Republic Day 2019 – A Special One

Republic Day is always a significant day in Indian history. It is a day to remember when the Indian constitution came into action, marking India as an independent republic. Patriotism is on a high, flags are sold along the streets, the radio and TV channels are playing Vande Mataram and recanting stories of freedom fighters who made the dream of a secular country come to reality. But 26th January, 2019 is a day to watch out for, due to other reasons as well. Let’s talk about the well known Republic Day parade.
A delightful first for this Republic Day is that it will be a dazzling display of woman power. Until now, it has been tradition for a male bastion to set forth the march for the parade. However, this year’s parade will be the first of its kind where we will see an all-women contingent march, led by Major Khushboo Kanwar, a part of the Assam Rifles, also known as India’s oldest paramilitary force.
Another contingent, comprising the Army Service Corps (ASC), consisting of 144 men, will be led by Lieutenant Bhavana Kasturi. Also, Captain Shikha Surabhi will perform a stunt on a motorbike with 33 men following in a pyramid formation.
As women are taking their deserved place in the entire world since the past few years, it is only fitting that India takes a step forward on its Republic Day. Women have been held back from their dreams and aspirations for a long time in reserves sections of society, and we can hope that these army officers will be symbolic that this notion needs to change.
Another reason why this Republic Day will be a crucial one is the Chief Guest for the event, South African President Cyril Ramaphosa. He is to hold talks with our Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Instead of talking about understandings, it is rumoured that they will talk about one crucial, catch-all document. It will involve agreements on many areas; defence, security, political relations, trade and investment, IT and agriculture, to name a few. Strengthening relations with South Africa will prove beneficial to a developing country such as ours.
Taking big steps towards women empowerment and improving foreign relations at the same time; this Republic Day seems like a big one for India. We, as citizens can take initiative by vying for a country, that one day, will be free from the shackles of redundant practices, a thinking ground for creative ideas, and a nation which sets an example for all other developing countries in the world. Can we make it one day? We surely can. Jai Hind!

-Himanshu Ashar