67th Republic Day of India

By: Kishore Dere

On 26th January 2016, India celebrated 67th Republic Day. In fact it was 66th anniversary of the First Republic Day that was celebrated on 26th January 1950. It is time not only for jubilation and celebration but introspection and correction as well. As far as novelty in celebration is concerned, this year there was a French Contingent in the Republic Day Parade. This was in consonance with the fact that the President of France, Francois Hollande was the Chief Gust. Another noteworthy attraction, as far as the parade was concerned, was that a contingent of dogs too participated in the parade. Those were of course highly trained ones along with their masters. Besides this, there was usual pomp and show. There was on display a large number of arms (and ammunition!). One really does not know what is the need to brag about having weapons (especially when there is almost national aversion to even think of using them for self-defence too!).

Despite all this show of strength, the fact remains that India is always vulnerable to terrorist attacks even at the slightest drop of a hat. Pathankot attack, hopefully has not yet vanished from the memories of dyed-in-wool liberals and ardent champions of unilateral  peace and tranquility. Thus, what are we going to do about this menace from within and without? It is time we not only debated and shouted form out rooftops but also took some meaningful and respectful action to prevent recurrence of such ominous events. Can it ever happen? Or is it hoping against hope? Would it be an act of intolerance if one were to protest against such acts of perfidy?

Moreover, this Republic Day anniversary joy was also marred by     suicide of one of our brightest science research scholars from the prestigious University of Hyderabad. Late Rohith Vemula had a big dream and an ambition of becoming a leading science writer like that of Carl Sagan. As Honourable Prime Minister, Narendra Modi rightly said, whatever might be the reason and politics  behind this  unfortunate incident, each one of us feels the pain of his noble parents. Let us pray the almighty God that his soul rests in peace.

Would this sad episode prompt us to forget the evil of caste and banish the monster of casteism from our minds lock, stock and barrel? Can our academic institutions be more sensitive in dealing with such thorny issues? Likewise can our bright young scholars also be expected to focus mainly on studies? Dr. B.R. Ambedkar who had faced even worse kind of discrimination far more valiantly had never given up. His motto was “educate, organise and agitate”. We in fact are doing the reverse of what he had said. Contemporary student leaders seem to begin and end with agitation only. Suicide is not at all an answer to any problem anywhere, anytime.

Let us hope that all of us learn our respective lessons from such sad events.

 

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