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Monday, January 09, 2006

republic day floats

The Republic day every year is an occasion to display to the world at large our military strength along with our rich cultural heritage. Normally, the program lasts for nearly two and a half hours but, this year it is being reduced for reasons not disclosed. One of the reasons could be the lack of interest in people – with the exception of the school children, cadets of the NCC, members of the Military and para-Military forces who have to attend out of compulsion, and other such persons, the Republic day has lost its charm. The spectators have got accustomed to seeing the same MBTs, Bofors guns, MiG aero planes, and missiles and having rose petals showered on them from low flying helicopters. In keeping with the times, they want variety. Days of meaningful lyrics woven into memorable songs via sincerely crafted music that kept you mesmerized have surrendered meekly to the demons of the dhoom macha dey types.

In views of the shortened time frame for the Republic day displays, several states have to forego their floats that represent the unique culture of the respective states and highlight their achievements. The axe has fallen on Bihar first and the new Chief Minister is rightly unhappy. The proposal put forth by the PR group of Bihar did not find favor with the Defense Ministry. In a state that has won the distinction of being labeled as one where kidnapping has become an industry of sorts, the Ministry must have expected a tableau depicting those half masked men with their shooting machines. What has been presented seems to be a let down, especially in the context of the efforts of the CM to woo NRIs to invest in Bihar.

In order to revive the attraction of the Republic day parade, some thought could be given to introduce new floats from the Department of Revenue Intelligence and the Income Tax department – the world could then see how people who swindle the exchequer look like and try to find out what sets them apart and puts them in a special class of their own. There could also be a separate cavalcade of politicians who are known criminals but who are more slippery than the eel dipped in oil and have never been convicted.

With proper planning and publicity, the audiences can once again be motivated to sit glued to their TV sets.


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