Shashi Tharoor was in news recently when he opined that Gandhi Jayanthi need not be declared a national holiday, & instead suggested, following the example of Japan, we all should work more on that day in tribute to Gandhiji. (That around same time he asked media to shut up following allegations of his Five star hotel stay (Gandhian austerity eh?) while involved in Govt work claiming that he was spending money out of his pocket need not concern us :-))
I've just got an answer to his suggestion yesterday. I was casually asking my friends (all MBA graduates, mind you!) whether they know why India is called a Republic? Besides some casual references that its a national holiday, India effectively began to rule themselves, we parade our military might etc, none were able to quite answer my basic question. Why is India called Republic?
(again I was inspired to ask this question when a blogger claimed that he didn't receive satisfactory answers from his friends, I didn't believe him & experimented, to find him quite correct)
I ventured to ask them who is the supreme head of this Nation on whose name all Governmental work is carried out? Thankfully, this time I got luckier to receive an answer of President of India. Though President is not elected directly by people, he is indirectly elected by people's representatives. Hence, the supreme head of India is Representative of Public. England is democratic but not Republic because the supreme head of the nation is Queen on whose name all work is done. The Queen is not elected by people.
Anyway coming back to my answer on why Republic Day should be a holiday? A close friend answered that very nicely back in my Engineering. It was Feb 14th, and the campus atmosphere was quite........(you know what!!)
A professor presently came to our class with angry looks & assumed the role of Moral Science Prof much to our chagrin.
He contended that if you are in love you must be so all the year. No point in suddenly becoming so romantic for just one day around the year. If its all about proposal then any date is as much effective. If you're in love, you're so all the year, then why choose one specific date & make a fuss about it. Why celebrate love on one day instead of all the year. Ditto for Father's Day , Mother's Day etc. These are quite against Indian culture.
The class was silent for a moment. My friend rose asked whether celebrating Independence Day & Republic Day was in tune with Indian culture to which Prof replied in affirmative. He said that then extending the same logic celebrating Independence Day & Republic Day was quite unnecessary too. We are patriotic all the year. No need to be overtly patriotic on a single day. If its all about recalling what we have done all year, the same logic should apply for all other such days including Vday.
The professor couldn't come up with any counter-argument & left the topic. However my friend was intent on creating good impression on this prof & went to his room later on on this point. (well...in plain words he wanted to show off) He now argued that his previous argument was with one significant hole. While concerned with V-day, Fathers' Day, Mothers Day etc, we need not know about the unknown past to be able to understand the true context & relevance of their sacrifices & warmth of relationships. We know most of this by our factual direct experience.
Whereas coming to such National holidays, most of the younger generation can't know by factual & direct experience the true relevance of Indian struggle for freedom. Hence, it is the duty of the elder generation to pass on the tale of bravery, pain, misery, resoluteness & incomparable sacrifices of Freedom Fighters to the younger generation so that they realize the true worth of the achievement of their forefathers. And also that they strive to be worthy of such a heritage & legacy!!
Mr. Tharoor, such days ought to be holidays because we need some time & occasion to recall the sacrifices made by our Freedom Fighters. In the daily humdrum of office work, these concerns would be submerged by the work.
It is never useless to stop & wonder, ponder & introspect.
And it is also the duty of all the younger generation to be informed of all these. JAI HIND !!!