Why Celebrate 26 Jan?

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It’s 7am and I am awoken by the song “Utha Rashtravira HO”! Somehow I try to sleep again and more patriotic songs of the era of bad recording but good singers and great musicians are played. I finally give up my tryst with sleep and wake up to the fresh morning breeze of the winter and take in the realization that India has completed 63 years as a functioning Republic State.

But I am questioned why Republic Day is celebrated? What’s saddening is most people use mundane reasons to not celebrate a patriotic event. So one girl is raped in Delhi, in her memory, New Years is not celebrated by some who walked the streets holding candles on midnight of the New Year. A commendable dedication to the cause, but why so late? Why not a few years before? Why only when the media made an outcry about it? And why not for the other victims who are still being raped and molested, some on New Year’s itself? Today, they say, Republic Day is not to be celebrated as well, why with all the women being raped? I hope at least 10% of those say the same about Valentines Day.

So for those who think Republic Day and Independence Day are “ the same thing” or those who do not know why 26th January is celebrated, here is the answer. A Republic is a form of Government which considers the country a public matter and not a private concern or property of rulers where each office has an elected representative rather than an inherent one. It comes as a surprise that India attained the tag of being Republic in 1950 while the World’s first Republican Confederacy was Indian as well, the Vajjian capital of Vaishali, around 600 BC.

So why should we celebrate the Republic Day? Because it’s the constitution that gives us a chance to choose our leaders, to be a part of the change and make the change we want, it gives you and me equal rights and gives our voice the right to be heard. All that India is today is because of the Final Draft that was prepared by our Drafting Committee with Dr. Ambedkar as its chairman. Yes it is not perfect because it had to undergo severe appeasement of all concerned to be passed, and most of the points stand mundane today. But it is this constitution that also gives us the right to voice our anguish and get the desired changes incorporated into the constitution.

So sadly, the Republic Day Celebrations are a matter of choice, thanks to the same constitution. To enjoy it as just another holiday or to attend a flag hoisting and see our tricolor unfurl with a group of Indians, is all up to you.

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