On Republic Day, a day when the Constitution of India came into effect in 1950, the mood is one of hope in the face of all the upheavals of the past. Patriotism and the tiranga of colours flies high and many city youngsters share their memories of Republic Day and what they loved most about it. Some recall watching the parade on Doordarshan, others remember the flag hoisting at their schools, and almost all smile with glee at munching on yummy toffees and sweets distributed. With patriotic fervour in the air, many share what it means to be an Indian, away from all the rhetoric and divisiveness of the past.
Akash Gowda, an entrepreneur feels, “This day is special. Firstly, the Constitution of India came into effect and secondly, it’s my parents’ anniversary too. My school (Florence) was always a part of the parade at the Manekshaw Parade Ground. Watching the parade on TV to being a part of it, is my fondest memory.” As Army children, many watched the parade and were a part of it, among them is Sparsh Gulati, an start-up entrepreneur, who watched the parade when he was younger. He shares his mother’s memory, an Army officer, “She was in school and college in Delhi and as a part of the scouts, they would be dressed in their best uniform to march at the Rashtrapati Bhawan, and see various leaders, she shook hands with Jawaharlal Nehru back then! It was such an honour for her, and I can still see the pride in her eyes.”
For Sandalwood actress Hitha Chandrashekar too, it was about parade watching, “Republic Day was spent watching the parade on TV with family. We were a close knit community and so flag hoisting, singing patriotic songs and distribution of sweets was something I was a part of every year.” Utkarsh Agarwal, a city-based sales and marketing representative feels a sense of pride at being an Indian whenever he watches the parade on TV. “As January 26 was always a holiday, it was about being patriotic. I saw the soldiers in tandem. My parents would teach me the importance of discipline and hard work. Watching the soldiers in full uniformity helped me build my teamwork skills,” he adds.
For Harshitha Sathyaprakash, a student, the day holds a special place, “We got to learn the importance of the day at school. I remember wearing my school uniform, hoisting the flag and happily munching on sweets. Today, being a college student, nothing has changed. We are still those same children, albeit older, assembling to hoist the flag, munch on sweets.” But for some, it is also about making others remember how peacefully we lived back then. Bhagyashri Kamble, a software engineer, is filled with pride at our diversity and secularism, “My fondest memory is gathering together to sing the national anthem, and raising our national flag and saluting with pride. We also had cultural programmes and we would spend hours practising for it. Although the cultural programmes were held a day before, spending time together, and practising was always a great memory.”