Press Esc to close
Sunday 25 September 2016
News updated at 9:13 PM IST
Weather
Max: 25.8°C
Min : 19.6°C
In Bengaluru
Generally cloudy

A ceremonial boulevard?

Manjulaa, Jan 22, 2013, DHNS:

Historic street

My earliest childhood memories of Rajpath include a trip to the Republic Day Parade, tightly holding onto my 6” 1’ tall father’s little finger, my height barely making it to his knees! Even as I trotted and skipped along happily - an eager, unassuming child of 5-6, who could barely manage to keep pace with his long strides, dad suddenly scooped me up and placed me on his shoulders to accord me a wonderful view of the Parade smartly marching past as he gave a running commentary all of his own.

Even though he tried to impress upon me the importance of the Republic Day and pointed out the might of the Indian Armed Forces and asked me to salute when the National anthem played – my ultimate joy lay in watching the Presidential carriage move forward majestically; the school children who performed in the biting cold; watch in wide-eyed wonder the tableaux trundling past and finally craning my neck as the fly-past took place. As the fighter planes of the Indian Air Force seemed to take off from behind Rashtrapati Bhavan, zoom past the Presidential dais and complete their impeccable routine overhead and disappear over India Gate, it was a magnificent site to behold.

Back those days, security as you and I understand it today, never existed. The trademark barricades were meant more to streamline the crowds than to keep them away from action. The joy of being part of the world’s largest democracy and a young, nascent republic was still alive and patriotism a big deal. Republic Day was a cherished and looked forward to tradition.

Almost three decades to the day, Rajpath has a sinister air about it now. It was recently witness to a stifling of mass spontaneous protest – which erupted in the wake of one of India’s most horrific gang rape cases. Rajpath or King’s Way, the royal central avenue of Delhi, envisioned and executed by Britain’s greatest architect Sir Edwin Lutyens and his assistant Herbert Baker provides a grand scenic view from the Raisina Hill all the way to India Gate and up to National Stadium, which was incidentally built to block the view of Purana Qila! Flanked by the Secretariat buildings – the North and the South Block respectively, it offers to this nation of one billion an air of serenity and calm - overtly.

And its beauty was marred when an insecure government, instead of facing the truth about a deteriorating law and order situation, chose to exercise its might through water cannons and tear gas shells on young protesters. As Vijay Chowk, the site for the historic Beating the Retreat every 29th of January, reverberated with the sounds of gun shots in the air, I was reminded of how things have deteriorated. As the 64th Republic Day draws a pace, one can only hope as dancers dance down Rajpath joyously, the military showcases its might, the states proclaimed of our country’s rich diversity and the school children innocently adhere to idealism as they perform their feats – that our lawmakers would remember that stifling free voice in a democracy is not the way forward.


Go to Top

Photo Gallery
Cyclists take part Cyclothon 2016 held on world car free day in Gurgaon...

Cyclists take part Cyclothon 2016 held on world car free day in Gurgaon...

Artists practice Garba in Ahmedabad...

Artists practice Garba in Ahmedabad...

School students at 'Mother Walk' rally to commemorate the canonization of Mother Teresa in Kolkata

School students at 'Mother Walk' rally to commemorate the canonization of Mother Teresa in Kolkata

Maratha community members hold a protest rally demanding justice for Kopardi rape victim...

Maratha community members hold a protest rally demanding justice for Kopardi rape victim...

An aerial view of the flood hit Edupalaya village in Medak district of Telangana...

An aerial view of the flood hit Edupalaya village in Medak district of Telangana...

Indian and U.S. army soldiers take part in an Indo-US army joint combat exercise in Ranikhet...

Indian and U.S. army soldiers take part in an Indo-US army joint combat exercise in Ranikhet...

St Patrick Church celebrating 175th anniversary in Museum Road, Bengaluru...

St Patrick Church celebrating 175th anniversary in Museum Road, Bengaluru...

Army personnel arrive to help flood affected people in Hyderabad...

Army personnel arrive to help flood affected people in Hyderabad...

Prime Minister Narendra Modi with BJP President Amit Shah wave to the crowd at public rally...

Prime Minister Narendra Modi with BJP President Amit Shah wave to the crowd at public rally...

Thangavelu Mariyappan who won the gold in the Paralympics in Rio de Janeiro...

Thangavelu Mariyappan who won the gold in the Paralympics in Rio de Janeiro...

Copyright 2014, The Printers (Mysore) Private Ltd., 75, M.G Road, Post Box 5331, Bengaluru - 560001
Tel: +91 (80) 25880000 Fax No. +91 (80) 25880523