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A thought on the grand Republic Day parade as we celebrate ‘India @ 75’

Reshmy Krishnakumar Sunday, January 23, 2022
A thought on the grand Republic Day parade as we celebrate ‘India @ 75’

Last Sunday morning, and I woke up to the noise of kids in my neighborhood. Looking out of the window I could see the kids of my neighborhood busy discussing and planning something. I could also see some arguments going on. I called one of them and asked what the matter is. They were planning the upcoming republic day celebrations and the heated discussion was on the song to be selected for a dance.

It was soon after the Republic Day celebrations at the institution I worked in 2001, I left India to Kuwait. Since then, I never had a chance to attend Republic Day function in India. To compensate, I never missed a chance to visit our Embassy in Kuwait on this day. I felt the josh of patriotism in its full spirit with the true cross section of India in Kuwait around me. A proud day that underlined the joy of unity amidst diversity. Now, after almost two decades I am in India during another Republic Day celebrations.

“Only dance and patriotic song are there?”, I asked them.

Their answer surprised me. Since a flag hoisting function happens every year, they were planning the feasibility of having a parade also. Instead of different states they were planning it with the group formed from three apartments in that colony. But they were confused if there exist any protocol to be followed and asked for my suggestion. Even I was not sure about the protocols. My suggestion was to have a single tableau with all participants holding to the theme of 2022 Republic Day, India @ 75, and they happily agreed.

During school days I used to watch the parade at Delhi Rajpath on television. It was a feast for eyes to watch the displays, performances, and the fabulous tableaus by different states and departments. Only traditional and authentic folk dance, costumes, and musical instruments are allowed for the floats in parade. The variety of our culture presented in those floats has always left me in an awe. A pan India trip got into my bucket list in those days.

This year is very special as we celebrate the Republic Day during the period of yearlong celebration of Indian Independence, “Azadi ka Amruth Mahotsav”. The theme for the tableau is "India @ 75 - Freedom Struggle, Ideas @ 75, Actions @ 75, and Resolve @ 75”, honoring the 75th year of India's independence. As you read this article, we would be enjoying the spectacular parade with floats holding fast the theme even in its finest details.

The floats are selected for the parade after fine scrutiny by an expert committee under the guidance of Defence Ministry. The panel of experts includes eminent persons from various disciplines such as art, culture, painting, sculpture, music, architecture, choreography, etc. It’s a two-tier process where the concepts submitted undergoes strict study and suggestions are given for improvement. In the second stage the committee evaluates three-dimensional models, after which a final decision of approval is made. The selection depends on many factors, including visual attraction, message, concept, adherence to the theme, music used, and the detailing involved. The tableaus are mostly fabricated on a tractor or trailer provided by the ministry. It is highly recommended that there is some movement or animation on the tableau. Even the size of the tableau in length and breadth is to be satisfied as per the norms. It needs real effort to present such a model at the parade.

The criteria for acceptance for this year is interesting. Presence of a young, qualified designers from renowned institutions, who will strictly and continuously supervise, is expected which is surely an inspiration for the young minds. Inclusion of electronic display walls for bright display of images or content, the use of special effects to the maximum extent feasible to improve the optics/visual effects of the tableau, use of robotics for moving elements, suggestions for innovative use of LED lighting to showcase dark/shadowed area, use of technologies like augmented reality, usage of eco-friendly material etc. are all commendable and encouraging. In accordance with the theme, we can see that even the criteria stick to the progress story of India in various fields post-independence.

I was happy when our Prime Minister tweeted that Nethaji’s grand statue, made of granite, will be installed at India Gate when the entire nation is marking his 125th birth anniversary. Also, our nation decided to begin the Republic Day celebrations, now on for every year, from January 23rd to include the birth anniversary of great freedom fighter Subhash Chandra Bose. Nethaji was always an inspiration for us, kindling the spark of nationalism. For me including 23rd into the celebration was completely in line with the nation’s focus on celebrating and acknowledging legends and other aspects of our history and culture. India is truly indebted to Nethaji for its ‘Azadi’.

Thus, as we take each element of celebration this year, it’s overwhelming to note the emphasize given to the focus of Amruth Mahotsav program commemorating and recognizing the contributions and achievements attained by old and new generation in various field and presenting the glory of our history. Watching the parade would be a moment of pride for every Indian, especially for the expat community in Kuwait who live with India in heart, every moment.

Wishing all the readers all the very best wishes of Republic Day 2022.

Reshmy Krishnakumar is a freelance Statistician based in India. She was working with Kuwait Institute for Scientific Research (KISR) as Research Associate. Having done her post-graduation in Statistics, she worked as lecturer at St.Teresa’s College, Ernakulam, until her relocation to Kuwait to join at Statistics Department, Kuwait University, Khaldiya. As a freelance writer, she is contributing to various magazines, blogs, and websites. Her passion includes classical dance, writing poems in Malayalam and Hindi. While in Kuwait she was an active member of the Writers’ Forum Kuwait, Indian Women In Kuwait (IWIK) and Science International Forum (SIF) Kuwait.
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