Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Looking back on R day!

As India celebrates her 67th Republic Day today, I realized I have started to take the day for granted. It has become just a holiday and more importantly if it falls on Friday or Monday, then I end up planning a short trip. But I still watch the R day parade if I have an access to TV on that day.

But there was a time when it meant more. I grew up in an Assam where once Republic Day and Independence Day were celebrated with lot of vigor and enthusiasm and then a time came when these days were seen as days one should be extra cautious and at any cost avoid going out.

My earliest memory of R day is of my primary school in Dibrugarh. That was in mid 1980s. I remember getting up early and getting ready to go to school where Head Mistress would hoist the flag. All the children would gather and sing the national anthem and the state anthem.We would be home by 10 - 10.30 am and then father would take out the flag and put it up somewhere in our house. All the houses in the neighbourhood would have the flag flying from the window, at the terrace, on a pole near the garage! Then as the sun set, dad would pull down the flag and neatly fold it and keep it inside, again to be brought out on 15th Aug. Then in the late 1980s / early 1990s  the scene changed. The ULFA called for boycotting these "Indian days" celebrations and there would be a bandh called on those days. During those violent days of Assam, we stopped this practice of hoisting the national flag in our schools, colleges and homes. R Day and I Day were the days, pre and post which we had to be extra cautious, extra careful because there would be violence somewhere. A blast, may be few killings, a terror attack. When the nation everywhere else celebrated R day and I day, we spent those days inside our homes; strictly barred from venturing out. But everyone in the family would sit in front of TV and watch the R day parade each year. That continued for a long time and I still do that.

After many years in 2009 in our Guwahati home, we hoisted the flag on Independence day that year. In 2010 I moved to Mumbai. This practice is no longer there in our home in Assam. Not even in our home in Mumbai. Today while going for morning walk, I saw the Society next to the garden had made the arrangement for a flag hoisting ceremony and it made me look back at my childhood memories of R day. I need to get a flag before I day and hoist it. Just like that.

The Tri Colour on I day 2009 in Guwahati


  1. It is indeed sad to see so much violence around such important days. I was in Lekhapani a few years ago and used to visit Dibrugarh. Such beautiful places and so much tension. I hope we unfurl the flag every where with faith and fervor soon. Good you got a flag for your Mumbai home.

    1. Yes Inderpreet. I hope the "normalcy" which has returned to the NE region prevails forever.