Unlike Arvind Kejriwal, I am not complaining that I had not been invited to the January 26th shindig along Raj Path in Delhi. I am enjoying the TV telecast of the annual, and should I say repetitive and boring, parade.
Yes, if one is honest with himself or herself, the only thing he or she would appreciate about this ritual is the capability of the government to organize this function, security and all. Of course, our PM showed courage to invite the mighty – I will have much to say on this later – US president to this event as the Chief Guest which none of his predecessors had the gumption to do. But, the question is, should our prime minister have done that?
No. Sorry for raining on Obama’s parade. Did I raise your eyebrow by saying that it was Obama’s parade? Apologies, but qualified – I was left with no option. As the parade was going on, I saw a line on the TV screen that proclaimed “SPECTACULAR DISPLAY FOR OBAMA”, yes, all caps and bold, but definitely ugly. It was not a display for the people of this republic called INDIA. Gag me with a fork, please.
For the past one week all one heard about the occasion of the nation’s 65th Republic Day Anniversary, was that the US President will be the Chief Guest. We learned everything about His (capitalized deliberately) itinerary, how He would be welcomed, what He would be served and on and on. Oh, Agra lost out on His gracious visit, blame the Saudi Monarch who chose to die at such an inappropriate time. How dare he? Obama, at least till the events close, is God, for all who believe in God.
No one mentioned that Obama is enjoying the last few months before he will be anointed a “lame duck” president, if that has not happened already. We are, in a sense, basking in the reflected glory of a has-been, on OUR Republic Day!
There has been hardly a mention of how India has veered away from the principles of a Republican Government, by focusing more on the power structure by those in the formal structure of governance and outside of it, mostly the monied and capital class, which governs the country rather than the people who are the repository of the powers to govern – res publica, if you please. As I see it, the Indian public has not cared to restate, much less reaffirm the founding principles of OUR REPUBLIC.
I wonder how many Indian citizens, even among the supposedly well-educated will be able to make the distinction between the Indian Independence and Republic Days – of course, in the former, the Prime Minister gives the speech from the Red Fort and in the latter, (s)he sits alongside the Chief Guest for the day watching a boring (yes, I am repeating the adjective, because it is well deserved) parade. The President of India merely carries on the charade.
This is the Indian public. Do they deserve a Republic Day of its own? Maybe not. That is how January 26, 2015 became a “SPECTACULAR DISPLAY FOR OBAMA”.
We deserve what we got.