Today, India will celebrate the 69th Republic Day, painted in tricolor, the entire nation will be submerged in patriotism and love for the country, echoes of the national anthem is jingling up the entire nation. On Republic Day, we should know that it took real audacity to create the Republic but maintaining it is proving to be a daunting task.
Wearing tricolour-inspired clothes, chorusing in with the tunes of Jana gana mana and saluting the flag for a day or two certainly shows enthusiasm towards the nation, but it takes more to be a citizen of an independent republic state. For our freedom fighters and first lawmakers of independent India, it took immense audacity to create a republic and that is what we honour and commemorate on Republic Day; but keeping it a republic is real daunting task. Benjamin Franklin said, ‘A republic, if you can keep it’. Republics are easy to form, when compared to keeping them republics. And it is not just about India, most of the countries claim to be republics but republicanism eludes many of them.
Like every year, the country would turn into a full display of its vivid cultural heritage and military might, cities and states will compete with each other to raise the mast higher to hoist the flag. Army men will showcase the best of their troops, torsos straight as log of wood and head held high in pride. 10 ASEAN leaders from 10 countries were welcomed under extreme security at the grandiose Republic Day parade at the iconic India Gate and carries on along the Rajpath. Marching contingents, various tableaux and performances showcased the different cultures of the country. It will be a display of the vibrant culture, traditions, art forms and beliefs, it depicts the diversity of India and how it preserves its ethnicity – after all, it is the day when the Constitution of India came into effect, 69 years ago.
However, one thing that cannot be avoided is the fact that our founding fathers gave us a republican constitution with a hope of a civic virtue, necessary for republicanism to strike roots, would be cultivated by the recipients of the benefits of the republic. Therefore, Republic Day, just as it brings celebrations and pronouncements of pride in the might of the state, exhorts us to introspect on the fragile republican culture that would undercut the formal edifice of the republic. Of course republics are not made in heaven and nor do they grow out with accordance to social homogeneity – it needs to be maintained. The audacity that our founding fathers put in creating India a republic needs to be matched by the sustained collective audacity to “keep the republic” – it is not just about the government, it is about every single citizen of the independent Republic state of India, that it is.