India celebrated its 69th Republic Day with much fervour and merriment. While Delhi made history by inviting the heads of as many as ten countries as chief guests for the grand official celebrations, the rest of India also left no stone unturned in rising to the occasion. But, how many of us actually understand the significance of the red-letter day? Celebrating something without knowing the alpha and omega of it is tantamount to fighting for a cause without having the slightest inkling of the cause, isn’t it?
Republic Day celebration, among the masses, is fast getting restricted to a cramped parenthesis - one that is marked by blazing patriotic songs, larger-than-life movies and going out on picnic. While most of us try to assert our patriotism by all the ostentatious means possible, we fail to understand one thing - true patriotism isn’t gaudy in ture; it is rather inherent and comes only from our understanding of our country’s past, and the values on which the foundation of India was built.
In what is utterly disappointing as well as shocking, scores of Indians confuse the importance of January 26 with that of August 15. “Both seem the same to us,” is what they often say. What they don’t realize is that by such an outlook, they are distancing themselves away from the shield that safeguards their very existence - the Indian Constitution. Yes, it was on this day that our Constitution, the supreme law of the land, was adopted in 1950 after the Constituent Assembly, especially the Drafting Committee, put in the highest degree of meticulousness into its making for almost three years.
In other words, if Independence Day was the harbinger of a turning point, it was Republic Day that brought about that turning point in the form of the Constitution. If the former underscored India’s freedom, the latter gave a meaning to it. If 1947 were to give the country its own atomy, 1950 put life into it.
Although it is called Republic Day, India actually gained a lot more than that on that day through the articles laid down in the Constitution. The people of the country got the right to vote. All citizens could now choose the leader they wanted to be governed by. The government, in turn, was made responsible to the people for all its actions. This form of direct democracy, when introduced, was viewed through lens of scepticism by many, for it seemed unlikely for a country as vast as India to pull it off successfully. But, under the guiding lighting of the Constitution, India did defy all odds to gradually emerge as the world’s largest democracy. Moreover, it made women a part of the electorate, much before countries like the USA could even toy with the idea. Well, the Constitution also resolved to protect the basic rights of the citizens by incorporating Fundamental Rights in its Part Three. In fact, Articles 12 to 35 can be considered a godsend for the masses. Modelled on the Principle of tural Justice, these rights gave the citizens the leeway they needed in their day-to-day life. In the absence of these, we wouldn’t, for instance, be able to express our views as freely as we do now, or engage in any business we like. Furthermore, the Constitution entrusted the Supreme Court - the apex court of India - with the responsibility of defending these fundamental rights.
Given the halo of importance around the Constitution, the present citizens, more so the youth, must show a leaning towards it. Few recent developments have been a direct assault on some of the constitutiol values. The influential ones are seen trampling over the rights of others. To make things worse, the victims seldom resist as they are uware of the safeguards provided for against such actions in the Constitution. In these alarming circumstances, the people are only inviting trouble by staying away from the Constitution. tiol Holidays like Republic Day set the perfect stage for generating awareness among the public regarding the values enshrined in the Constitution.
So, to sum it up, in spite of celebrating the peripheral activities on such significant a day, each one of us should celebrate the Constitution itself, as well as its founding fathers, who put their heart and soul into it.