your stance disobeys the dominant stance. The Pulwama attack by the Islamist militant group Jaish-e-Mohammed brought forth a cold-war like situation between India and Pakistan where the nations remained divided between pro and anti-war demands. Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman VrC who was held captive for 60 hours in Pakistan was conferred the Vir Chakra gallantry award in August 2019. Indians sought revenge while failing to acknowledge that the Army consisted of humans, who would put their lives at stake, but not at the cost of initiating a war.


What ensued was nothing but the very glorification of the Army as ‘finishing the war’.


The US Army throughout history has been notorious for having committed gruesome murders in countries like Vietnam, Korea, Afghanistan, Iraq, to name a few. Does mass-killing deserve the God-like status that is being accorded to the Army? Kashmir and the North-East have been victims to heinous rapes which have been silenced and hushed in history books. The Kunan Poshpora incident is an alleged mass-rape that was bestowed upon the Valley on the unfortunate night of February 1991 where over 23 to 100 women were raped by army according to the Human Rights Watch. Even though, these were discarded as terrorist propaganda by the government and the Army. The Army, BSF and CRPF have been accused numerous times in the Valley for having committed rapes.


“Indian Army, Rape Us.” ought to be one of the most controversial statements of the erstwhile decade, used while protesting against the possible rape of Thangjam Manorama who was seized by Indian Paramilitary Unit under suspicion under the Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) which allows the forces to carry out excesses in Manipur without the fear of prosecution. As a sign of protest, all ‘imas’ (Manipuri mothers) stripped and asked the forces to rape them in broad daylight who were later arrested. Later, the victim’s autopsy revealed signs of rape and torture.


The glorification of martyrdom is considered a reasonable debate to lead citizens to war. The Armed Forces would never urge for war as opposed to the constant demand of raging war by political leaders and citizens as they sit in the comfort of their homes demanding bloodshed. The army never self-prides in war or demand their pedestal-like status, throughout ages and ideological conflicts, the Army has been bestowed upon with such unnecessary status.

Aniket, a student of Maharaja Agrasen College and an Army brat believes that most of the people remain unaware of the Army’s operations yet vouch for wars. “All army men who have been to the war would always seek to lower the possibility of wars.” Further, as Tharoor says, “the best of India can only be preserved by insulating the Army from the pressures of the worst of India”


The leaders and public politicise the Army for their own needs and forego their needs and welfare such as better pay, welfare or One Rank, One Pension and sufficient provisions post-retirement. Dragging the Army in issues ranging from nationalism to protests, not only glorifies the Army but also deteriorates its values. Surgical Strikes and Pulwama Attacks are some very cheap game-play undertaken by the party in power to bank off the public’s votes to suit their interests.


The collective conscience is regularly evoked and refreshed due to the constant portrayal and glorification of jingoism in movies such as ‘Uri’ and incidents as shown in ‘Rustom’ which place the forces on a holier than thou status from a public’s eye-view. Capitalising the very forces and romanticising their valour is yet again shameful in distorting the forces and glorifying their duties.


Aniket further reiterates, “Political leaders consider war as the final gateway to greatness.” He believes that wars are glorified not the army. “The facilities the forces get are nowhere near what they should be. I don’t think in India the Army is glorified, in some places they are under glorified.”


Image Credits: The Wire

This year, India’s guest for the Republic Day Parade is Jair Bolsonaro, the President of Brazil. And it shouldn’t be a cause of celebration.

Trigger Warning: Rape, Homophobia.

From the likes of Mandela, who have changed history for generations to come, to the likes of Bolsonaro, who has somehow single-handedly managed to ruin the world’s largest forests, it hasn’t been much of a glow-up for India.


Republic Day is a reminder of the concept of a Republic, a concept emphasising the Constitutional values that have guided us over the years and the equality of all citizens. The founding of the Republic was a very significant step for this newly independent nation of India, and needless to say, it is a proud day for us.


