Following is from my latest article in MarketExpress -
Further published @ http://alumni.iitm.ac.in/chennai36/happy-republic-day-reflect-before-celebration/
Coming Sunday, 26th Jan 2014, we would be celebrating Republic Day in independent India, as 64 years ago, in 1950, on Jan 26th, the constitution of India came into force.
Why do we celebrate such days or festivals? Is the celebration of Republic Day or Independence Day is more then just the flag hosting, national anthem, a few cultural events, wearing a tri-colored dress/band etc, and sweets?
Is the celebration, just to remember the event? Or to be reminded of the concept behind? What is the meaning of Republic? and What is the concept that it carries?
As per wikipedia, a republic is a form of government in which power is held by the people and the representatives they elect, and affairs of state are a "public matter", rather than privately accommodated.
So it means that somewhere we rule, or contribute to create the power, in free India.
Now, lets just go back in 1947, Aug 15th - we see that we got freedom - but we had to fight for it - for years. It brought the joy, the hope with it, but with pain and sacrifices.
Now, as we became free we could live a free life - but how? The biggest questions were - how do we do things? what things? in what manner? what is right? and so on...
There comes the need for a constitution - that answers all these questions. The next question is who cam make it? In simple words, the answer is - not one person - as that would be like going back to be ruled by one individual. So there was a committee containing people from various walks of lives, to think deeply, research, discuss and debate to come up with a set of rules/rituals to be carried forward to live progressively, peacefully and happily.
At that time, as per Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru: "The first task of this Assembly is to free India through a new constitution, to feed the starving people, and to cloth the naked masses, and to give every Indian the fullest opportunity to develop himself according to his capacity."
Deep analysis takes time - the constitution was passed on Nov 26th, 1949, and adopted on Jan 26th, 1950 - click here for details. Further, the committee also kept a provision to modify, add things in the constitution as per changing times.
Most of the history we would have studied in school, now lets just also take a few min to reflect on it - on the concept. For that, I would put an individual in the same situation of getting the freedom or of being independent.
Now, if we live by the same old ways - which we typically don't do - 'freedom' or 'no freedom' doesn't make a difference.
It makes a difference if we explore a few new ways, and define our own constitution to live right, with the new ways that we are getting exposed to.
Since change is the only constant - it also requires frequent self-corrections in individuals, their ways, and their individual constitutions.
So, every year, 26th Jan, expects an individual to self-answer -
- Do you know how to live free?
- Do you have most up-to-date and thoughtful constitution about your own life?
If no, please pause and define one. And if yes, come celebrate.
I celebrate Republic Day with above thoughts in the back of my mind.