Today the maid in our PG wanted to know why my roommate was not going for work. My roommate explained to her that it is a holiday since it is Republic Day.
A woman in in her fifties, who had got her granddaughter also married and who still depends on us to know the time as she doesn’t know what the hands and numbers in a clock means, she didn’t understand what my friend told her.
She asked: “What is that?”
My friend explained: “It is a festival when our ministers hoist flag and cultural programmes are held...”
She asked again: “Is it Gandhi jhanda (flag)?”
My friend burst into laughter and said: “We have only one jhanda.”
She got confused and asked: “That was held recently, right? Just 4-5 months back?”
My friend who understood she was referring to Independence Day, told her: “We celebrate it twice a year.”
With a sigh, she said: “I don’t know why the government is giving holiday every now and then...” and carried on with her work.
We celebrated the 60th Republic Day. Anniversary of the day when our Constitution, with its preamble proclaiming the country to be a sovereign, socialist, secular, democratic republic, came into being.
For the salaried class, the joy of the day comes as a holiday. For many, it is a day to express their patriotism. For the government, it is a day to remember the nation's heroes. For people like this poor woman, it still means nothing.
After all, for those who don’t know what their fundamental rights are, who have never enjoyed the fruits of it, how does it matter that a Constitution does exist!