As a nation we talk about patriotism and nationalistic fervour but we do not hesitate to club Republic Day, Independence Day and even Election Day with weekdays and enjoy an extended weekend holiday. So, we cannot blame the kids for their ignorance about such matters when their only exposure tends to be badly-taught Civics subject in school and a detached viewing of the Republic Day Parade on TV.
Children have the delightful habit of asking questions most of which the adults find difficult to answer. Since it is Republic Day tomorrow we, at Mumbai Mom, have collated some interesting facts about the national festival which you can share with your children even if they are engrossed in their iPads (though some aspects can make delightful viewing on the iPad – check out the Original Calligraphed and Illuminated Version of the Constitution).
Here are the three important things about Republic Day:
The difference between Republic Day and Independence Day
The British had ruled over India for almost a hundred years (200 if you include the activities of the East India Company) before they finally handed over control to India on 15th August, 1947. Since this is the day we got freedom from the British, 15th August is celebrated as Independence Day.
The leaders of Independent India continued to follow the rules and legislations of the modified Colonial Government of India Act framed in 1935. But that was a temporary measure and before long, under the able stewardship of Babasaheb Ambedkar, a new set of fundamental principles, rules, and laws were formulated for Independent India. This framework was the ‘Constitution of India’ and it is a detailed document about every aspect that makes India a democracy. It tells what powers the representatives of public have and where their limits are. It also states the fundamental rights and duties the citizens enjoy irrespective of their caste, creed or gender. It was adopted on the 26th of January 1950, which is when India became an independent, self-ruled country, a republic. Hence, 26th January is celebrated as Republic Day.
Why was the Constitution adopted on 26th January?
We learn a beautiful lesson in visualisation and the power of belief when we realise why this date was chosen. It was on 26th January 1930, almost twenty years before the Constitution was adopted, that the Declaration of Indian Independence (Purna Swaraj) was announced by the Indian National Congress. This date was accepted as the symbol of independence even when the end of the struggle was not yet visible. It did make sense then to choose this date itself to adopt the Constitution of a free, independent India. We have to accept that the freedom fighters of yore really knew what they were doing.
Should we force our child to watch the Republic Day Parade on Television?
No, you should not. You should actually take your child to Rajpath for the actual experience. The grandeur of the event, the hoisting of the Tricolour, the Chief Guest taking the salute of the March Past, the floats displaying the cultural heritage and beauty as well as commercial strengths of all the states of India, the display of India’s military strength. Being a part of this spectacle in the company of fellow Indians will instill a sense of pride and belonging in your child.
But watching all this on television will distill the effects greatly.
#Attend a flag hoisting ceremony in your locality or if there is none, conduct one in your society premises.
#Help conduct skits on the freedom struggle.
#Talk to the children about the rights and responsibilities the Constitution confers on its citizens using everyday examples.
#Create a camaraderie between the people and instil in the children pride in the beautiful diversity of our country, seen in its populace and geography.
#Encourage and promote the concept of unity in diversity.
#Taking initiative in this matter will encourage the same spirit in your child and help her to grow up into a pro-active citizen instead of a couch potato.
Mature and discerning involvement of the citizenry in the affairs of the nation can only benefit the country.
But do watch on television, with your child, the felicitation of the Child Awardees of the National Bravery Awards (unless of course your child is one of the awardees, in which case, kudos, you’ve got a good ‘un there).
So, are there any questions your child asked you about Republic Day and you had no answers? Do share them with us.