The fading grandeur of the parade

Republic Day
Last Updated 25 January 2012, 19:04 IST

Not long ago, when Doordarshan was probably the only channel on television, the Republic Day Parade held in New Delhi would be one of the main attractions on it.

An enlightening yet entertaining reflection of the country, the parade had a gazillion viewers. Families would gather around their television sets to watch the entire event starting early morning.
The silhouette of the majestic Rashtrapati Bhavan amidst the fog, the brave Indian pilots making dazzling formations in the air, the smoke in Indian tricolour billowing out of the planes, the representations of the various states of the country, the bike stunts performed by the soldiers to name a few, still remain fresh in everyone’s mind. 

Come 2012, and there are a billion channels on television. Each news channel shows its own cut-and-paste version of the parade. In these times of short attention span and changing interests, do people still watch the parade anymore? Metrolife finds out.

A software engineer by profession, Sriram recollects watching the parade on Doordarshan during his childhood. But now, he prefers to watch it on the news channels.

“There is no time to watch the entire parade live,” he says. A father of a ten-month-old baby, Sriram feels, “Kids are not able to connect to the reason behind the parade. They don’t understand that the parade is more to do with Indian heritage and current advancements in the military. But yes, I do see participation happening on a local level. So one cannot say people aren’t patriotic anymore.”

Even the current generation likes to catch the parade. Says Divya Mukhopadhyay, a first year BA student of M S Ramaiah Degree College, “I used to watch the city parade live in Kolkata. But this year, I will watch the national parade on TV as it’s very colourful and you get to witness the strength of the country along with the different states and cultures.”

 However, she reveals that her 13-year-old brother doesn’t like to watch the parade. “I think the interest is gradually dwindling. People are becoming more self-obsessed and the feeling of patriotism doesn’t exist anymore. They are more involved in technology and don’t have the time to think about the country.”

Reuben, a technical writer and a father of two, feels that the grown ups themselves are not interested. “Children always follow their parents. So if we ourselves don’t show much interest, how can we blame the children?” he asks.

“When we were in school, there were just one or two channels on TV. But today everything has grown. There is a sudden explosion of the media which cannot be controlled,” he adds. However, Reuben plans to catch the parade this time.

“Yes, we are hard pressed for time but the parade is such an excellent programme. And especially when the state of Karnataka is depicted, you get a sense of pride,” he says.

Kavitha Satyan, a homemaker, too enjoys watching the parade with her husband. However, she admits she is unable to make her children, who are 12 and eight years, watch the same.

“They don’t understand why the different weapons or states are being shown. My husband and I have tried to explain to them that they have to watch it but they are just not interested. They prefer playing digital games or being with their friends outside. It’s just another holiday for them,” she informs.

“However, my husband and I watch it without fail. This time also, we are planning to tune in. Let’s see if we are able to make the kids watch it,” she sums up.

(Published 25 January 2012, 13:13 IST)

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