India Insight

Is the Republic Day parade still relevant?

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.

Amid chaos, Nepal’s king bows out gracefully

In the end, it was hard not to feel a little bit sorry for Nepal’s deposed King Gyanendra.

Reuters’ Simon Denyer (L) watches as Nepal’s deposed King Gyanendra (R) addresses the media at the Narayanhiti royal palace in Kathmandu June 11, 2008. Denyer is India bureau chief for Reuters, with responsibility also for Nepal and Bhutan.He had seemed an impossibly distant, arrogant figure in the past, but on Wednesday, addressing the press before leaving the palace, in his first and possibly final news conference, he kept his dignity and showed a previously unseen human side.

So it was a pity his swansong — and that of a once-cherished 239-year-old monarchy — was surrounded by chaos, with more than 200 journalists jostling for a view in the palace’s small main hall, constantly pushing and shoving each other.

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