he nation of over one billion people is celebrating the 60th Republic Day. It was the 26th January 1950 when the people of free India embraced a republican form of democracy. It was on this day that India adopted and enacted the supreme document to shape and govern its destiny; The Constitution of India, which is the life line of the country and the guiding force for its socio economic development. From this day we the people of India became the fountains of ultimate power and authority in our country. Constitution of free India is the people’s own document prepared and framed by the people’s own representatives. As India became a sovereign democratic republic, power of people got constitutional recognition.
Republican form of government implies that the head of the state will be elected directly or indirectly by the people of the state. It is not a mere chance that 26th January was chosen to enact and give ourselves the constitution. This day has historical importance. It was in 1929 that the Congress convention in Lahore, under the presidentship of Pt. Jawaharlal Nehru, passed a resolution that every Indian will pledge on 26th January to demand complete independence. This pledge was made under the national flag and thus started the tradition of celebrating 26th January. Then after freedom of the country from imperialist yoke, the national leaders thought 26th January fit for enacting the constitution of free India.
The Constitution is the expression and commitment of our national will and aspiration. The preamble of the constitution commences as “we the people of India having solemnly resolved to constitute India into a sovereign, socialist, secular, democratic republic and to give ourselves the present constitution.” It also ensures to promote and strive for equality, dignity and fraternity of all the citizens. 26th January is celebrated every year with a great enthusiasm, pomp and show. The national flag is hoisted and saluted at the national capital and the capitals of all its states. All government buildings are decorated and illuminated with lights. The largest function is held at Red Fort in New Delhi, where the head of the Indian state and the first citizen of India, the President of the Indian Union, also the supreme commander of armed forces, salutes the national flag and inspects the parade. This day is also celebrated at district and tehsil headquarters. On this day military, scientific, technological, social, economic and other strengths are demonstrated. School children and cadets of NCC and NSS take part in parades and other socio-cultural activities. National awards and certificates of merit are distributed among those who have achieved excellence in various fields.
But unfortunately for the past few years we have been celebrating this national festival amidst threats. It is a people’s festival and has a unique significance for all of us but people’s involvement and participation in this festival has got a great setback due to fear psychosis created by fundamentalist and separatist forces. It is a sad commentary indeed that people are indifferent and reluctant to take active part in the celebrations of this national festival of far reaching importance. It is not because they lack the spirit of nationalism and patriotism but because patriotic and nationalist forces are intimidated and an environment of fear and terror has been created by our enemies. This is a very grim development against the nation and we must resolve to stand up and uphold our sovereignty, integrity and unity at all costs. We should not be cowed down by the threats of militants and separatists but should work with redoubled strength, vigor and vigil to uphold the independence of the Indian republic. Celebrating 26th January and 15th August is not a formality for the government in power. These national festivals need to be celebrated in their true spirit and just a symbolic celebration has no meaning.
We have made great strides in agriculture, scientific and industrial development. Green revolution has transformed our agricultural economy and made us a food exporting nation. White revolution in the form of milk production is in fact a great feat of Indian agriculture technocrats and scientists. In industrial progress we are not behind other developing nations. Ours is among the best, most efficient and highest quality manpower in the world. In the field of military and space sciences we are counted among the top few nations of the world. In electronics, information and software technology India is gaining ground and even the USA, Italy, Germany, France and others developed countries acknowledge our strengths. In space technology too the nation has achieved a lot.
In spite of all this development, we have not been able to bridge the gap between the few haves and numerous have-nots. Even with the five year plans and garibi hatao slogans, the number of poor is increasing. Population problem and the unemployment monster are staring us in the face and consuming all our progress. We have not been able to provide compulsory primary education to all the children below 14 years of age. Clean drinking water, health services, hygiene, roads and electricity for all is still a dream for so many of us. Besides these issues, we have the threats of separatism, fundamentalism, regionalism, communalism, casteism, factionalism, religious terrorism, parochialism and such. Criminalization of politics, use of muscle/gun power in elections, nexus between Mafia and Bollywood are sad developments. While we have excelled in the growing industries and corporation, we have to improve ethics and governance. The Satyam episode is the worst breach of investor’s trust in India’s history. Window dressing of Balance Sheets and keeping fictitious accounts is a common rule than an exception.
Let us resolve to wipe out these vices from our country. Let us work in such a manner that India and we all as the citizens of the Republic of India achieve greater glories. Jai Hind.