That’s then-Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar, sleeping during the celebration of 68th Republic Day in 2016. The poor soul…
He isn’t alone though.
Country’s Celebrations of Independence Day and Republic Day take a toll even on the best of us. Just ask Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal, who couldn’t help but go for a quick nap on 15th August 2016…
(Courtesy: Deccan Chronicle)
…or ask Finance Minister Arun Jaitley (when he’s awake)how difficult it is to sit through Prime Minister’s Independence Day speech…
And yes, let’s not overlook the crowd who gathers and sit under the heat, chattering, for hours…
(Courtesy: Nation Multimedia)
Now we know why President Donald Trump declined Modi’s invitation to this year’s Republic Day celebration. If only other state leaders give up on the hypocrisy of political correctness and just say “NO” to these invitations of fests of boredom.
I am a patriot. (Sorry, “nationalists”!) But I am also fine admitting the way we celebrate these two auspicious days for our country is not only outdated but also, well, boring and extraneous.
And you know this too.
Have you ever watched these celebrations on TV in full? Do you really show the same enthusiasm for R-Day’s parade as, say, a good movie? Do you even remember, or care, about those who receive awards and medals for bravery? Do you really care about cultural programs? Granted the showering of the petals on the audience from the choppers, the fly past by fighter planes and the motorcycle rides are fairly cool. And yes, unfurling India’s flag is one proud moment for all. But the rest of events feel stale and something that the majority of people today do not care about.
And you know it too. The real ideas and meaning of 15th Aug and 26th Jan are lost somewhere. (Do you know what we call Republic Day in Hindi? ;))
Independence Day and Republic Day are now rendered to just the national holidays. Stay at home, sleep longer, watch a movie and then sleep some more.
It has remained the same for years. And it’s high time now that we ponder over how we can update the whole events on these two dates to better keep up with the changing preference of the people. Like, they should have higher digital prints. There should be more involvement of the public in whatever way. The armed forces should not be used as a toy of the nation, doing theatrics. The ministers should now not be dragged to the events as an obligation. The celebrations of Republic Day and Independence Day must be de-centralized from New Delhi and must be celebrated with equal grandeur in different parts of the country.
The holiday-ish feel of 15th and 26th must be ended with that celebratory feel. Media must play a bigger role here. Instead of telecasting Doordarshan directly, they should take up their own measures.
But these things are only possible when we first realize that there’s something very boring and outdated-ness about the way we celebrate Republic Day and Independence Day in India. And this is possible when we stop using nationalism as a tool against discussions and new ideas.
(Courtesy: India Today)