The youth of today lead a different lifestyle when compared to the previous generation. The changing age has brought radical changes in our lives as well as challenges never faced before. As the country, boasting of the world's largest youth population, celebrated its 69th Republic Day, we asked millennials what the day meant to them and what they think of their legacy which is the Constitution.
We asked people from various fields ranging from college students to artists. From reminiscing about their school celebrations to posting in social media, Chennaites speak about R-Day magic. While the general consensus was a cheerful one, some of them also expressed concerns over the respect given to Republic Day nowadays.
“Our Constitution is a document that must be given the prime importance. For me, Republic Day is a celebration of unity in diversity. Even though, there are problems, we have done a great job in being a secular state," said Arun Nair, a college student from Avadi.
“This is the day we celebrate like we are celebrating our birthday. It's a day of pride and honour for us. It's our responsibility to pay taxes and help our countrymen. We must exercise our fundamental rights to full effect," added Devashish Sharma, college student.
“Are we able to practise the democratic rights that were given to us on this day, years ago? We say that we are a democratic country and compare ourselves with other countries, but are we able to enjoy our democracy fully?” asks Aswin Harish, another college student, in a troubling question.
“Back in our schooldays, Republic Day was very special. After that, as I grew up, it's all about respecting my fellow countrymen. I never knew the seriousness of the day while I was celebrating in school. If I had, Republic Day would have been much better,” reminisces Jitin Mohan, another college student.
While students expressed their feelings on the day, the more senior working men were more inclined towards their duties of paying taxes and obeying laws. “Patriotism, in my point of view, is when one really respects one's own country, no matter what. Some might call it as blind patriotism, but in my view it's not. People in the past have sacrificed their lives for this country and they weren't fools to do so. There are youngsters who join armed forces with no inhibition, yet there are people who have objections on standing up in theatres when the National Anthem plays. I wouldn't say that people's patriotism comes out only on these two days but nowadays nobody has got enough time to think out of their Androids and iPhones and give some thought to this country.”
Some people really do respect the national days and they show it on these two days, but for others it may be just a day off. They may be influenced by their peers to change their display pictures online. But, to be really honest, they really don’t care,” is Sudipta Das’ opinion.
“Being faithful towards the country is the most important thing. Paying all the taxes is very important and so is standing up against inequalities. Pinning a flag on the shirt for just one day is not good, we should be carrying our Indianness in our heart for our whole life,” says Rakhi Kapoor, author of the debut novel The Girl who was left behind.
“Carrying flags on R day and boasting about patriotism won’t help. The need of the hour is to abide by our constitutional laws, which is the reason we celebrate this day for,” says Sithara, a young advocate from Chennai.
Chennai artist Parvathi Nayar said that her idea of celebrating Republic Day is to watch the parade on television along with her daughter. “People these days mainly celebrate by changing their profile pictures on their social media accounts, and I think it’s also good.”
It is not a matter of debate that Republic Day is indeed an important day. The question is whether this day does the job of reigniting the passion in the minds of millenials or the audience is just too passive?...