January 26, 2006

Standing patriotism

Republic Day flag-hoisting at the nearby park, early this morning. The announcer calls all in the park to come be part of the ceremony. As people assemble, we notice that the woman standing beside us is humming, under her breath, "Old MacDonald Had a Farm." She sits down on a chair, still humming it.

Just before the announcer calls the chief guest to unfurl the flag, a tall paunchy man in a baseball cap behind us calls out to a few people who are still walking: "Hey Pakistani! Stop walking! Don't be a Pakistani!"

Over on the other side of the park, plenty of other people are still walking. Pakistanis, all.

The chief guest unfurls the flag, there's applause, and the national anthem, sung unaccountably like a dirge, breaks out over the PA system.

Through the first half of the anthem, a man standing next to the chief guest motions again and again a boy in the front row. The boy has his arms in front of him, wrists crossed at the waist (like I'm standing, I notice), and this man wants him to stand at attention with arms to the side. That's how you pay respect during the anthem, I suppose. The boy can't understand what the man wants, so the man's gesturing and motioning gets more and more animated. Till, about halfway through the anthem, he finally gives up.

Don't know if the man is aware of just how he himself looked during the anthem.

Ceremony done, we disperse to celebrate the rest of the day India gave herself a Constitution. As we stroll out, the boy's arms are finally at his side. So are mine.


Anonymous said...


Pradeep Nair said...

Makes one think of patriotism -- what's token; what's real.

Anonymous said...

excellent post!

Anonymous said...

Its too bad flag burning is a crime in India because the state of today's politics certainly urges us to burn the flag to show whats happened to original ideals on which the country is based. I am always surprised that the flag gets more respect than the principles it stands for!

Anonymous said...

Why burn the flag? Instead you would do a favor if you burnt the people who have brou.ht the country's politics to such a state. If the flag stood for certain principles on which our independent country was to stand, do you burn the principles or do you blame the people who have brought it to such a state. What then makes you different from separatists, terrorists who burn the Indian flag?

Anonymous said...

Nikhil, On a day when we wish to honor the soldiers who gave up their lives for that very flag, there's no dearth of our own ingrates who would like to spit and piss on that flag at the first opportunity - just to prove their 100000% secular and fit in with 'hip' crowd.
Ironic isn't it that these people have an audacity to comment on patriotism?

Anonymous said...


NEW DELHI : The Republic Day parade of 2006 was conspicuous by the absence of any investiture ceremony. The President, during the Republic Day parade, honour the soldiers of the country with gallantry awards like Ashok Chakra, Keerti Chakra and Showrya Chakra. The announcer used to read out a citation extolling the great works done by the winners of these medals. Most of the times, the awards used to be posthumous since the infiltrators and terrorists would have finished off our brave jawans by ambushes and claymore mines. It goes without saying that the terrorists are all funded by the ISI and the Pakistan Army.

There were no gallantry awards announcements during the 2006 Republic Day parade. There is no need to probe further since the reason lied in the presence of this year’s Guest of Honour. King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia was the royal guest of honour for this year’s Republic Day parade. Since he happens to be the protector and preserver of Muslims all over the world, the Indian authorities thought it fit not to honour the Indian soldiers who has to fight only the Pakistanis, blood relations of the Saudi King. How can the “infidels” be honoured in the presence of the monarch who is the protector of the Holy Shrines of Mecca and Medina. Since the United Progressive (or is it Profiteers) Alliance government does not have self respect of any kind, they might have skipped the announcement of the awards.

Since secularism happens to be a one-way traffic (this was what Pinarayi Vijayan, the great secularist of Kerala declared the other day), the skipping of the investiture ceremony will be ignored by all the media in the country. The stance of the government too is to substantiate the one-way traffic theory of secularism. While all other sovereign nations depute persons belonging to all religions as Ambassadors to Saudi Arabia, the one and only secular nation (read India) appoints only Muslims as Ambassadors to Saudi Arabia. One need not explain much about the impotency of the rulers of our country. All we can say is “Cry Beloved Country, Cry..”

Anonymous said...

On the topic of patriotism....is this the right US administration to began bettering Indo-US ties with?

I don't think so. I don't think we should have anything to do with the current US admin...they cannot be trusted, they are inhuman...they don't care. I am not a politician, or an activist, I am just a concerned Indian.

"The World Don't Need Another Hitler.....Down With Bush......................out of the basement and on to the roads.......why do these bastards get away with everything??"

I'm an Indian...And I don't want that murdering, lying rich-man's bastard telling my Govt what to do.

Join me when he comes down here.

Michael Bains said...

Ain't it grand to be cursed to live in interesting times.... {sigh}

Nicely related Dilip.