Bolsonaro is another fish swimming in the current populist wave. Erdogan in Turkey, Trump in the United States, and the recently elected Boris Johnson in the United Kingdom are some other popular examples showing this rise is extremist leaders; all of them are leaders who have no problem expressing themselves in vile ways, as long as it appeals to the masses. Unsurprisingly, they also have limited patience for dissent and are extremely right-wing. Does this ring a bell?


A man notorious for his policies, Bolsonaro’s stances on environment, LGBTQ+ rights, women, and democracy are deeply problematic. He’s a far-right politician known to be openly racist, misogynistic, homophobic, and militaristic. A quick search of his name would easily lead you to hundreds of articles describing his controversial statements and inflammatory takes on everything you could care about.


The Amazon fires of 2019, which were a stark, unmistakable reminder of how destroyed the earth truly is, had one man to blame. He has also been caught on tape while calling himself, “a proud homophobe,” and saying he had rather have his son die in a car crash than be gay.


“I am not going to rape you, because you are very ugly,” said he to a female politician in 2014. “Elections won’t change anything in this country. It will only change on the day that we break out in civil war here and do the job that the military regime didn’t do: killing 30,000. If some innocent people die, that’s fine. In every war, innocent people die,” said the right-wing leader in an interview in 1999.


Not only is his speech provocative, but it also is his policy-making atrocious. Brazil is also home to 17 of the 50 most violent cities in the world and has the world’s highest homicide rate. Bolsonaro pledged to tackle this security crisis: he relaxed gun ownership restrictions. He also scrapped Brazil’s Human Rights Minister, and created a position of a Minister of ‘Family Values,’ placing an ultraconservative pastor at the post. Doesn’t this ring a bell too?


“Bolsonaro is a political figure I don’t wish to see on such an occasion. He is against everything I stand for. But, honestly, I can’t say I didn’t see this coming. After this country’s policy changes and the ridiculous direction it is going, I suppose the worse is yet to come,” said Mrinalini, a third-year student.


Considered close to leaders such as Donald Trump, he’s had spats with France’s Macron, Germany’s Angela Merkel, and Norwegian leaders, over his exploitation of the Amazon. Needless to say, he isn’t a leader other respectable world leaders are tripping over their feet to befriend. This is why Modi’s growing comradeship with the Brazilian leader speaks even louder.


His statements and actions are evidence why he shouldn’t be suitable for an occasion as esteemed as this. However, it isn’t surprising that the Modi Government thinks otherwise. Modi, after all, is a part of the same extremist club too. And, well, birds of a feather flock together.


Image Credits:Bloomberg


Satviki Sanjay

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Kitne Jhanki thhe? Jhankis have always been the centre of attention at parades, but what goes behind the two minutes of beauty? What does it take to bring alive a tableau to life demonstrating centuries of heritage?

Back in the day, I remember singing Tagore’s  as West Bengal’s jhanki or tableau embellished the Rajpath! However, the joys of the past evolved into questions of the present; the jhankis are not just a moving galore of colour, culture, and entertainment, they harbour within them months of hard work, dedication, and skill.

The Ministry of Defence (MoD) overlooks the nitty-gritty of the tableaux, right from issuing a number of guidelines to the smooth fl owing of the Parade, the MoD takes over six months to provide two minutes of joy. Over six different themes are suggested to the States, Union Territories (UT), and Central Departments ranging from history, cultural integrity, environment, to Government schemes. The Selection Committee enlists prominent personalities in the field of art, culture, architecture, sculpture, choreography, etc. The artists and designers of the tableaux are asked to not include any writings or logos other than the State’s and UT’s name in Hindi, English, and the Regional Language.

