Is the Republic Day parade still relevant?

January 26, 2010

A tableau from the Central Public Works Department (CPWD) with a theme of global warming is displayed amid heavy fog during the Republic Day parade in New Delhi January 26, 2010. REUTERS/B MathurIndia’s cultural diversity was once again on display in the main streets of Lutyens’ Delhi as the country proclaimed itself a Republic for the 61st time.

Men, women and children in uniform and vivid attire marched along with their tableaux as the armed forces turned out in full battle regalia.

All this, when a significant number of people revelled in watching Dhoni’s batting prowess in the cricket test match between India and Bangladesh.

And others, having collected bottles of liquor before the dry day, chose to sleep a while longer — keeping the sanctity of a national public holiday intact.

So while the martyrs and gallant officers received their bravery medals, their fellow countrymen celebrated with drinks.

Do we really need the Republic Day parade to flex our military muscle?

Even if it inspires Indians, the enhanced security checks and the dense fog kept many away this time – even those who would have otherwise braved the cold to witness the parade.

Is it that the event has become too familiar and monotonous?

The pomp and the gaiety of the parade was also dimmed as even the trails of coloured smoke left behind by air force jets disappeared in the fog.

Have security considerations robbed the Republic Day parade of its charm? Or has the event itself become insipid and a waste of money and resources?

Will an overhaul help?

19 comments

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Dear Author,
We have seen many controversies created by individuals and media. Raising this type of questions can be simply called as “REDICULOUS” Why we want Food, Why we want Festivals, Why we want many newspapers, many television channels, many people, many countries and many many things around us. Why we want Reuters. Is BBC/CNN is not enough? Please before creating such controversies think twice it is at least benefitting one or two persons. Don’t create controversies for controversies. To understand India we need to know what is India and its culture. At least one day must be celebrated (once in an year) to make understand people of broiler chicken type, who live in India and abroad, to understand what is India. Even if we spend something; that all nothing for India and Indians. Let us celebrate one day at least. Come on cheer up… Do something good for the nation and do for the people whatever is possible otherwise keep quite at least…

Posted by VibhuDubai | Report as abusive

Well, the parade is still relevant but yes, it is becoming a bit monotonous. The same old cultural performances, the same tableaux. They should have some new things on the menu — this might get them more eyeballs and save the Republic Day from becoming just an extended weekend.

On a related note, can anyone get a Padma award these days? Tainted hotelier Chatwal gets one while Olympian Sushil Kumar doesn’t.

Posted by ToeKnee | Report as abusive

Vibhu, I think Rohan has raised a very valid point. I don’t think he’s trying to whip up any controversy. when was the last time you either attended a Republic Day Parade or watched it on TV?

Posted by yadayadayada | Report as abusive

I see the Republic Day parade, not just as showcasing of military strength, but as an event which symbolizes the armed forces submit themselves before the Supreme commander( the president ), and reaffirm the people that they are there to protect the country. Of course you may ask whether such formalities are needed, but it depends upon how you perceive it. The day on which the world’s longest constitution framed and adopted, really needs to be given importance.

( Before @yada asks, i’ve been watching the parade for long long years, on TV )

Posted by rsrini | Report as abusive

Rohan: What a time waste of an article. If without your suggestion and due to security considertion Republic Day Parade was stopped, you would have written an article on “why should we give in to terrorists?”

yadayadayada:
@Vibhu, I think Rohan has raised a very valid point. I don’t think he’s trying to whip up any controversy. when was the last time you either attended a Republic Day Parade or watched it on TV?”

yadayadayada: Assuming Vibhu never watched, would that be a reason enough? People’s interest can be judged from the empty seats if there were at all and the attendance—forget dense fog and winter all that reason. Everyone has their own world and some still look forward to Republic Day. Selected school/college NCC cadets look forward to this and prepare for the event.

