Prathap Suthan: 8 fun ideas for Republic Day without being unpatriotic [Recall]

25 Jan,2012


This was first carried on MxMIndia in January 2012. Save the Kolaveri context, all of it is still relevant and we felt it was worth carrying given that it’s Republic Day on Sunday.



By Prathap Suthan



I better walk the tight rope here. Caught as we are between two completely disconnected groups of Indians.


One is a grizzled leadership that’s way too hemmed in, frugal, and touchy about the tricolour and its marching bells and regimented whistles.


And the second is a younger generation who are anything but bothered with the antediluvian huff we make about pride and other mushy matters of the soul.


Come to think of it, in these days of viral Kolaveri, the Republic Day and its patriotism shouldn’t continue to be seen as the preserve of those sitting behind bulletproof glass.


Our Republic Day shouldn’t lie trapped in strict Government imagery. We must ease up on the straitjacket we have strapped ourselves in. Our nation is free. Not bound.


It must be the day ofIndia. Celebrated with more freedom and fun. It must be more popular and populist. The democracy should celebrate it. Less stiffness, and more abandon.


Love for the land should be much more than just standing ramrod straight when the national anthem plays. Loosen up people. We cannot be snoozing all day on the 26th.


So what can we do to inject fun into this grave day? Please add your own versions.


Though please don’t skid over the edge, and start redefining bikinis. Some amount of restraint is good. Atleast in public.


1. Instead of curling into your couch to watch the parade on TV, get your society to hire a big screen. Watch the parade like an IPL final. Get some hot samosas and jalebis. Give flags to all the kids, and watch the soldiers pound the Rajpath. I can guarantee monster goosebumps.


2. Ride a horse. Get off your cars and bikes, and live true horsepower. Get on the back of an old unemployed filly and relive a bit of royalty on hooves. I am sure you won’t be able to gallop. But I am pretty sure that fine equine discretion will lead you to the difference between a canter and a trot. Pay the local ghodawalla some attention. I am sure he will smile a wider smile.


3. Invent a patriotic dish. Give it the finest name possible. Buy from theRepublicofChicken. Or do something that needs a handful of saffron. Ouch. Don’t do the tricolour rigmarole pudding. It’s too cliched. Make the Dal of Thunder, The Saffron Inquisition, or the Great Onion of Panipat.


4. Step out of home, and go and meet your neighbourhood fauji. Remember them. Those gallant valiant men with moustaches curled. Also do shake hands with the neighbourhood cops. They might expect a rolled up currency note. Instead, wish them a great day.


5. Fight for the flag-raising event. Let a younger member raise the flag. Why do we depend on brash old men? The nation belongs to the little ones. Instill nationalism early in their lives. They will never forget. They will be grateful. Jai Hind!


6. Add a flourish of Indianess to the Armani ensemble you wear everyday. Applies to both originals and fakes. Or offset the affected kurta you will stuff yourself into on Republic Day. Basically, try a new thing, and wear a Gandhi cap. You could wear it on your monkey cap if you are a devout Bangla. But there’s something earthy that happens when you switch to khadi. Gurkha cap also doesn’t work for me.


7. I think we should make an effort to commercialize the day. Why waste a full day sitting at home? Imagine the plight of the millions people who eke out their living on a daily basis. For them, it’s a forced holiday. Maybe we should take the lead and get the great T-shirt sale going. Or we should begin a series of Republic Day picnics; initiate a nationwide drive to buy a compulsory flag for all homes, or do something else that will go to annually fund war widows or something as noble.


8. How come there’s no tradition connected to this day? Barring that really long speech the society elder will deliver. In which he will talk more about himself, his childhood, how Nehru almost shook his hand, and how he braved British boots. Maybe we should all speak in Hindi that day. Maybe we should only eat Indian food. Maybe we should have a fireworks show where the whole city is invited. Or maybe we will have a citizen’s parade in the city stadium.


Whatever we choose to do, we must celebrate in our own way. We must take the celebration to the people. We must make it more meaningful and involving. Otherwise this country’s pride will get locked up inside octogenarian ministries. And we will all have breakfast at 3 pm.


Prathap Suthan is the Chief Creative Officer at iYogi.


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3 responses to “Prathap Suthan: 8 fun ideas for Republic Day without being unpatriotic [Recall]”

  1. Prachi Dubey says:

    Something very good to read , completely different from the normal ideas. Your ideas are practical and can bring about some change in some people’s lives. I dont know how many would like your ideas or would apply them , but a real different and real Patriotic thought.

  2. I dearly wish some journalist would have woken up and went on to write on the front page of the leading newspaper, what you have embarked on with determined sincerity. Such a perspective is so inspiring. This is a take that ought to reach and stir the citizens. It was no ordinary day some 60 years back, as it has become. Young India is slowly coming to see it. I wonder if media and intellectuals could embolden the process. Elected gentlemen may keep their customary patriotic kinship for now.

  3. Biju201 says:

    Already having goosebumps!!!!!!