ITs a Big Day today. The might of the Indian Armed Forces- Army, Navy and Air Force will be on display. We shall know once again , how safe are our skies. and who keeps them so. There will be Saare Jahan SE Achcha……. Ye Mere Watan Ke Logon………. and the National Anthem . There will be a billion lumpy throats and two billion misty eyes, most of them glued to the telly, as Doordarshan belts out its staid commentary on the wonders wrought by our rockets, missiles, fighter jets, missile- launchers, and finale of the tri-colour clouds that trail artistic strokes in the skyline with great flourish as fighter jets fly past in salute to the Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces. This being the first Republic Day I am going senti over away from the Motherland, I am not sure the voice-overs are by Komal G.B.Singh, Rini Simon, and/or Suneet Tandon.
This awesome show is interspersed with vignettes of what ordinary Indians do under the safe sky of the Republic of India, during the rest of the year- they dance the Bhangra, swing a lavani, beat the dollu, they celebrate Hampi, Konarak and Taj Mahal. They show of their wildlife, the folk culture and celebrate the glory of unity in diversity that is India.
Everything though, is very reassuring. Even when the bravehearts of our Armed Forces are posthumously decorated, and we are briefly misty-eyed and grieve with the families of the martyrs, knowing they’ve passed into the realm of legend. Perhaps the Why? What for? quotient of these sacrifices will never be settled one way or other until war goes away altogether.
We are 60 now. And each of these 60 years, We The People Of India, have remembered on this day the Preamble to Our Constitution, and believed that as soldiers protect our borders with their lives, because they CHOSE TO, those who were CHOSEN by us to secure for us the Justice, Liberty Equality and Fraternity have done so, and continue to do so.
As in :
WE, THE PEOPLE OF INDIA, having solemnly resolved to constitute India into a SOVEREIGN DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC and to secure to all its citizens:
JUSTICE, social, economic and political;
LIBERTY of thought, expression, belief, faith and worship;
EQUALITY of status and of opportunity;
and to promote among them all
FRATERNITY assuring the dignity of the individual and the unity of the Nation;
IN OUR CONSTITUENT ASSEMBLY this twenty-sixth day of November, 1949, do HEREBY ADOPT, ENACT AND GIVE TO OURSELVES THIS CONSTITUTION.
THIS BEING THE PREAMBLE TO THE CONSTITUTION OF INDIA ADOPTED ON JANUARY 26, 1950.
What Republic Day and this Preamble to The Constitution means to some people, and Why:
Raj Thackeray who wants everybody to go home except Marathi Manoos.
The BJP Government In Karnataka that wants to reward law-breakers and punish law-abiding citizens with its Akrama-Sakrama scheme.
Karunanidhi who was more worried about the fate of Tamils across the sea in anotehr country, than the ones under his nose who “CHOSE” him to be their Chief Minister.
The parent-body of a Leftist youth wing in Kerala which appropirated to itself the powers to moral/culture police a pair of adult (one male and one female of the species) in private terrain, and threatened a prominent citizen with dire consequences for protesting.
I also wonder……….
Who stole my NEPHELOCOCCYGIA days?
Cloud-watching. I don’t remember ever voting to lose my nephelococcygia rights. Lying on the grass , in our own garden, staring up at the azure sky puncuated with mountainous quantities of cotton fluff that moved and changed shapes. A world where cauliflower met cow, and cotton fluff turned into mashed potatoes, a dragon swooped breathing fire out of the castle as pigs morphed into Noddy’s car and Big Ears floated past nodding sagely, or the Beast turned REALLY LIVID and went quite grey with suppressed rage, when suddenly a halo of sun rays backlit a wicked witch poised on a rhinoceros…………. No one saw the same thing. My rhino was ridiculous to your dolphin, and angels don’t do obvious no-brainer things like hide among the clouds.
Cloud watching always happened unplanned. It didn’t happen often. It rarely happens now, and there are plenty of parents out there who have not introduced children to the joys of nephelococcygia. There is no time, and besides which kid believes there’s a Universe out there, beyond the iPhone?
But the awful truth that struck home on Republic Day is that the people We Chose have stolen our cloud-watching rights. I can no longer look out of my window to watch the sky and the clouds. My neighbour just traded his (and mine) right to my bit of the sky by allowing the BBMP to eat into his (and mine) plot of land ( ostensibly so we could have a wider road) and let him build a couple of storeys that ate my bit of sky, and forever darkened the view from window. No one asked me.
A mother-and-child , or buddies can no longer stroll down the MG Road Promenade, or even the footpath hoping to catch a bit of the sun and sky and clouds because soon all we’ll see is the underbelly of NAmma Metro as it hurtles across what once used to be a face of Bangalore.
I still wonder………………….
What is the point of our soldiers dying, and keeping our skies safe. If we can’t catch a glimpse of our imaginary worlds forming and changing on the BIG BLUE SCREEN without any interference?
India is my country and all Indians are my brothers and sisters
India is my country and all Indians are my brothers and sisters.
I love my country and I am proud of its rich and varied heritage
I shall strive to be worthy of it
I shall give my parents, teachers and all elders, respect, and treat everyone with courtesy
To my country and my people, I pledge my devotion
In their wellbeing and prosperity alone, lies my happiness.
Swami Vivekanada gave us this gem. But does it mean anything to some of those honorables mentioned above?