India celebrated its 68th Republic Day on 26th January 2017 with the feeling of patriotism and pride. The celebration had its usual fervour amongst the people. Like always, the day was marked with a parade that was full of energy and vibrancy. The President, Mr. Pranab Mukherji and the Chief Guest, The Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi, Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan were present to honour the occasion. It was as always, an event showcasing India’s defence capabilities, its culture and the social heritage.
I am sure all of you must have watched the parade. If not, I urge you to watch it. Not because I am an Indian but because it gives you an insight of what makes India ‘India’. If you observe closely, the parade not only showcases the defence, culture and social heritage but also the lives of all the people that make this parade happen, from the Ministry of Defence to the Indian Armed Forces, the common man belonging to different States of India and those Children and Soldiers who are adorned with medals of bravery.
The parade kicks off with the arrival of President of India and The Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi escorted by bodyguards on horsebacks. The president starts his journey from the Rashtrapati Bhavan (President’s Palace) and travels through Rajpath to take his seat at the Bulletproof Dais. The whole procession shows us not only the value and importance of our president but also the readiness of the guards who are always on duty of protecting their president irrespective of the time and day. They are beside him even without it being a republic day.
After this, The Prime Minister of India lays a wreath at Amar Jawan Jyoti at India Gate to pay homage to those who lost their lives in war. This is not only a salute to the martyrs but a reminder of the truth and history behind the democratic and republican nation of India. This is followed by the flag hoisting, national anthem and 21-gun salute to remind others that we still stand strong and united.
The parade is then led by all the three armed forces divided only by their regiments. They salute the President as the parade by him on the five kilometre long Rajpath. The battalions marching with the same gait and in time hand movements, like a synchronised dance form. The various weapons on display showing off the strength of India. The daredevil bikers performing stunts. All of these leaves us mesmerised. But did you observe the discipline with which the soldiers carried themselves, the efforts they put in to reach this level, the hardships they go through in their daily lives. And it is all these things that sets them apart from the common man.
Then comes the cultural and social heritage, the states of India representing themselves on a float highlighting their culture, heritage and any other thing of significance. You will be in awe of the decoration of the respective floats but look closer and notice the small things, it portrays the life of people who live there. It shows their lifestyle. It shows the way they earn their living and still smile through the difficulties of life. All of this out there on the float, loud and clear for us to see but all we see are the decorations and dances.
The parade comes to an end with the final show of aircrafts and aeroplanes. This represents that India will fly till the end. Even if the parade has ended, the planes will ensure the safety and security of the people. This my friends, is the true reason behind the parade. Its purpose is not to amuse us but to remind us of the sacrifices, to alleviate the fear in us, to reassure us of our armed forces, to educate us of the recent developments and to make us aware about those people with whom we share our motherland and the citizenship.
The Republic Day Parade in its truest of sense is a parade through India and her people.