This year Republic Day falls on Saturday, which would mean no extra holiday for most of us. Those of us, who perceived Republic Day just as a day off from work, have been boycotting this day ever since and hence this question is a no brainer. Rest of patriotic India, which unfortunately forms the minority, has to make a choice. Whether to celebrate this festival of democracy or shun it altogether paying homage to Delhi gang victim and express solidarity against apathy of police and politicians.
Let’s get into the genesis of this debate. Because people were not allowed to carry demonstrations at India Gate and Raisina hills during the protests against gang-rape, that some of us decided not to participate in Republic day celebrations. As republic day draws closer, the call for boycott gets louder. The idea is to make the President and other VIPs address empty stands. So that they realize how it feels when one shouts and no one is listening. How effective this boycott is, would be clear in few hours from now. But we are here to discuss if this boycott is the right way to express our displeasure.
While I highly condemn the gruesome gang-rape and use of brute force by police against a peaceful protest, I believe that our anger is being misplaced, leading to no fruitful result. Our first priority should be to bring perpetrators to book and ensure that such incidents are not repeated. We need to question ourselves if this boycott serves any of these purposes. If yes, we should surely go ahead with it.
But unfortunately facts tell a different story. More than 45 rape cases and 75 molestation cases were reported within a month in Delhi itself after the horrible gang-rape. While we came to streets, demanded for strict action, we could not make Delhi a safer place for women. If all those who came to streets would have resolved to respect women and oppose male chauvinism, atleast Delhi would have been a better place to live.
Republic Day is celebrated not to show loyalty to the present government or President. It is a revered homage to our freedom fighters and visionaries who drafted our constitution. So boycott of Republic Day celebration dishonors the nation and not any party or person. Hence, it is not an iota logical to shun Republic day celebrations. What we need to do instead is to pledge today to honor women and be patriotic today and forever!!!
Its NOW or NEVER!!