Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Republic Mix

The hype and the hoopla behind the world’s most powerful man’s visit to India was laid to some rest when I switched from NDTV to the modest Lok Sabha channel to watch the 66th Republic Day parade. I must say that I was watching the visual treat after a quite large lapse of time. The trumpeting at Amar Jawan Jyoti and the PM’s salute to our martyrs was another spectacle I watched after years altogether. I have heard from my friends that a visit to Amar Jawan Jyoti infuses one with patriotism as  the names of shahids belittle your existence as a common man/woman. An overcast Rajpath started its proceedings sharp at 10 am. The Cadillac Beast  came roving with Indian and American flags fluttering in the cold . Michelle and Barrack Obama descended. Secret Services and the hundreds of snipers and security men had been preparing for this day. Michelle in her sobre black overcoat and red scarf helped Mr. Obama put on his overcoat. A minute later President of India arrived. Delhi was drizzling.Luckily PM Modi let go “Barrack” after a short handshake this time. Placed inside the bullet proof enclosure the dignitaries started to witness the proceedings of the 66th Republic Day.
     The Ashok Chakra was awarded to two soldiers posthumously who lost their lives to the enemy at the hands of Pakistani Militants. Their wives received the medals as the families shed tears amongst audience. Did you notice Mr. Obama how terrorists invaded you one time on Sept 11 while we Indians have to dwell in the scourge of terror perennially ? Next  started the parade of the various armed forces contingents. For the first time we had ladies strut in the regimental discipline. Woman empowerment certainly has been a key issue for the current government. Hell Yes! I uphold this display of women empowerment. It might have been a display ; but it still stood for something very deep. The message was very clear . For ages, especially since Mughal invasion patriarchy and man’s dominance has underplayed a woman’s contribution in sustaining a society. We are underestimate the role of woman as a caregiver. Her domestic contributions rarely go recognised by society. Her sacrifice becomes subservience. If you were to ask a simple question,that I have asked myself far too many times. Why? Why does an average  Indian not want a girl child? The reason is; The girl gets married after the parents invest in her upbringing and education. She is not able to render care to her parents in old age because of various reasons . Also there is no sense of pride and recognition that she brings to her family.  How do you solve it? Simple, give her opportunity to shine. Similarly researches reveal that sexual harassment too is more a play of power dynamics and less a lust drive. If the country needs to be purged of its ills ,and gruesome crimes against women need to be wiped off,the key is questioning the societal norms of power and providing example and setting up role models. The examples of woman’s success need to be resounded regularly to give others confidence and inspiration. Furthermore, grass root level changes in terms of fostering girl child education needs an impetus. No wonder we had Smriti Irani, Kiran Bedi  and even Michelle Obama cheering at the valiant ladies of the armed forces today.
    Apart from the state tableaux in which Amma’s state’s caught special attention ,all the others were iridescent. It was amusing to see the “Ayush Mantralaya’s” tableau with models performing yoga. The Railway’s tableau had Raily Minister Prabhu clapping hard in the audience . Prabhuji if only the trains run on time ! The “Make in India” geared tiger roared its way into Rajpath and the children sang and danced to the tune of “Mangalyaan”. As the armed forces staged formation of Armed vehicles Obama must be thinking “Damn it! They should have called Putin,with all these Russian Sukhois and Migs.”  As Obama sat next to Modi , I dare say he would have chuckled once or twice on observing Narendra Modi’s suit. “Man! Modi is a megalomaniac. Who wears a suit with his own name finely printed all over the suit?”
Nevertheless All is well that ends well. The show ended with the spectacular acrobatics show on motorcycles by BSF. The stunts were strictly “DO NOT TRY THIS ON YOUR OWN” . Thanks to the meticulous planning and effort of the team,at least something in India ran on time and the parade ended at 12 noon sharp.
 Obama left and the snipers stationed around the space heaved a momentary sigh of relief . I switched back to NDTV. I wanted some masala in the name of Republic Mix. To my displeasure NDTV heralded the end of common man creator, R K Laxman

Time now for a common woman,eh?

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