Nowadays, people are being led to believe that the Republic created 69 years ago and Republic TV are the same thing. Are they? Opinions like onions have many layers and peeling them off, cause tears to flow, and nowadays even blood. Indeed the times have changed (in more ways than one)! Earlier they were lead to believe India is Indira and Indira is India. But with reincarnation on the anvil...Both the republics are at the crossroads and at cross purposes!
Patriotic fervour is often turned into nationalist fever ahead of this great day that saw the birth of the sovereign nation that is India. Is there a difference between the two? Many think not, especially many who surprisingly have studied at a prestigious Christian institution in New Delhi; But there are others who studied at a University, which is indeed a larger educational entity - more like the nation itself - that separate the two into good and evil beliefs... When unity and unitarianism is the key to a nation's happiness (BTW India is way below on the UN's happiness index) and well being, there is no room for separation of these two or of powers - that could be detrimental to the survival of the republic! For what one (more than one) has joined together, a few must not put asunder... is a strong belief. But really, the answer to this debate lies in the question is Mine bigger or better than yours?
A nation that was a conglomeration of kingdoms that lived in harmony (barring a few takeovers through marriage and attrition) has survived a 1000 years of domination by a variety of ethnicities, partially assimilating their ways and partially retaining their own as they coalesced in 1950, into a nation independent of external forces, on paper, but subject to them in reality. Over the next 69 years, the domination of ethnicities has been replaced by the domination of a variety of castes and their coalitions with one common dominant caste holding the forte - the MM Caste - Money Muscle caste. It is both a cast (a set of actors and a rigid sleeve) and a caste that does not permit lateral entry. The beauty is that our republic is growing stronger in spite of this.
So what does the Republic Day mean for us, the common citizen? those that do not have a siren on their cars or a plastic card in their pockets? those who struggle with their health and /or wealth? It means a lot. It means, that we share a brotherhood that a diverse and vast geographical terrain cannot dilute if we are resolute enough. There are so many prime examples of this, not the least when our brethren face calamities. A common civil code (not tilted towards any one of the diverse ethnicities in India), equal treatment under the law, speedy grievance redressal, broader and middleman free citizen benefits and enforcement of civic duties through stronger institutions are the way to build a stronger republic. However, as institutions lose their credibility, as the government shies away from taking decisions that are for the greater good and focuses on decisions that are for a limited good and economic misery grows, the republic can only grow weaker. But all is not lost - it is in this very environment that a nationalist fever ferments and that, no matter what a TV channel by the same name may say does not augur well for the republic.
So what can we do? Remain committed to our community and nation. Do what we can when we can. It may be a simple thing such as keeping our surroundings clean, helping a neighbour or a person in need to avail government services or in any other way, and not the least transact our business honestly despite so many others progressing without doing so. Above all be humane! It will help us keep the tricolour flying high. Are we up to it?
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