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Republic day: A Day of Immense Prestige or Just Another Government Affair?

India is about to celebrate its 69th Republic Day on January 26, 2018, which is a day of immense pride and honor for the nation, since the Constitution of India came into force this day, in the year 1950. Every year, this day is celebrated with great pomp and show, amongst the citizens and the leaders of our country together. This year’s Republic Day would witness the 10 Leaders of the ASEAN States as Chief Guests, including: Sultan and incumbent Prime Minister Hassanal Bolkiah- Brunei, Prime Minister Hun Sen- Cambodia, President Joko Widodo- Indonesia, Prime Minister Thongloun Sisoulith- Laos, Prime Minister Najib Razak- Malaysia, President Htin Kyaw- Myanmar, President Rodrigo Roa Duterte- Philippines, President Halimah Yacob- Singapore, Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha- Thailand, Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc- Vietnam. Despite all the greatness and prestige associated with this day though, the day will again witness the cosmopolites enjoying their national holiday, slipping out of the city for a quick getaway, lazing around in their homes or finishing their pending work. For most Indians, the significance of the Republic Day is lost amidst the rush of everyday living. Thus, a day of incredible significance has been reduced to a government affair.

A. 26th January 1950 was the day when India adopted the Constitution, the most important document for the country, which envisions the rule of the citizens of the country, the rights and duties of the citizens, how governance will take place and other things. The document which frames the contours of the country needs to be celebrated, studied and absorbed.

B. The constitution is not a static document, but a living document. As the society evolves, the constitution too evolves through amendments, to include new thoughts that mirror the society. Despite this, several citizens remain unaware of the salient features of the Constitution.

C. The country marks the day the Constitution came into force, as Republic Day every year. It is a day when the citizens of the country get together to feel a sense of patriotism, remember the martyrs who have sacrificed for the country and celebrate their country. It is also a day when the country shows off its might to the world, in the form of a magnificent parade comprising tableau from various states, marching of various contingents of the armed forces, weapons and many other things. It is much more than a government function, as the citizens across the country and those few witnessing the parade at Raj path are filled with immense joy and pride for being part of this great nation.

D. True, but I feel that the Republic Day has been reduced to nothing but a platform for the government officials to come together as V.I.Ps and also display the military prowess of the country to the world as well as its own citizens, who can take pride in knowing that their country is able to spend lavishly in procuring the fancy weapons on display but is still not able to eliminate poverty. It is a day when the President, the Prime Minister and his cabinet, a foreign guest, former prime ministers and other dignitaries mark their attendance at Raj path and witness the parade.

E. The feeling of patriotism is fast disappearing. People are not ready to do anything out of their way for the country. That feeling of belongingness to such a great country with such diversity and rich culture has been replaced by a sense of close attachment and commitment to one’s community or religion. This has also eroded the meaning of the Republic Day in some senses. A day when the principles laid down by the Constitution need to be internalized, remains a day when people merely enjoy the parade on display.

F. Today, patriotism has been converted to jingoism. Just singing patriotic songs and shouting slogans on such days is not patriotism. People need to realize that days like the Republic Day and the Independence Day are important days in the history of India and there is a need to imbibe the true spirit and meaning of the days in our lives.

While all of us take immense pride in witnessing the grand spectacle of the parade, we should also value the significance that the day holds, so that the day is not reduced to a government function or an ordinary day but becomes a meaningful one.

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