Why India can't get enough of Republic Day hysteria
Celebration brings people together. Asking questions divides people.
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Feeling proud and happy about Republic Day? Please. The only reason it has made everyone happy is it’s a Friday. An extended weekend is an absolute rarity. I remember as a school boy, I used to get overjoyed at the prospect of getting three holidays on a trot. That ecstasy has only grown manifold over the years. Nobody really bothers their heads with questions like "What does it mean to be a republic?" or "How is it different from being independent?"
And the most boring of the lot, "How have we fared as a republic in the last 70 years?" Because why should we care anyway? At best, we can put our Facebook display pictures having the tricolour in the background, paying our sincere tributes to our brave soldiers even if we've got nothing do with them for the rest of the year and, of course, the most important of them all — to say “You are a proud Indian” in bold.
And if you fail to do this, especially the last act of patriotism, be ready to face an equally Bollywoodised chiding of how you are some sort of a secret agent working for the crooked country to our left. Because you see that is exactly how you shame people and make them realise their folly. Being a sceptical Indian is not an option, definitely not on a pious day like Republic Day. But again, what does it mean to be a republic? That's not the point. Don't ask questions sir. Have some respect for our beloved nation.
But we needn't worry so much. Along with painting your facebook profile with the tricolour, just engage with another politically correct act of standing for the national anthem. Do not forget to upload it on your wall. Then you stand vindicated. You feel free. Unshackling the burdens of popular pressure is relieving. Deep down, the patriots will acknowledge this. But for now they have a public role to work for. It will be great if this national anthem is held somewhere out in the public.
Ganpati mandals in small, narrow lanes are also fine. They are good for spreading a wider image of religion and patriotism plays an impeccable role in strengthening our cultural identity. Some over-audacious mandals boost our pent-up feelings by blasting the Shankar Mahadevan score “Sabse aage hone Hindustani...” through the speakers.
This, after all, is essential as our middleclass souls are in dire need of some energy booster, especially when our cricket team is putting on a pathetic performance in South Africa. At least on Republic day, they want to avoid this humiliation. The intervention of rain gods might help. No other sport is of any use to our idea of a bombastic patriotic celebration. After all, cheering for Rohan Bopanna during his doubles matches at the Australian Open comes nowhere close to the drive of “conquering” South Africa.
Another thing that will conquer our imagination this Republic Day is the much anticipated film Padmaavat. Arnab Goswami, a proud patriot, simply cannot fathom why Rajputs are not joining in the celebration of their community's valour.
We are the most ancient civilisation of the world! But wait, where did that come from? Photo: PTI
Realising it as a missed opportunity, Goswami will have to shout a wee bit more to give justice to both their valour and silence the arm chair critics of our great nation. Because like Goswami, our suave patriots are least bothered about a film like Mukkabazz, for instance, which not only talks about our woeful sports administration but does it by highlighting elements of pervasive casteism in the world of sports.
What does this say about our republic? Of course, the grandiloquent sets and the splendid jewellery of Padmaavat is more important than seeing an underdog landing ferocious punches on an upper caste patriarch who holds him back from tasting professional success.
But Padmaavat wins the TRP battle as watching the Karni Sena’s hooliganism is turning out to be a cracker of a recipe for chaotic entertainment. In this backdrop, where law and order is in shambles, politicians have the more pressing obligation of dishing out patriotic homilies. These don't really seem to have changed over the years. That's a sign of us being a stupendously successful democracy and obviously not one where the bland eulogising of our greatness must be questioned.
Now please don't ask stupid questions like, “If we are unaware of what a Republic means, what does it mean to celebrate it?” That is the whole point you see. Celebration brings people together. Asking questions divides people. There are those left-leaning libtards who plainly ridicule the former by saying they are just a lazy bunch of sycophants who have no intention of taking pungaa with the establishment.
We are the most ancient civilisation of the world! But wait, where did that come from? Aren't we talking about Republic Day? It means the same you libtard! Stop spreading negativity around.
Let the party begin. Happy Weekend!