This follows two-rounds of vigorous scrutiny under the Committee: One, suggestions and modifications after the initial evaluation, and second, evaluating the three-dimensional models and cultural presentation videos, after which the final decision is taken. For the 2020 Republic Day Parade, out of 56 tableaux, only 22 have been selected. Kerala, Maharashtra, West Bengal, and Bihar, all of them being non – Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) led Governments have been rejected, thus causing a lot of stir. Shiv Sena and Nationalist Congress Party allege vendetta by BJP for political gains. “There was no politics in a committee of artists, who decide the themes for the parade,” said Jayaprabha Menon, a jury member, regarding Kerala’s exclusion. Abhishek Anand, a Law student from Bihar, says, “I personally believe the BJP is targeting the major non-BJP states.”

What is rather interesting is that in over last 27 years, Delhi has presented their tableau only 11 times. There have been protests led by ex-Chief Minister (CM) Madan Lal Khurana, along with Member of Parliament’s from East Delhi, expressing discontentment over the MoD’s rejection. In 2019, an ex-senior Government official told Hindustan Times (HT) on how on certain occasions, the Centre did not want the States to promote their governance models.

Samir, an artisan from Assam was influential in Delhi’s tableau in 2017 showing the Aam Aadmi Party Government’s exemplary work in the education sector, told HT, “It takes time to make these things. The money we get is decent. It’s around Rs 8,000, some even get Rs 16,000 though per float,”. It takes around five months to give life to a tableau with over 30-40 hands on deck, however, the fate of these tableaux is rather unfortunate. After being dismantled to shreds they are sold as scraps. Bibhuti Adhikary, the designer of Delhi tableaux over the past few years, said, “So many people give their heart and soul to making the tableau. But no facility has been made to keep them or at least the best ones intact. Respective state houses keep them for a few days or months and later sell it off in bits to whoever wants to take it.” What is rather unfortunate is the sorry state of artisans who lose their art, not to forget the mediocre payment. What is rather interesting though, is the question of what can be done to improve the gloomy state of art deconstructed as scraps. There are several pertinent questions which stay unanswered; there are innumerable possibilities of being constructive with post-celebrations tableaux, and the lack of acknowledgement for art and artisans speaks volumes. Until then, as another R-Day comes around the corner, while you cheer at the vibrant display of culture, keep the aftermath in mind.

Image Credits: Press Information Bureau, Ministry of Defence

Anandi Sen

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“….. death of D.E.M.O’Cracy, mourned by his wife T. Ruth, his son L.I. Bertie, and his daughters- Faith, Hope and Justice”- read an anonymous advertisement in The Times of India soon after the declaration of Emergency.

Back in 1975, the Opposition, led by Jayaprakash Narayan organized a nationwide satyagraha against the then Prime Minister- Mrs Indira Gandhi, the response: Article 352 stamped over the political fabric of India, a stamp that sealed voices but not dissent. The fumes of Emergency engulfed the 25th day of June in 1975.

The Emergency brought about a buffet of special powers, from custodial deaths to press censorship; all cuisines were available, with draconian measures as the suggested garnishing. The buffet lasted for two years i.e. till 1977. But an irony- the common people failed to savour democracy for a long time.

When George Orwell said, “If liberty means anything at all, it means the right to tell people what they do not want to hear,” no one could fathom that Orwell was the Nostradamus of Indian Politics, and a basic democratic hue. Liberty would have dust patted over it. The Constitution’s claims of imparting Freedom of Speech and Expression, transitioned into a lie as the leaders and workers of the Opposition parties were arrested early in the morning. Furthermore, protests, strikes, and public agitations were disallowed. Strangulation of the Constitution had begun.

Media houses underwent a serious backlash as journalism came under the radar. Prior approval for all material to be published by newspaper was now a prerequisite. This was regarded as the violation of Article 19, while some defended the stance on Article 19(2). The demarcation and categorisation of events and facts remain a personal choice; however, the cutting off of electricity to all newspaper presses at 2:00 a.m. on 26th June 1975 is a fact to behold. The Prevention of Publication of Objectionable Matter Act of 1976 was another wave that hit the media. While the living document was being moulded according to events, dissent remained pristine – magazines like the Seminar and Mainstream chose not to submit to censorship and hence, closed down. Eminent newspapers like the Indian Express and the Statesman left blank spaces where news items had been censored.

