Friday, January 27, 2006

Happy Republic Day

HAPPY REPUBLIC DAY to all Indians. Jai Hind!!

One of the first important events that this blog saw was the 58th Indian Independence Day on the 15th of August 2005. I remain as hopeful as I was then about the future of our country. I am no great personality, neither a business tycoon today nor the next biggest politician; but yes, I AM an Indian. And as an Indian, I am happy, content and hopeful. Happy about the present economic condition of the country; content about the opportunities present for the youth of this country and hopeful that our collective intelligence and resolve will one day overcome the many challenges that still lie ahead of us.

There was a certain sad incident last night, however, which forced me to think. What relevance does India becoming a republic have today? Why doesn't the average Indian, you and me, relate to India becoming a republic any more? Why has 'Republic Day' become a synonym for 'Sunday'. Have we forgotten the importance of our constitution or have we simply lost faith in it?

The questions disturbed me. I tossed and turned in my bed as many times as I could. If there is a record for T&T (tossing and turning), I certainly can lay claim to having broken it last night.

One idea that struck my mind was that if Sardar Vallabh bhai Patel had not succeeded in painfully threading together this country, all the hullaballoo today about India being a 'great' economic power wouldn't have existed. We would have been as ordinary and as fragmented as modern day Europe is. If Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar had not successfully chaired the Drafting Committee, we would not have had a democracy.

It is a completely different issue that Babasaheb was one of the sharpest critics of our democracy. It is a completely different issue that the existing form of our democracy is more creaky than the oldest decrepit Fiat 800 you can find in a mechanic's garage. At least you have some semblance of normalcy. Be thankful that you do not have a Chinese regimental and almost unconquerable Central Government at the helm of all things, or, even worse, a President who finds it impossible to put together sentences in his mother tongue, has a vocabulary poorer than a class 10 student of our country and who must refer to his cohorts every time he needs to take a strategic decision, either about his country's defence or about bombing another nation.

Perturbed, I woke up to try and find something to read. I went to Rashmi Bansal's blog, and while reading a review of Rang De Basanti, read the following:

In fact, the film creates new definitions of old ideas. What does it mean to be ‘patriotic’? Rang de attempts to answer the old question in a new way. It’s not about Sunny paaji single handedly immobilising the Pakistani army and half its airforce by breaking the sound barrier as he booms “JAI HIND”.

So, what does it mean to be Patriotic? Ask yourself that question... it is the least that you can do for your country on this momentous day.

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