I woke quite early today. Yes, we often take it as a holiday. But today was different. When Sun was still deep inside the cozy blanket of clouds, we were rushing towards Rajpath. The impending rain didn’t kill the excitement as more and more people could be seen when we got closer to the parking area. Patriotic songs filled the air with the warmth of love for the country. Finding our way past through the high security checks we made it to the seating area.
The programme commenced around 10am with Prime Minister Narendra Modi arriving at Amar Jawan Jyoti, a memorial to unknown soldiers at the India Gate, a solemn reminder of the sacrifice of the martyrs who died for the country. Later Our Hon’ble President Shri Pranab Mukherjee, Prime Minister and our Chief Guest for this Republic day, U.S. President Barack Obama graced the main Rajpath dais. The excitement to see them was visible among the spectators who have assembled there since early morning. The National Flag was unfurled and was followed by National Anthem being played in the background with the 21-Gun Salute. Various Awards like Ashok Chakra, Param Vir Chakra were given away by the president and The Republic Day parade followed thereafter.
Various regiments of the Armed Forces started their march past. Perfectly disciplined and exceptionally synchronized, is how that can be defined. This was the first time that Women Officers’ Contingent participated in the parade. It was a proud moment to see the women of our country breaking shackles of the society and reaching out to serve the Nation. After the showcase of Country’s Defense Capability, it was time for Cultural and Social Heritage Display. Various Tableaux of different states followed one after the other and awed the viewers. Their creativity was beyond remarkable which can’t be put into words. See them for yourself.
The parade traditionally ended with dare devil motor cycle riding by motocycle units of the Armed Forces and a flypast by the Indian Air Force jets and helicopters carrying the national flag and the flags of the three services. It was a spectacular sight indeed. Although the vision was impaired due to the mist but it still felt great.
This was my first experience of attending the Republic Day Parade. Having seen it on Television since childhood, today was the day I could see it with my very own eyes, LIVE!! It was simply awesome. I have written many essays on the topic of “Unity in Diversity” citing example of our very own country but I witnessed it LIVE today at Rajpath. Feeling of sitting there and watching various regiments march past, reminded me of those long forgotten school days when we used to practice for such occasions. (Yah, memories come back anytime, they don’t see place and time 😛 ) The only feeling that can define everything is- Feeling of Pride, Pride of being an Indian. I wonder how easily we turn hostile to our own country on simplest of provocations, forgetting completely all its achievements and glory. Sad. But no matter how forgotten everything is, a bit of India lives in each of us, Isn’t it? Let’s make it good then? Just lending a little help will do, but make sure you do your part. But to those who hate this country they are born in, I say- India doesn’t need you, you need India. There’s no other country which can offer you so much at once. Respect what you have got!
Vande Matram!!! Jai Hind!!!
Happy 66th Republic Day!!
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