“Daine Dekh” – The Republic Day Parade
On what rests the hope of the Republic? One country, one language, one flag
Although untrue in its entirety, especially for a country as diverse as India, this is something worth thinking over, that even with more than a century of torturous history, the Constituent Assembly came through with what still is the largest governing document of any country in the world – The Constitution of India. In remembrance, it is on this day, every year, the date whence the Constitution of India convicted the bigoted Government of India Act of 1935, the country rejoices in India’s becoming a republic.
Like any other national holiday, the 26th of January was not something a patriot could sit over and even with the sun still in its slumber, the eager Manipalite woke up to the sound of “Bharat mata ki, Jai” and “Vande Mataram.” With more than a penchant in a strict bucket list, the students of Manipal University had little rest inside them; because as soon as their early morning chores were over, they hurried to the NCC Unit to join the cadets at 0740 IST dressed in the ceremonial uniforms tailored for the day.
The National flag was hoisted by Maj. Dr. Anjaiah Devineni (Retd.) and the cadre sang the National anthem, hearts brimming with pride. The non-contingent students of MIT had their own small ceremony at the flag post in front of AB1. The Director of MIT, Dr. GK Prabhu hoisted the flag accompanied by the Jt. Director, Dr. BHV Pai and other members of the faculty and student body in attendance. All of them then headed onto the KMC Greens which was to witness yet another show of chauvinism.
The School of Allied Health Sciences which had taken up the responsibility had done a phenomenal job in clothing the KMC Greens in the festive attire. With the whole area turned into a drill square, the likes of which sometimes seen in military training battalions, it was not long before an army van surfaced out of nowhere with slogans like “Ek-Do-Teen Chaar, Chaar-Kar ki Jai, Jaikar” and “Jai bolo, Bharat Mata ki, Jai” coming out taking the onlookers by surprise. It was only after a nostalgic “Mighty-Mighty, MIT” shout came out that everyone instantly recognized them to be our very own NCC platoon and the MIT Marching Contingent.
The Chief Guest, Dr. Ramdas Pai, Chancellor of Manipal University arrived at the square at 0900 IST, greeted by all and received the formal salute by the 21 contingents. Dr. B. Rajashekhar, Dean of SOAHS presented the welcome address followed by the hoisting of the national flag. All contingent commanders reported to the parade commander after which inspection of the guard by the chief guest escorted by the parade commander took place. Once the chief guest approached and returned salute, the most awaited event of the morning, the march-past by all the contingents took place.
The contingent of 4 KAR ENGR COY NCC, led by Cdt. A. Aravindan was the leading platoon and synchronous to the beat of the ceremonial drums, the cadre started the march-past. Following them were the KMC Contingent and then was our very own MIT Contingent led by Mr. Shubham Jaiswal. Every beat was met with the sound of boots clapping the ground and hands swinging in a melodic motion. The march approached the chief guest and the contingent commander at the pre-specified position commanded the cadre for ‘Daine Dekh’ a second after which all heads turned to the right saluting the guest of honour with precision. After the salute, the contingent, commanded for ‘Saamne Dekh’ when again the contingent began marching with heads held high and hearts filled with pride.
The marching continued till all contingents returned after their rounds after which the Vice-Chancellor of Manipal University, Dr. H. Vinod Bhat delivered the Republic Day message to the assemblage. Soon after, the presentation ceremony began with the participation certificates, tokens of appreciation and Best Marching Contingent Awards given to participants of the parade. The formal ceremony concluded at about 1000 IST with the parade commander asking the guest of honour permission to break the parade following the vote of thanks delivered by Dr. Sabu KM, Associate Dean, SOAHS.
Following a distribution of sweets and an informal photo-session with the Director of MIT, both the contingents boarded the NCC Army vehicle and journeyed back to the unit. Congratulated by all for a job well done, the party was broken then with instructions to return at in a formal attire for lunch. The badakhana feast with all PI Staffs, ANOs, and cadets and the student body in attendance commenced at 12:45 PM in the ground floor of the NLH building. With every memory cherished, the lunch with all the cadets and army personnel in an informal civilian environment was a time that was to remain in the hearts of everyone there for an extended period of time. With freedom in our minds, faith in our hearts, smiles on our faces and spirits flung high, the students of MIT salute the motherland and all her children in memory and in gratitude of their services to the nation and its people by being a small part of a tribute paid on this historic day.