Sunday, January 26, 2014

Do we know what we are celebrating today, the 26th of January?

I will try not to be supercilious in this post.
On the DD Tamil channel, on the TV along with the formal festivities, clips of the song “Vande Mataram” as featured in a Tamil movie celebrating the efforts of V O Chidambaram Pillai to establish a shipping company in defiance of the colonial rules were being played. The incongruence hit me like the blast at the exhaust cones during the recent launch of GSLV-D5 from Sriharikota.
Today we are celebrating the fact that we emerged as a confident nation. No, we did not do that on August 15th. About 2 years and 7 months earlier to adopting our own Constitution, we merely asserted our independent identity. That was only the skeleton of who we are. Skeletons do not carry a confident persona.
Today is the 64th time we are celebrating the anniversary of our imbuing ourselves with confidence. We said, on this day in 1950, that we know how we shall rule ourselves. We shall be a republic. We know the rules by which we shall rule ourselves, because we ourselves have framed the rules of governance. In a sense, today is the celebration of putting the flesh and skin on the skeleton of freedom.
Yes, the US celebrates with gusto the day it declared its independence from the British rulers, in 1776. And, to its eternal disgrace it does not celebrate the year its Constitution, by which every citizen swears with comparable gusto. It was adopted, 1789, 13 years after the country declared its independence. So, we are one up on the US. This too we can celebrate today, if we are so inclined!
V.O. Chidambaram blazed a trail, yes. Today, we are celebrating the fact that our independence was worth the sacrifices because we are ruling ourselves under the laws we have created. Just to put in a contrast, look who or what Australia is!
There is no point in reprising the struggles for independence today. They have their day, every year. Today, let us bow down to our Constitution, which we gave to ourselves.
This is what we are celebrating today, our coming forth out of the colonial cocoon as a confident, independent nation.
Raghuram Ekambaram


Aditi said...

Absolutely. Being a Republic is assertion of identity of the Indian Nationhood. Jai Hind. :)

mandakolathur said...


What I was exercised about was people were merely reprising the Independence Day celebrations, about the freedom fighters, the patriotic songs. I do not begrudge that, but we have moved at least a few steps beyond gaining freedom.

I have no idea how Vande Mataram resonates with Republic Day; perhaps it does, perhaps it does not, but none who were singing along could have convinced me that it does!