@The pomp and the gaiety of the parade was also dimmed as even the trails of coloured smoke left behind by air force jets disappeared in the fog.”
–And Rohan is trying to get mileage out of bad weather.

All in all quite a desperate attempt.

Posted by RajeevK | Report as abusive

Well, Rohan please review the comments and try to digest it.. or listen to people who don’t even ready to show their identity (real name at least – yadayadayada-) and for that they don’t even deserve an answer. Our love and patriotism is inborn and no need for a reminder or review. My point is only on the positive side of it..Nowadays we are experiencing this kind of many controversies/propogandas. Automatically we are also becoming part of it as a human being and Rohan can be proud of it but definitey not on the best interest of something.

Posted by VibhuDubai | Report as abusive

well one question with all of you that how much was the total cost that occured to carry out a peacefull REPUBLIC DAY PARADE??

Posted by shivauttam | Report as abusive

Very good job Vidhu and Rajeev…yes what a waste of an article and looking at the link on the home page I thought there would be some constructive criticism if any…but yeah its a waste…and I felt the need to communicate to Rohan the wastefulness of his article and how he is wasting my time…I reside in the US but always take pride in being an Indian and YES I always look forward to the Republic day and the Independence day…the article sure is not to raise any controversy….but like Rajeev said there are many who prepare to take part, watch and like the event…so Rohan, you better not play with those emotions…and the way public these days are behaving…expect some stone pelting and destruction at your place…

And yes, for somebody to ask if anyone watches the Republic Day or Independence Day parade; he/she does not deserve to reside in India…I watched the highlights y’day and it wasn’t anything like what Mr. rohan has put it…its not a military display but a display of the colors of India, the numbering of states that form the Indian state, and finally a cause to raise and preserve the same unity that has been there for ages. If anyone does not feel the need to, then jump into a tea spoon of water!!!…all in all a waste of time but time taken to open up some stupidly closed eyes…wake up.

Posted by phaniksl | Report as abusive

@ Vibhu Discussing and debating got nothing to do with Patriotism. I’m not happy with the way they spend so much of money for such a parade, A presidents or prime minister’s address to the nation would be enough.
We have many serious issues to address like dynastic politics,corruption,complacency at work and a hell lot. Leaving all that aside those are just happy boasting ourselves with whatever we achieved so far. what the heck they changed? did they really ?? you need not parade it like a stripper !!

Posted by NaveenReddy | Report as abusive

The Republic day parade is essentially to showcase and remmber our forces and to an extent our history and culture.

If the argument against it, as someone pointed out, is our lack of progress and poverty etc. then the answer lies not in doing away with the parade but perhaps, by the same logic, questioning whether we need parliament or government? Poverty, corruption etc are not because of the parade but bad governance. The total cost of the parade is not a fraction of the black money, and lost to the nation by way of revenue to the country.

To spend a day annually to remember the forces and our country is not a tax on the community. To take pride in the nation, even for a few hours, is not a waste of money. Anyways you don’t need to watch it to prove you are macho. Respect the sentiments of the millions who throng there and watch it on TV. You have a choice.

Posted by DaraIndia | Report as abusive

Everyone, It is why not? Questioning traditions and faking modernisms has become a fashion starting from Sashi Tharoor. These types of parades happen in most “advanced” countries. If we are not patient to accept it for one day, then…

Proof by Contradiction – Why Not. If Obama is given Nobel peace prize and Gandhi not – Scrap Nobel. If tainted hotelier got a padma award and not the olympian – scrap padma. If we can have a tainted President – scrap presidency. C’mon If you have any problms, you celebrate Republic day however you want but dont think of thrusting your twisted notion on others.

Atleast be content you get an extended weeknd wherein people do shopping and economy is stimulated

Posted by Ragub | Report as abusive

I feel the author has done a commendable job in raising a question about the relevance of Republic Day celebrations. When India became independent, celebrations like Republic Day were a way to convey to the ordinary citizens, in the aftermath of partition and the riots that followed, that the country has a bright future. Now after more than 60 years when millions of people still live in abject poverty and the country is beset with a whole lot of external and internal problems, even the most ill-informed can make out that the future of the country is in a peril if urgent corrective steps are not taken.

