Monday 21 January 2013

My Republic Day, and yours too.

I don't want to boycott the Republic Day celebrations. I plan to wake my family up "early" on this coming Saturday, get them dressed, fed and set to leave home by 8:30 am, drive for an hour to the bus shuttle service point,  then ride a little and finally walk a couple of minutes more to hopefully reach our allotted seats before the microphone comes on.

I don't have an academic, intellectual, political or even a well thought-out argument as to why we should not boycott the 26th January, 2013, celebrations. I just know we should be there - in huge numbers with loud cheers, donning tricolours,  with our home-made flags pinned to our shirts and enough dose of pride for our India. Please don't knot your eyebrows in a moment of confusion or quick judgement. I did use 'pride' and 'India' together, yes! And I also said 'our' India, because that is exactly what it is - Ours!

Crimes make us believe that our country, our India, has betrayed us. They get us angry and sad and scared and talking. They get us to scream for justice in one voice. To bring the criminal to the gallows. Crimes make us faithless - in systems and governments that should run for our safety, prosperity and well being. Indeed! But crimes will continue to happen, because crimes fail to make us faithless in our own selves.  After all, it is our minds which make the country think - whether in a mob or at home, or in the secret ballot - and our combined acts which we should call India's role. India is not contained in the corridors of power alone. India is sitting in your drawing room right now, watching television, partying, playing toys, mopping the floors, cooking, teaching, drawing, writing, washing utensils, sleeping, reading, guarding the door, brooming, breathing. You are India. And I am too. It is not India that shamed us, it is we the people of this country who shamed the very essence of India. India is nothing but the people that make it or mar it! India is us and ours, both!    

What is there to write home about, really? There's ample. Start looking around for it, as you turn the scanner towards your own mind and heart too, and see what you have done to make your country proud. And as you do that, keep your eyes open for little victories and achievements, here and there and everywhere, that didn't make it to the front page of your favourite daily. Stand up and shake them out of the folds of oblivion where they were tucked away by the uncaring, unthinking ones. Start hunting for heroes of the everyday, who save lives give lives and live lives you wouldn't dare to. That is the India that your dreams are made of, and it's actually right here waiting to be noticed!

I'm going to paint a little flag on my son's face, with the same zeal with which my mother painted one on mine 20 years ago, as we tuned in to Doordarshan at 7 am, on the morning of 26th January, year-after-year. We as a family will go and watch the 2013 Republic Day celebrations together. No, not just because India was declared polio free, because it tested its nuclear capability with 100 per cent success this year, it got us 6 medals in London Olympics, took our space programme forward. No, not just for these and such other reasons! We will also go for the India we want to be proud of but know little about, which will be there in attendance and abundance  - for the India fighting on our borders to be felicitated, for the India in every State to be proudly showcased, for the children dancing to the patriotic tune, for the air show flaunting our military prowess and most importantly for the little India sitting in my lap who will understand what is it that we call India and what it is to be an Indian.

Hope to see you all at Rajpath!


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