On April 1976, the Constitution was virtually vandalized. The Supreme Court accepted the Government’s plea, which gave way to the Government to take away the Right to Life and Liberty. Preventive detentions were turned into arbitrary tools, custodial deaths and torture surfaced and resurfaced. Sanjay Gandhi’s involvement in demolitions and forced sterilisation were not merely controversial but unconstitutional. The common man suffered for days and the importance of civil liberties imparted through the Constitution became evident.

The Shah Commission of 1977 translated as a litmus test to the excesses. The magnitude of damage to the Constitution was deciphered. The Commission estimated that nearly one lakh, eleven thousand, people were arrested under preventive detention laws. It mentioned that the General Manager of Delhi Power Supply Corporation received verbal orders from the office of the Lt. Governor of Delhi to cut electricity to all newspaper agencies, restoration of electricity paved way two to three days after the censorship apparatus was set up. Displacement, relocation and sterilization scarred many lives.

After a long wait, 1977 reopened the gates of democracy. It was not only a moment to rejoice but a moment to reflect upon the past. Not only did citizens realize the value of the Constitution but also unravelled its ambiguities. Emergency was imposed on the grounds of ‘internal disturbance’ which was an enigmatic statement in itself. Emergency could now be proclaimed on the pretext of ‘armed rebellion’. It brought upon the realisation that the Constitution is a living document, and yet, has flaws dawned upon the citizens of the Nation. The 42nd Amendment was a shockwave as it was intended to be intransient in nature. The chaos and anarchy of 1975 amalgamated into the ‘first revision test’ of the Constitution that the Nation took. And similar to every surprise test, shock and realisation came hand-in-hand.

Image Credits: Countercorrents

Priyanshi Banerjee

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The Preamble to the Constitution of India is a brief statement that highlights the values and principles of the Constitution and our Country. How far have we strayed from it though?

Thanks to the very first page of our NCERT Books, we are all familiar with the Preamble. Although the Preamble is a concept borrowed from the American Constitution, it highlights the essence of what came out of the Constituent Assembly debates. The debates concluded in making India, a Nation based on the principles of social justice and democracy.

Indian nationalism had always been inclusive, overcoming conflicting social identities for the overall development of the Nation. The Constitution laid down a strong foundation for a newly independent Nation, following the principles of social justice and inclusivity, and promoting the ideology of social liberalism. Despite this strong foundation, it seems somewhere along the line we all deviated from these principles.

The Preamble starts with the words Sovereign, Socialist, Secular, Democratic, and Republic. While India’s position as a socialist country is open to question, it is no secret that India has deviated from the belief of secularism. What had started way back through identity politics was only heightened during the Babri Masjid demolition and the Gujarat riots. The openly inflammatory speeches, mob-lynching, and the recently passed Citizenship (Amendment) Act are proofs all around us. On paper, India is also the world’s largest democracy. But can a Country, whose Government remains unavailable to questions and criticism on its policies and statements by its citizens, be called democratic?

The first thing the Preamble promises is Justice (social, economic, and political). Social Justice stands for eliminating all forms of exploitation and the presence of socially privileged classes from the society. But, exploitation of women, minorities, and the poor exists all around us- in manual labour, in manual scavenging, and in the very concept of working class. Economic justice stands for equitable distribution of wealth and economic equality, but recent reports say that the richest one per cent of the Country’s population, now holds 73 per cent of the Country’s wealth. Fortunately, the basic rights of universal adult suffrage and equal political participation are still secure.

The next thing the Preamble promises is Liberty (of thought, expression, belief, faith, and worship). The lack of this principle in practice is glaringly obvious. Thought and expression are accepted, only when it conforms to the ideals of the Government. Labels of ‘anti-national’ and ‘urban Naxal’ are quick to be attached to anyone and anything that raises a strong argument against the Government. Unsurprisingly, India’s rank on World Press Freedom Index is 140 out of 180. While the liberty of belief, faith, and worship do exist, believing in different Gods has now become a cause of enmity.

