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Let My Country Awake—Independence Day Parade 2018

The morning of 15th August dawns the same way in most Indian towns and cities. The streets are filled with auto rickshaws and bicycles adorned with the tricolour, and children tag along with their fathers to the nearest flag-hoisting ceremony. Manipal was no different in this regard, except for the addition of throngs of college students who made their way to the EDU Building to celebrate Independence Day with their fellows and with the dignitaries of the institute.

The Independence Day program began at 9.00 a.m. on a blessedly rain-less morning. The familiar tune of Sare Jahan Se Accha greeted the spectators as they arrived to attend the flag-hoisting and the marching parade that would follow. Following a short welcome speech, the flag was unfurled by the chief guest, Pro-Chancellor Dr H.S. Ballal. There seemed to be a malfunction as the flag did not completely unfurl. However, one could not help but be filled with an overwhelming sense of patriotism as the national anthem played on.

The chief guest then drove past the parade in a 1940s Jeep to inspect the contingents. Following this, the march-past of the contingents began with marching tunes provided by the Sound of Music Malpe Band. The various hues of the different uniforms-pink, blue, red, camouflage, and khaki, were not unlike the colourful regimental uniforms of the Indian Army. The parade also included contingents from the NCC, the Terrier Security Guards, the Home Guards, and Asare.

With the impressive march past concluded, Dr P.L.N.G. Rao delivered the Independence Day address. He spoke of the great strides India had made in the sectors of industry, agriculture, and education. Despite the diverse ethnicities and backgrounds of the visionaries who had contributed to this development, they were all united by the fact that they were Indian. He called upon the young generation to uphold the tricolour and contribute to the country. He urged the young students to look beyond education as just a means to learn subject matter and develop attitudes and skills that would be of service to the needy.

During the speech, a leader of one of the marching contingents happened to keel over momentarily due to exhaustion. However, in the true spirit of courage and determination, he remained standing at the helm of his contingent until the end of the ceremony. This goes to show the honour and importance of representing their college for these students. The Contingent Awards were then presented by the dignitaries to the leaders of each of the participating institutes. The Best Contingent prize was bagged by Welcomgroup Graduate School of Hotel Management, followed by Kasturba Medical College as runners-up, and the School of Allied Health Sciences in third place. Dhawal, a member of the WGSHA contingent was extremely pleased with the results. “We are very happy because this is the first time WGSHA has won in a long time. We have been practising for almost an hour and a half every day for the past week, so it is good to see our hard work pay off.”

The vote of thanks was delivered by Dr M. Srinivas Reddy, Vice Principal of Manipal College of Pharmaceutical Science. The Parade Commander then requested permission from the Chief Guest to break the parade. With that, the parade dispersed and the crowd too began to trickle out, right as the first drops of rain began to fall.

Image Credits: The Photography Club, Manipal.