Before the Republic day 2016, all what my 5 year old knew about it was that it is celebrated every year on January 26th and is known as The Republic Day of India. All what she was excited about the day was it being a National Holiday to celebrate having the various programs scheduled to enjoy and have fun and that the National Flag hoisting being the centre of attraction! But this year Jan 26, 2016 taught my little one with much more than that and filled her with proud for her Country, her Nation, her Flag!
We got up early in the morning to see the live broadcast of the magnificent 67th “Republic Day Parade. Before the programme was about to begin I tried explaining her real significance of the day and the facts behind all the celebrations. She was very curious to watch the programme and all the while watching the live telecast, the enthusiasm she had was just unbelievable.
She was glad to know that the Republic Day celebrations actually is not the 1.5-2 hours parade that she saw but a three days affair with the closing ceremony taking place on January 29th. After the programme was over, I asked my so-called ‘lil one’ about what she learned about the Republic Day and her answer surprised me like anything for I never expected her to grasp so much by just watching the Parade show.
She said “You know Mumma, there was a Chief Guest invited for the parade from another country, France (She actually could not remember the name of the French President, Honourable Francois Hollande). The Prime Minister of India visited the Amar Jawan Jyoti and paid tribute to the soldiers who sacrificed their lives for the nation. The President of India hoisted the Indian Flag and addressed the Republic Day. The National Anthem, Jan Gana Man was also sung. There was the march past of the three armed forces. Even the Army dogs march past at Rajpath. The air show by the aircraft was spectacular. There was a grand show wherein the parade was carried on by the different states of India each of them demonstrating their varied traditions and cultural heritage. The different departments of India who have contributed in the development of the nation also made parade to show their achievements. (I understood that she must be talking about the parades of the various organisations like electricity, telecom, aerospace, atomic energy, digital India, Election Commission, Drinking Water and Sanitation, etc.)
There were wonderful folk dance performances by various groups and the President of India presented Prizes and Awards to the brave children of the country and the adults nominated from different parts of India. The martyrs who died performing the acts of bravery on the battle front were awarded Ashok Chakra or the Param Vir Chakra which was collected by their families.” (She was really touched with the telecast of the struggling battle ceremony of Lance Naik Mohan Nath Goswami!)
She went on saying, “These soldiers are very brave. And you know that not only us but people throughout India sit and watch the Republic Day program with full enthusiasm. The entire nation participates, enjoys and wishes for the prosperity of India.”
And yes, how can I forget her last statement on the topic! She also told me, “India has the longest Constitution in the World, however, I still don’t understand what does the word ‘Constitution’ actually mean?” I just smiled and tried telling it to her in a very simple form and it somehow satisfied her.
The mother in me was glad that her daughter learnt so much about her country and she, the daughter was glad to be the citizen of a country like India. In the end she proudly said, Jai Hind, marking the gesture of Saluting like a soldier!