Is I-Day a national fest? Nothing official about it

The nation will celebrate its 66th Independence Day on August 15. But is it a national festival just as we have read in books and been told by our teachers at schools?

There is no formal order declaring Independence Day, Republic Day and Gandhi Jayanti  as national festivals, reveals a reply by the union government under the Right to Information (RTI).

The revelation was made by the government in reply to a query by a class 7 student Aishwarya Parashar, who had sought certified copies of the government orders declaring the three days as national festivals.

The query sent to the Prime Minister’s Office was referred to the home ministry. The response in May this year informed the girl that there were no such orders.

“I just could not believe the reply and preferred an appeal thinking that there must have been some mistake,” Parashar said. But the appellate authority confirmed it.

She was told there were some files pertaining to declare three days as national holidays.

“However, notification declaring these days as public holidays requires extensive search among the published material in the custody of the National Archives of India.

The applicant may visit the National Archives for a detailed search and cull out relevant information,” said Jayaprabha Ravindran, assistant director of archives.

A shocked Aishwarya has now sent letters to President Pranab Mukherjee and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh urging them to immediately declare these days as national festivals.

An earlier RTI query by Aishwarya had revealed that India has no national game, contrary to the popular perception that hockey was our national game.

She had also requested information on India’s national bird, national anthem, national symbol, national flower and national animal.

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