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R- Day for youth: a holiday, a grand parade
Published on 25 Jan. 2011 11:05 PM IST
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Ah Republic Day! For one youngster, it’s a day to remember a grandfather who fought for the country, for another, a chance to witness on TV a grand parade of India’s cultural and military might, and for many others, a time to enjoy a holiday.
College students and young professionals say they will mark the day Jan 26 - when India’s constitution came into force 61 years ago - with a sense of pride even as they are disappointed with the country’s leaders.
“India has progressed but is beset with many problems such as huge corruption and inflation,” Surbhi Sharma, a software engineer in Delhi, said. She hoped that “political leaders would wake up to the virus called corruption that has infected their minds.” “I am proud of India only because of its rich cultural and scientific heritage. I take the Republic Day as a holiday, but I do celebrate it by singing the national anthem with friends.”
Aarti Jadhav, a Mumbai-based corporate communications manager in her 20s, said, “It’s an important day for me. Because of it I am part of an independent society that gives me the right to live life on my own terms. “The day also reminds me of my grandfather who like millions in his generation fought and even laid down their lives so that we could live our lives with complete freedom. I along with my family will watch the grand parade and tableaus in Delhi on TV,” she vowed.
Jadhav is, however, deeply aware of the problems plaguing the country.
Sehar Nazir, a 22-year-old resident of Jammu and Kashmir, said, “Being a Kashmiri, it’s complicated for me to say anything about Republic Day. To me, it comes across as a technical definition - a day when the constitution was formed. “It signifies India’s decision-making capacity lying in the hands of its people. But though elections are held every five years, the actual right we want is still denied.
“For most Indians, the day means watching the parade, attending a flag hoisting function or enjoy a day off from work. What does it signify for a Kashmiri? Deserted roads, raids, cordoned places, house arrests and frisking at every half mile. In short, disruption of normal life, humiliation and helplessness for people. Tension spills over the week leading to the Republic Day,” rued Nazir.
Punit Daryani, 23, an entrepreneur in Ahmedabad, said, “The day should be celebrated in a big way. I will distribute the national flag among the poor so that every Indian can celebrate it and understand its importance.
“There is lack of unity in the nation. India has achieved great things in the last 61 years but also lost many important things due to the never-ending bickering between its leaders.”
Mehul Pithva, a software engineer in Bangalore, said, “The Republic Day means a lot to every Indian in terms of the constitution, law and public welfare.
I have tremendous pride in what the nation has achieved in spite of being hamstrung by all sorts of problems.
“The progress, the improvements, are slow, sometimes even imperceptible, but they are there and steadily ongoing.”
Brinda Sethia, 23, an MBA student from Kolkata, said, “On this special day, every citizen tends to feel a little patriotic and that does bring the whole country together in its diversity.
“I will watch the live telecast of the parade in Delhi with my family and of course typically there is usually a feast of patriotic movies like ‘Rang De Basanti’, ‘Legend of Bhagat Singh’, ‘Lagaan’ to savour,” Sethia said.

Kabir Shetty, 20, a radio jockey in Jaipur, said, “I will thank god for giving me an opportunity to be an Indian and recall my responsibilities towards my nation. I will try to celebrate it with some social activities.”
Manish Kumar, 18, a commerce student in Kanpur, said, “Every Indian should contribute and give respect to Republic Day in his own way like I donate clothes and food to poor children.”

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