Hence I feel that these celebrations can be got rid off, saving the colossal amount of money and resources that go into organising these events. What is the use of celebrating the day on which India gave itself a constitution when the country as a whole has failed miserably in upholding the values enshrined in it, in letter and spirit.

Posted by Anuambrish | Report as abusive

Dear Author,

You have done a great job of collecting news from sources like Wikipedia. I appreciate your pain staking effort of collecting news from people who show their respect towards parents by giving them a place in a old age home.

Please never write a column without enough field work. Ask all the people what they do on January 26 at 8:00 am, you will get one answer- we watch the republic day parade. Don’t believe me.. I am sorry, then you better search wikipedia..

Posted by Mandhadi | Report as abusive

Anuambrish, I understand where you are coming from and agree with the rot that exists in our system.

Celebrating the Republic and Independence Days are in way reminders of what we could have been and what we are. It is also very much like celebrating a birthday and anniversary in the family. Doesn’t matter whether you have had a good or bad year, it is still an occasion to celebrate. That is how I see it.

Posted by DaraIndia | Report as abusive

Dear Rohan,
I just read that India’s ranking in press freedom is 128/166 (same ranking that of Pakistan!!!). Gosh! then how come you are able to write like this. Hope you are not endangering your life by doing this!!
——————————————————-
If these ‘new comers’ have the freedom to write any thing they feel like, here in India, what would be their counterparts doing in Finland, which is ranked 1st?

Well written Vibhu!
I am wondering why I surf reuters, which always dwelve in negative journalism.

‘India- A Billion Aspiration’ : Either you change the heading, or write articles that suits it. – to all reuterreans.

Posted by jojoe | Report as abusive

Dear Rohan,

Our Republic day parade is not just the show of our Military might but a show of our diverse cultural heritage. Moreover events like these definitely inspire young minds, perhaps even we grew up inspired by these events.

Posted by Gopinath | Report as abusive

Saying that the article is calling for a controversy wouldnt’t be fair. And its certainly not ‘negative journalism’ as I see it. Its something that asks for an opinion on whether or not the Indian Republic Day has lost its significance, and I’d agree to the fact that things don’t look great on that aspect. I’m not sure where the so-called patriotism comes in and what exactly does it have to do with how anybody feels about the nation’s petty politics. Not addressing what it originally intended to address only makes it ever so clear that people would rather twist the tale and not give out their personal opinions for judgement’s sake, or maybe because they don’t have any. Eitherway, the point in this case is to not awkwardly opinionate and see Republic Day (or Independence Day, or any national day of importance for that matter) for what it truly is and what it means to celebrate – unity.
So would you want to believe that there are millions of other Indians who would do you a favor and attend a parade so as to not elaborate your absence at the same, OR just make way for the bit of ‘patriotism’ lurking in you? The answer (and the opinion), in the end, is your own.

Posted by aryaanuranjita | Report as abusive

There is no doubt that national holidays in India have been reduced to status of extended vacations
when people choose to completely ignore the occasion. And instead, brace themselves for
raising toasts and public drinking binge. Many even go rampaging on streets.
So much that all national public holidays now wear a similar appearance
– shut dead shops, occasional peaceful families amid a huge number of miscreants littering empty
bottles and cans.

Posted by sultan-arora | Report as abusive

Actually, I second the opinion mentioned in the above comment. No matter whether its Holi, 2nd october, 15th August or 26th January, most of the people are joyfully content with celebrating the public holidays making merry, organising terrace parties or wandering about streets blaring loud music. Even RWA gatherings, which earlier used to focus on flag hoisting ceremonies and cultural extravaganza or such similar competitions have given way to elaborate club dinners.

Posted by SuhasiniMalik | Report as abusive