There really has never been an India which hasn’t faced challenges of all shades including the social, environmental, political, religious, economic and geopolitical types. It’s not as if the constitution solved all of those problems and united us. It still doesn’t. The articles of the constitution are not perfect and we are constantly in the battle to fix that. We’ve made mistakes. Our own people have suffered from the inequities in our society and they continue to do so. But we will always seek solace in the constitution because it respects the diversities of our backgrounds, our circumstances and our cultures. Within its 390 something articles and 100 something amendments, it captures that undying spirit which has kept our people together through centuries of brutal invasion; that most Indian of sensibilities that there IS unity in diversity and it isn’t merely a slogan but the core of belief; that it isn’t uniformity we seek but unity; that it isn’t revenge we seek but independence and that we shall overcome in our own most Indian way. So here’s wishing you a Happy Republic day, India. This year may we all have the chance to visit at least one new state and learn about new cultures and try to understand why we’re all so same same but different.
I wrote this little piece on Republic Day last year. Between that and the speech (read here) that Dr. Ambedkar delivered at the constituent assembly in 1949, are all my hopes and fears for India. Somehow with every passing year these feelings are a little stronger, a little heavier and more relevant. Happy Republic Day, friends.