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Indian Republic Turned 60


Every year January 26 is a date all Indians living in India as well as all over the world celebrate to salute the fore fathers who fought for our freedom and the constitution made by Indians for the Indians.

Generally, the Republic Day is celebrated in the National Capital, New Delhi with a parade witnessed by the President of India with a invited Head of State from any friendly country of the world.

For the Republic Day of 2009 Kazakhstan President, Nursultan Nazarbayev was the Chief Guest.

It is indeed a gesture of great recognition of the high status of friendly relations between the two nations.

In fact, Kaakhstan strongly supported India at the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) meeting in 2008 which allowed New Delhi to resume full civil nuclear cooperation with the international community.

India needs to demonstrate the power of democracy in Republic India to the world every year.

All newspapers and TV channels wrote and showed the achievements and the challenges faced by the Republic during the past year(s).

It is customary to honor some chosen civilians of importance in various fields of specialty by awarding Padma Vibhushan, Padma Bhushan and Padma Sri depending on their contributions. 

For the defense personals there are awards like Ashoka Chakra and Kirti Chakra.

Mostly uniformed individuals for their most conspicuous act of bravery or an act of daring or a pre-eminent act of valor or self-sacrifice away from the battle field were honored with these two awards.

Some of such awards are given posthumously because the individuals invariably might have sacrificed their lives for the safety of the Nation.

I saw a number of passport size photographs in newspapers with their names and also the type of award they got.

Some of the faces were familiar to me whereas some were not.

These awardees are selected from the length and breadth of the country and the awards are an approval to their contributions and also an encouragement for doing more in their own fields so that the country gets the benefits.

There were 10 Padma Vibhushan, 30 Padma Bhushan, 93 Padma Sri, 11 Ashoka Chakra and 13 Kirti Chakra awardees during 2009.

Some of the names familiar to me in the category of Padma Vibhushan were: Sundarlal S. Bahuguna, noted environmentalist, G. Madhavan Nair, Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) Chief, Anil Kakodhar, Chairman of Atomic Energy Commission, Sister Nirmala, Superior General of Mother Teresa’s Missionaries.

Among the 30 Padma Bhushan awardees, Sekhar Gupta, journalist; D Jayakanthan, writer; Ramachandra Guha, writer; Abhinav Bindra, Sports; Sam Pitroda, administrator; were familiar names.

Among the Padma Sri awardees, Aishwarya Rai, M. S. Dhoni, Habhajan Singh and  Vivek were some of the familiar faces.

Hemant Karkare, Ashok Kamte, Vijay Sahahdev Salaskar and Sandeep Unnikrishnan were the ones posthumously selected for Ashoka Chakra the highest gallantry award.

Others were also equally heroic in their duty, but they were the unknown heroes for me.

Republic day is a happy occasion with a tinge of sadness.

Republics can not survive without losing some of our valiant uniformed and civilian personalities for keeping the country safe in these days of terrorism.

So we have to bear and remember those departed souls during every Republic day.

The President of India in her address to the Nation on the eve of Republic day mentioned mainly the decisive action against terrorism and the economic showdown.

Also she touched upon the social issue of girl child for gender equality.

In this regard she announced that January 24 from this year onwards will be celebrated as ‘National Girl Child Day.’

Gender fight continues even after 60 years of our own rule.

We will remember for years that the Republic day 2009 kept the Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh away from all functions.

He was admitted at AIIMS for cardiac surgery and showing improvement in his health by God’s grace.

The surgeons reported that the Prime Minister will be back to work within a fortnight.

Still the regular traditional celebrations at the National and State level went on without trouble.

The role of the Prime Minister in the Republic Day function was given to Mr. A. K. Antony, the Defense Minister.

Students from the primary to College level celebrated either in their schools or colleges in the presence of their teachers who made speeches and hoisted National Flag and distributed sweets to all those who participated in these functions.

Colonies, Clubs and other organizations did similar functions on the Republic Day.

“We the people of India having solemnly resolved to constitute India into a Sovereign socialist secular democratic republic and to secure to all its citizens:

Justice, social, economic and political;

Liberty of thought, expression, belief, faith and worship;

Equality of status and opportunity; and to promote among them all

Fraternity assuring the dignity of the individual and the unity and integrity of Nation.”

This passage is part of the preamble of our Constitution of India.

The Constitution of India came into force and India declared itself as ‘Republic’ on

26 January 1950, a date thereafter celebrated annually as Republic Day in India.

Therefore it is necessary for every citizen of India to remember or read the preamble of our Constitution on this important day of celebration.

I do not know how many of us who celebrated the Republic day this year know what is said in our Constitution at least in the preamble.

Instead of keeping the photographs of our political leaders who are not permanent, we should inscribe in every Government office, school and college the preamble our Constitution which should find a permanent place in our hearts.

Long live our Republic!



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