The third thing the Preamble promises is Equality (of status and opportunity). But, there’s discrimination on the basis of class, caste, religion, sex, gender, and colour in our daily lives. There is an outrageous gap between the privileged and the less privileged classes of society. While the Country also guarantees us, Rule of Law, a careful look at just the recent events in the Country speak more than enough. George Orwell’s famous words in his book Animal Farm, “All animals are equal. But some animals are more equal than others,” are intimidatingly accurate in the context of the country. The last thing the Preamble promises is Fraternity (assuring the dignity of the individual and the unity and integrity of the Nation). Fraternity, here, refers to a feeling of ‘brotherhood’, a brotherhood which gets clouded with communalism and casteism too often. Although, seeing the solidarity among the universities across the Nation against violence and police brutality in the university campuses, we hopefully haven’t diverged much from this principle.

Every day, it seems like this Country moves further away from light, and these complex terms- Justice, Equality, and Democracy- lose meaning to become mere ritualistic words. In these testing political times, we must not forget what our Constitution and our Country stand for. In these political times, we must not forget what we stand for.


Image Credits: Aditi Gutgutia for DU Beat

Satviki Sanjay

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As India celebrates its 71st Republic Day, let’s take a look at our dissenting Republic.

According to the Oxford dictionary, a Republic is defined as a State in which supreme power is held by the people and their elected representatives, and which has an elected or nominated President rather than a Monarch.

India, the largest democracy in the world, became a republic on 26th January 1950. In over seven decades, 103 amendments have been enacted as of December 2019. India celebrates Republic Day with much grandeur where our military might is put on display for the world. The celebration witnesses world leaders as Chief Guests for the day. This year, Jair Bolsonaro, President of Brazil, has accepted to be the Chief Guest for the celebrations.

All the citizens of this nation have been granted the Freedom of Speech and Expression; however, many have questioned the Government when it comes to the Freedom of Dissent. A student from the University of Delhi (DU), on conditions of anonymity, said, “In 2014, our PM said that the country’s democratic principles will not sustain if we don’t guarantee freedom of speech and expression. When we go out to protest, we are detained, even when it is a peaceful protest. I ask ‘why’? Is the Right selective? Do we have the Right depending on the Government’s wishes?”

I believe that dissent is not anti-national. Our country has been built on expression at crucial times in history. Gautam Buddha and Mahavira had expressed their displeasure over the rigid Vedic system and the associated rituals during the sixth century. The Sepoy Mutiny of 1857 was the first form of dissent by the Indians against the British rule. This even continued after Independence.

J. P. Narayanan’s call for a revolution in the social, economic, and political sphere in 1975 led to the imposition of Emergency and the whole Country turning against the then Government led by Indira Gandhi. A country cannot be free if its people feel threatened in any way, or if there is a fear of expressing oneself.

It is important that the youth, as responsible young citizens of India choose to fight for what is right. It is our prerogative to make sure that there exists a culture of democratic discussion and peaceful dissent, where there exists no violence, where the youth protests for the cause, and not for name and fame.  It is disheartening that during the times when the entire nation was protesting, some student leaders found their way to be a part of larger political organisations to favour their interests. Thus, at that time, the cause is left behind, and the political career is given more light. I saw a few people who came out to ‘protest’ at Jantar Mantar on 19th December 2019, while they saw the protesters raise slogans against the Government, one of them remarked, “acha timepass ho raha hai” (this is a good way to pass time).

The Constitution also provides for an independent Judicial system and the integrity of the higher Judiciary. So, doesn’t the judiciary hold any conscientiousness towards the alarming situation of India? I strongly feel that the Legislature, the Executive, the Judiciary, and an independent Press are the real pillars of India. Even if one of them doesn’t question the damaging image of India, then they are not justifying their existence to the citizens of the country and to the rest of the world. In these times when grave violations of human rights are being alleged every day, it is imperative of the judiciary to fulfil its constitutional duty, maintain its democratic significance, and uphold its institutional prestige.

