Of high heads and crouched future

Source: The Hitavada      Date: 31 Jan 2018 10:17:29




By biraj dixit,




If I could have only located my orange dupatta on time, it would have been a truly fulfilling Republic Day for me. I had planned for it early on and mine was to be the most perfect attire. Wearing all the three colours, I was going to carry my patriotism on my sleeves. Alas! My dupatta was nowhere to be found and when it did, it was too late. On this Republic Day, I came face to face with my own shackles. Oh, the chains of bad habits!

But I am not the one to lose hope. I, too, have the famous Indian resilience. I bounce back in no time, especially when a mistake offers the Godsend punishment of solitary confinement. Confined to solitude and coffee, I pondered over all the very many ways where I could demonstrate my patriotism. I thought I would go to the theatre and render my support to freedom of expression (and also to the unwritten but most expected duty of right thought, right understanding and right action), but then there were threats that there could be some protest, some ruckus. Well, when stone-pelting and creating ruckus is also accepted as freedom of expression, I’d better be careful expressing mine. And so like the true, blue extremely common citizen of the Indian Republic, I would support the cause from my home.

“In case you really want to show your love for your country, pick up the broom,” my friend had told me on the Independence Day. “That is one thing that the nation needs most.” True! With, the world carefully watching us we cannot look dirty. So I picked up the broom and clicked a selfie; walked up to the nearest garbage dump in my locality, clicked a selfie; my friends gathered with brooms in their hand, we clicked a selfie. Our pictures got around 252 likes from people across the globe. The world must know how committed we are.

I also happened to address the people gathered during our cleaning drive. I spoke eloquently on the importance of cleanliness, particularly elaborating on the close connection between waste management and environmental protection. “Put a word across about the blue/green bins,” my friend prompted. “Green what?” I asked. “Never mind,” she had said rather irritably.

Deep in my own thoughts, I absentmindedly picked up the TV remote and equally absently-mindedly started scrolling channels. President Ramnath Kovind had, on the eve of Republic Day, reminded the ordinary people of India, like myself, that we did not just make up and preserve the Republic, but we were its ultimate stakeholders. As I changed channels some stakeholders were threatening to damage nation’s property even as images beamed of a school bus being pelted with stones and scared children crouching on the floor. The President had spoken of civic-minded nation built by civic-minded neighbourhood, of allowing dignity and personal space and about fraternity in action. There, on the floor of that bus, was lying a scared future of the Republic threatened by some fragile sentiments obsessed with the past.

My thoughts digress and I reach for my cell phone for the nth number of time. This, too, is fast becoming a morbid habit – checking every now and then what is there for me! All I find there are many forwards that I forward again. My cell phone never ever says that there is nothing for you and yet…!

Amidst the galaxy of profound thoughts that are emanating from this chain of forwards on my cell phone on what one should do for one’s nation, the one that one finds particularly thought-provoking is ‘Act well thy part, there all the honour lies,’ message. So absolutely true! We, the people from the media realise this only too well. It isn’t for nothing that we are called the ‘fourth pillar of democracy’ after legislature, executive and judiciary. We offer the much required check on the three and offer a firm footing to democracy and democratic values. The month gone by can really vouch for media’s strength.

As the cameras panned across the world to report India’s growth story, as its media cheered India’s growing eminence internationally be it at Davos or playing host to the ASEAN leaders; as it snubbed those spreading violence in the country, as it shouted out every argument against its own firmly-held beliefs, media played its part well in preserving democracy. We had the pleasure of hearing out Prime Minister’s ‘mann ki baat’ three times. Oh sorry! The first two were interviews. But mind you, keeping aside their penchant for ‘nation-wants-to-know’ diatribe, the interviewers showed utmost grace and compliance while interviewing the Prime Minister. Our Prime Minister has this calming effect on people, doesn’t he!

To further prove media’s undying commitment to the cause of truth and justice, I, too, have decided to write something glorious on the occasion of Republic Day. How should I begin???
May be with, “We, the people of India, having solemnly resolved to constitute India into…???’
Or may be, “Where the heads are held high…!”