69th Republic day: Upholding the sanctity of the Constitution

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“First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win.”
-Mahatma Gandhi

The Republic Day parade is a celebration of the formation of the Indian Republic. It reminds the people of our freedom struggle and our transformation into an independent, secular, democratic republic. For many people, it is a day to take pride in the Constitution and the rights it confers and to feel patriotic as they watch the spectacle of the country’s military might and cultural prowess on Rajpath. Altogether 308 assembly members signed two copies of the Constitution of India on January 24, 1950 and after two days i.e. January 26 1950, the Constitution came into effect throughout the nation and is declared as Republic Day. Since, 1950 the current structure of the Republic Day celebration i.e. Parade started when it first performed successfully at Rajpath. The sole purpose of the parade is to give a national salute by the cavalry and other departments. Slowly, it modifies into various fancy tableaux of Indian states and other public sector units of Indian government.
We should remember the importance of this day and not take things for granted. This reminds us there was a lot of effort in formation of the nation. We should behave like responsible citizens. Every citizen in this country should mark this day with pride and remember the day when India’s Constitution came into force 69 years ago, even as politicians and a pervading new sense of nationalism have left them disappointed.
But when we come to think of the kind of intolerance that has crept in, we fear if the idea of India that the authors of our Constitution believed in is the one we are building. The country has doubtlessly progressed but is beset with many diseases like corruption and intolerance. We need to treat them if we have to realise the dream of India our forefathers had dreamed of. The respect and love for an individual or the nation cannot be forced. But if we are truly patriotic we won’t hesitate to stand when our National Anthem plays, and salute when the Tricolour is hoisted. It is when we express our gratitude for our nation and its peacekeepers on the borders. To feel patriotic about January 26 in the current political atmosphere is different than what it was previously. But at present juncture, love for the country is restricted to certain religion and identities. Anyone critical of the government is branded as an anti-nationals. In such a situation, younger generation will question the new concept of patriotism. In the words of freedom fighter, Bankim Chandra Chatterjee, who remarked, “Patriotism is religion and religion is love for India” – our forefathers who fought not only against the British but also against the mindset of the countrymen to defend the poor, would be disheartened to see what India has come to be today. Religious bigots are threatening the very Constitution, which the great men painstakingly defended the rights of everyone. Rather than just showing our might, it should be a day to introspect how truly a Republic we are. Have we been able to protect what (Bhimrao) Ambedkar had framed for us? We rather need to spread education and look at the real meaning of being a Republic nation.

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