India’s population of over 1.37 billion people gives us an indication of how many ideas and opinions can flourish in a democratic set-up. Constructive criticism and meaningful dialogue area hallmark of a democratic society and depends on its informed and active citizens who will speak out and distinguish themselves from rabble-rousing.

Anoushka Sharma

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India celebrates its 69th Republic Day on January 26, 2018. Let us ask the most pertinent question of all times – in all these years, have we remained faithful to the spirit of the Constitution of India?

It was the Lahore Session of the Indian National Congress at the midnight of December 31, 1929 and January 1, 1930, when the Tri-Colour flag was unfurled by the nationalists and a pledge was taken that every year on January 26, the ‘Independence Day’ would be celebrated with the people possessing a ceaseless desire for the establishment of Sovereign Democratic Republic India. The professed pledge was redeemed successfully on January 26, 1950, when the Constitution of India was framed by the Constituent Assembly after it conducted nuanced debates on the various aspects of Fundamental Rights, Duties, and Directive Principles. The Indian national image was given constitutional form on January 26, 1950. Many commentators consider the Indian Constitution a keenly nurtured fruit of the anti-colonial movement while others address it as the product of the extraordinary Constituent Assembly debates. Nationalism, as erratic and irrational it sounds , has been one of the paramount emotions to give steady form to the construction of nation-states. Such emotions may conjure the national community but they are impracticable for the micromanagement of affairs of people. The life of a community that has decided to constitute itself on the principles of equality and justice requires being enshrined in a written document. The Constitution acts as the ‘head’ to the ‘heart’ of the national emotion.

The Constitution has been called as the template of rational utopianism. But how much of its promise came into being after sixty-nine years? To what extent have we been able to realise the Constitution’s injunction of  fair play?

Questions recur about the rightful limits of the judicial intervention in the legislative policy decision-making. With the four judges coming out in the media light to question the integrity of the Chief Justice, it clearly shows that the guardian of the Constitution, the judiciary, is in turmoil; the mounting backlog of cases and the appointment procedure only adding fuel to fire. There has always been an atmosphere of tensions and apprehensions about the preservation of institutional integrity whenever there is an absolute-majority government in power which can unilaterally tweak the constitutional provisions for the achievement of its sole objectives. Surely, landmark judgements like Right to Privacy and the Triple Talaq judgements have sustained the Constitutional order but the diminishing cultures of protest, debate, and dissent have infringed upon some of the ‘basic-structure-doctrine’ of the Constitutional freedoms and individual liberty. The makers of a movie have to publish a one-page advertisement to clarify the contents of their movie being in consonance with the whims of a particular community while religious fanaticism and majoritarianism are on the rise.

Since 1950, the numerous government administrations have tried to stick to the letter and spirit of the Constitution, but whenever the constitutional democracy is challenged by extremists, the people have united to restore the Constitutional rule-based order, for instance the JP Movements of the 70s against the Emergency Regime. Whenever our institutions are in decline, the unity of the people has filled in that void to ensure the true spirit of Constitution being sustained. This Republic Day, let us question our duties and whether we have been successful enough to fulfill the Constitutional goals while our modern day institutions are in decline.


Feature Image credits: TripSavvy

Oorja Tapan
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As a part of University of Delhi’s Republic Day gift, the backlogs of all students from their previous university examination will be removed, with effect from the November-December 2017 semester exam results.

In an attempt to pacify the increasingly growing crowd of students failing, the Executive Council of Delhi University came up with the idea of clearing the pending backlogs of students from the immediately preceding semester. Following this declaration on Monday, some students were seen rejoicing the decision, while others were visibly distressed about the unprecedented spike in marks and subsequent competition this decision would bring.

