India is celebrating its 70th Republic Day. First Republic Day of India was celebrated in 1950. India is a country having people of different cultures, societies, religions and languages who interplay with each other harmoniously. Republic Day is the symbol of true spirit for the independent India where military parades, exhibiting military equipment, salute to the National Flag by the Indian President and variety of events that take place on this day. Republic Day represents the true spirit of independent India. In his autobiography, Jawaharlal Nehru recalled how Independence Day came into existence on January 26, 1930, and it revealed to us, in a flash, the earnest and enthusiastic mood of the country. After the Jallianwala Bagh massacre of 1919, there was huge public outrage against the British rule and looking at the public sentiments Mahatma Gandhi and the Congress committed themselves to Purna Swaraj. Mahatma Gandhi led nationwide Non-Cooperation Movement between 1920-1922 against 1919 Rowlett Act in which civil liberties of Indian citizens were hugely curtailed.
It was also the reason why January 26 was designated as Republic Day when the Constitution was finalised in 1950. The Constitution of India was drafted by Dr. BR Ambedkar which helped to replace the existing Government of India Act, 1935. The Constitution of India which was drafted by Dr. BR Ambedkar was actually passed on November 26, 1949. It is the supreme law of India. It gives us a framework of fundamental political principals, establishes structure, procedures, powers, and duties of the government institutions and sets out fundamental rights, directive principles and the duties of citizens. The constitution declares India a sovereign, socialist, secular, democratic republic, assuring its citizens of justice, equality, and liberty, and endeavours to promote fraternity among them. It gives us Fundamental Rights and duties too. Right to Freedom, Equality, Freedom of Religion, Culture and education, constitution remedies are our six fundamental rights.
It was mainly Nehru’s idea to have an impressive parade on Republic Day every year to strengthen the nation’s unity in diversity, and demonstrate its military might, economic and social progress as well as it’s vast cultural heritage. An official draft by Mahatma Gandhi said: “The British government in India has not only deprived the Indian people of their freedom but has based itself on the exploitation of the masses and has ruined India economically, politically, culturally and spiritually. Therefore, India must sever the British connection and attain ‘purna swaraj’ or ‘complete independence’. ”
Mahatma Gandhi’s mission to wipe every tear from every eye still remains unfulfilled. We have to work harder to provide food security to our people and to make the agriculture sector resilient to the vagaries of nature. We have to provide better amenities and opportunities to our people in villages to ensure a decent quality of life. The fundamental rights and duties of the people of the Republic in India have been laid down in our constitution. Every citizen of India is equal in the eye of the law, and no one is to suffer because of religion, creed, caste, colour or race.
Youth today are brimming with hope and aspirations. They pursue their life goals, which they perceive will bring them fame, success and happiness, with single-minded devotion. They consider happiness as their existential objective, which of course is understandable.
The anniversary of India becoming a republic has come and gone. Fireworks, salutes to the tiranga, distribution of awards, parades, display of our military might and what not. But the real issue amid the festivities seems to have been lost somewhere.
Democracy has helped only our politicians. Many of them got an opportunity to become billionaires after a decade or so in politics. Our criminal justice system is all but ineffective in curbing corruption, which starts with the ballot box and ends in Swiss banks.
Let us make a great promise that we would live together in peace and happiness as the people of the same nation. It creates a feeling of patriotism among the people. It reminds us of the supreme sacrifices made by the great freedom fighters. Republic Day also realises us our responsibilities towards our country.
(The views expressed by the author in the article are his/her own.)