On January 26 every year India celebrates its Republic Day. It is celebrated with much enthusiasm throughout the country to commemorate the event. In Jamshedpur, the celebrations start with the solemn reminder of the sacrifice of the martyrs. The patriotic fervor of the people on this day brings the whole country together even in her essential diversity. Every part of the country is represented on occasion, which makes January 26 the most popular of all the national holidays of India.
The Colourful parades and drills are organised. Cultural functions are held in different parts to mark the occasion. In true sense Independence Day is the celebration of India’s sovereignty and freedom.
However with the passage of time the celebrations have changed. Earlier Republic Day was not wildly awaited throughout the year but was definitely a fun-filled occasion. Children would wake up early in the morning, since they did not have the Internet to keep them awake at night. There would be trips to school to watch the flag hoisting ceremony. One of the most important traditions would be going to watch the military parades at the crack of dawn. Watching the army march in flawless tandem, the death defying stunts lent a different spark to an otherwise “dry day”, both literally and metaphorically speaking.
Dr UK Srivastava has very vivid childhood memories of Independence Day. “My friends and I would go to school for the Republic Day ceremony and would gorge on the samosas and jalebis that we would get to eat there. We would even have a flag hoisting ceremony on my terrace. Then we would troop over to a neighbouring field for celebrations. It would be an enjoyable winter afternoon. We would also go to Azad Maidan ( now Gopal Maidan) to witness the flag hoisting ceremony.”
The octogenarian however expresses sadness that the youths of today have little time to participate in the celebrations. For them its time to spend time with friends or relatives only.
Suresh Prasad, a former employee of Tata Steel would spend the day with her father who would take her along with her siblings to watch morning shows of children’s films. “This was a Republic Day tradition”, he affirms.
“We have learned to un-learn the lessons of patriotism because a large section of the youth believe that celebrating the independence of India is no longer relevant as the country has buckled under the forces of neo-colonialism. The country is no longer free, it is just that we can’t see the shackles, is the ongoing refrain,” said Rohini Sinha, a chartered accountant by profession.
A fast paced lifestyle where independence, both economic and social, comes at a very early age without much of the responsibilities that weighed down our grandfathers have made today’s youth ignorant about the pains that they endured to get us this freedom. In a world where freedom is taken for granted and violence and ‘tit for tat’ is the normal way of everyday lives, few can digest the fact and believe that India wrestled its freedom from foreigners with a non-violent struggle. It is hard to think of a situation or relate to such a one wherein thousands of innocent people bravely faced the cannons with the cry of ‘Jai Hind’ rising from their throats.
There is a common saying, “History is a guide to navigation in perilous times. History is who we are and why we are the way we are.” A country without memory is like a country of madmen; a country devoid of any pride or glory. Proper respect and due regard should be given to all those who have sacrificed and endangered their lives for the welfare of the nation.
Meanwhile, the administration is all set for the Republic Day celebrations.“ As per the plans the rehearsal was held from January 20 till January 24 while there would be no activity on the ground on January 25 for doing lining work and final preparation for the January 26 flag hoisting ceremony,” said an official.