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Monday, January 26, 2009

Miscellaneous thoughts on Republic

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Did you know that even after independence in 1947, India continued to recognize King George VI as the head of state until this day 59 years ago? Some say, in jest, of course, that it took India three years to adopt a constitution because many forms had to be filled — in triplicate! Indian Constitution, by the way, is the world’s largest constitution with 395 articles in 12 schedules. Unfortunately, or may be not, it’s also one of the most modified constitution with averaging 1.5 amendments per year. Turning into Republic in 1950 was act of political independence different from, and more important than, mere geographical independence. Therefore President of India presides over Republic Day celebration unlike Prime Minister who presides over Independence Day’s. At this point let me also highlight difference between Republic and Democracy, which I didn’t know until few days ago. While Republic is any nation not ruled by a monarch, Democracy also requires that government is elected by free electoral system by the people.

As India continues to age, such national days become more and more symbolic. However, if someone refers to Independence Day or Republic Day as holiday, I feel bad. In that sense I am that type of overt patriot who many people despise. I also play patriotic songs whenever I feel like without waiting for 26th January or 15th August. Thankfully for most, people like me are increasing minority in Indian landscape. These days are becoming more and more shallow and don’t arouse those feelings in people that they did soon after birth of India. I, however, loved these days in childhood and enjoy watching parade and programs even now on TV. If you watch, though, then you would see amazing juxtaposition of India’s wide ethnic diversity in one place along with amazing stunts by armed forces. India apparently has only surviving Camel Cavalry in the world. From this year onwards, elephants will not be used in Republic Day parade due to animal rights issue, and hence brave children who are awarded and paraded on elephants will travel on tanks.

It may appear customary self-patting, nevertheless, I will leave you today with some pleasant thoughts about India, that is Bharat. Happy Republic Day.

India was the motherland of our race, and Sanskrit the mother of Europe's languages: she was the mother of our philosophy; mother, through the Arabs, of much of our mathematics; mother, through the Buddha, of the ideals embodied in Christianity; mother, through the village community, of self-government and democracy. Mother India is in many ways the mother of us all.

India is, the cradle of the human race, the birthplace of human speech, the mother of history, the grandmother of legend, and the great grand mother of tradition. our most valuable and most instructive materials in the history of man are treasured up in India only.

So far as I am able to judge, nothing has been left undone, either by man or nature, to make India the most extraordinary country that the sun visits on his rounds. Nothing seems to have been forgotten, nothing overlooked.

If I were asked under what sky the human mind has most fully developed some of its choicest gifts, has most deeply pondered on the greatest problems of life, and has found solutions, I should point to India.

If there is one place on the face of earth where all the dreams of living men have found a home from the very earliest days when man began the dream of existence, it is India.

It is impossible not to be astonished by India. Nowhere on Earth does humanity present itself in such a dizzying, creative burst of cultures and religions, races and tongues. Enriched by successive waves of migration and marauders from distant lands, every one of them left an indelible imprint which was absorbed into the Indian way of life. Every aspect of the country presents itself on a massive, exaggerated scale, worthy in comparison only to the superlative mountains that
overshadow it. It is this variety which provides a breathtaking ensemble for experiences that is uniquely Indian. Perhaps the only thing more difficult than to be indifferent to India would be to describe or understand India completely. There are perhaps very few nations in the world with the enormous variety that India has to offer. Modern day India represents the largest democracy in the world with a seamless picture of unity in diversity unparalleled anywhere else.