Thursday, January 26, 2006

Hail to the Republic ...

We, the people of India, having solemnly resolved to constitute India into a sovereign socialist secular democratic Republic and to secure to all its citizens:

JUSTICE, social, economic and political; .....

Republic Day Parade

The Republic of India celebrated the 57th anniversary of its formation today. The celebrations were at its ceremonial best in the annual Republic Day parade along Raj Path in New Delhi, with King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia as the guest of honor a day. Yet, the news headlines were full of the heavy security arrangements, the looming threat of terrorist violence, and Maoist attacks in the north-east of the country. An unfortunate fact of life in modern India. And yet, a day of great pride for all Indians, to remember the fallen heroes, to take heart in the future, reflect on the year gone by, and to plan for a glorious one ahead. Hail to the Republic of India ...

Republic Day Parade
Mumbai Police lowering the swords as the National Anthem is played at the parade at the Shivaji Park in Mumbai, Maharashtra (26 January, 2004)

I was in India last year on Republic Day, and thoroughly enjoyed watching the Rajpath parade from Rashtrapati Bhavan to India Gate and on the the Red Fort, during the telecast on TV - I have always been fascinated by it, ever since I was a kid ... the tank columns rumbling down past the President as they lower their guns in salute, the marching columns of the services in their ceremonial pomp and glory, the Presidential bodyguards (राष्ट्रपती अंगरक्षक) offering the 21 gun salute as the band plays the National Anthem ... the decorated landmarks in Delhi at night, the Beating the Retreat ceremony in the evening. From the point of view of a nation like India, it sometimes might seem like a waste of money, a splurge, but I think considering the pride you feel when you see the military might, the cultural sights and the ceremonial bright (well a cheap attempt at ryhyming gone awry there) .... it seems to be al worth it.

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