However, after probing into the matter, DU Beat found that this decision is not devoid of conditions. A student can only clear his/her backlogs provided the attendance in that particular subject in the last semester exceeds 85%. The rationale employed behind this is to credit the daily commitment of the few students who are willing to work, and despite of their hard work are unable to perform well in the university examinations. The backlog would be cleared and the student would be given a 4 grade point for that subject, that is, the minimum passing marks. This move has received flak from the student community and teachers alike, and has necessitated an urgent inquiry by the Human Resources ministry into the underlying facets of the Delhi University examinations.

Radhika Boruah, a student majoring in Economics at Daulat Ram College has objected to this resolution. She has asserted that this step disregards a bright student’s efforts and places them in the same category as those who are less deserving. On the other hand, Niharika Dabral, a student at Cluster Innovation Center (CIC) has contended that this opportunity is available to those who genuinely put efforts into studying and still are not able to score as much, or fail because of unforeseen circumstances.

Since this rebound is available only to a selected few, it is bound to create hullabaloo in the University campus. North Campus was seen brimming with protests demanding a roll back of this sudden “gift”. Many student political outfits have lead protests and have roped in teachers’ associations as well. Delhi University Teaching Staff (DUTS) has lent its support for these protest marches and have written to the Executive Council to demand an urgent probe into the matter. Desh Singh, a member of DUTS has also sent a written appeal to the concerned government officials. He has stated that this is a mala fide attempt by the DU officials to appease to the student masses and not aimed at their actual benefit. DU Beat tried reaching out to these officials to no avail. Considering the current heated atmosphere, there is high likelihood that the government will force DU to roll back this decision, or clarify the contents of this “gift” on an urgent basis.

*Disclaimer: Bazinga is our weekly column of almost believable fake news. It is a humorous, light hearted column that should only be appreciated and not accepted.


Feature Image Credits: PinArt

Vijeata Balani

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Personally, January 26th is my most favourite national holiday. There’s something about the unabashed display of Indian might that gives me a feeling akin to a sugar rush. It’s probably one of the few days of the year when I wake up early of my own will and park myself in front of the television with a cup of tea in one hand and a huge smile plastered on the face; the excitement has never once waned in all these years.

Needless to say, The R-Day parade is definitely the highlight of the day. I’m both awed and overjoyed, for reasons inexplicable, when the grand muscle flexing exercise begins. I make comments about every missile or rocket launching equipment that passes by even when I’m unsure of what I’m saying; sometimes I just repeat what the commentator is saying with a lot more excitement. I stand upright, sing the national anthem both the times that it is played, and hum along to the songs played by the marching bands.

It doesn’t matter how angry I might be at the government or the political society of this country for their gross inefficiency and incompetence, I’m still proud of being an Indian. Because it’s not the government that I’m patronizing by celebrating the Republic day. Because to me, being able to recognize myself as part of this nation, with all its shortcomings, comes second to nothing. Because honouring the soldiers who fight each day to protect us comes above berating the corrupt government.

It pained me to see the calls for boycotting the R-Day parade following the uproar caused by the Delhi rape case, as it seemed to entirely miss the point of commemorating the day. But at the same time, it amused me that the people who treat the day as just another holiday were the ones calling for the boycott.

I might seem like an idealist with all those statements, but I have my reasons. The day marks the adoption of that grand constitution that Dr. B.R. Ambedkar and his committee worked hard to devise. There is no doubting the fact that the document is beyond par and it is the ideals enshrined in that document that we should celebrate. At least we have a general sense of direction as to where we want to go. It is now up to us to make sure that we’re on the right path.

Member of Parliament, Shashi Tharoor, tweeted yesterday about how being a true Indian wasn’t about hoisting the tricolor on the 26th; it was about being the one who picks up a discarded flag on the 27th. If that’s the measuring stick, I know I’m a true Indian. Maybe it’s time we start recognizing ourselves as part of a bigger entity and do our bit as a spoke in the wheel.


Surya Rajappan
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