As I watched the Republic Parade on 26th January, seated comfortably in my living room sofa, my heart swelled with pride. I stared with awe at the brave hearts of all ages – young and old –walking with sure and measured steps on the hallowed tarmac of “Rajpath”. What a sight to behold, it was!. The emotions of the audience as the PVC awardees, veterans and children who have been honoured for bravery, marched past will be etched in my mind for a long time to come.
While the whole parade was noteworthy of repeated mention in any conversation, there was one particularly moving event. That was when the brave-heart’s (Mr. Prasad) father from Andhra Pradesh received the posthumous award given to his son who died fighting the Maoists. His supreme act of bravery in the face of extreme adversity and his commitment to save his men at all costs, even at the cost of his own life is one more chapter in the great country’s history. I could not hold back my tears as I watched his mother shed a tear and she and her husband maintained their composure despite the wave of emotions that must have been flooding their hearts at that moment. What a noble couple! Here are two Indians, who despite loss of their young son, maintained their calm and embellished the event with dignity and courage and won the hearts of millions of Indians.
Let us compare this with what is happening in the streets. Complete disdain for the others and overwhelming urge to get things done at all costs for oneself is the ground reality. While the brave men and women (a small miniscule is represented at the parade) endure innumerable hardships at the borders to ensure our safety, India’s citizens on firmer and safer ground bicker, fight over spoils. Can we all learn to be little more patient, understanding of the needs of our fellow citizens, especially the challenged so that they do not feel that they have no chance to lead a normal life. Can we set some minimum standards of public behaviourand adhere to it. The Prime Minister of Japan, Chief Guest at the Republic Day parade, must have been impressed by the diversity of India and sheer grandeur of the event. Can we ensure that every foreign tourist who comes to India is allowed to travel freely without fear,to any corner of India and revel in our culture and savour our heritage.
If we cannot take immediate steps to ensure the above, which in a civilised society are anyway taken for granted, are we being fair to those brave men and women who put their lives in danger and their family happiness in peril by battling the hostile environs and the enemy at our borders. There can be no greater injustice to these venerable men and women if we do not. Let us pray that saner counsel prevails.
Faculty Member – Finance