Patna, Republic day and its meaning


The Gandhi Maidan is abuzz with the activities of the Republic Day celebration, like any previous year. Grand scale preparations has been done - ground beautified & leveled, hoardings put in place, posters, banners, flags, pamphlet abounding the ground, landscape trimmed to suit, and so on. The celebration is itself grand - many dignitaries participating, thousands of volunteer and performers displaying their skills, and the colorful parade and displaying of rich heritage - all faces smiling and beaming with confidence - a scene that conveys the well being of the people at large. But is this really true ?

The Patna railways junction, some 2-3 km from Gandhi Maidan, is also abuzz with activities - but of a different kind. Hundreds of people are trying their hard earned skill to make their way towards their destination, crossing roads where no traffic discipline is followed, through the intrinsic chains of hawkers who captures whatever roads remains from traffic, the devotees lined for Mahavir Mandir, the poor beggars sitting on either side of the displayed railway engine outside the station - a complete chaos, mismanagement, dis-orderliness, poverty, frustration - all are prevalent within such near destination where a grand event is going on. This is the truth. (Chaos outside Patna Junction)

Its sad to see how such contrasting surroundings exists in close proximity on the same day and the same time. Why the administration which takes so much effort to beautify a place for only one day, fails to do even a part of it in the rest of the year ? The same place lay neglected for the better part of the year. The Republic day celebration displays the rich heritage of our culture and society, but how much we tries to conserve the same in our day to day life. The river Ganga, though worshiped, lay in highly degraded & polluted form - acting as a carrying medium of the city's sewage, wastes, garbage etc. The ghats are in dilapidated form. The City's traffic is notorious for its everybody'd own traffic rules -  bypassing, cutting and overtaking are the talent on has acquired over the time, courtesy the inability of the traffic police to regulate the official rules. Uncollected garbage dots the City, foul smell are inherent characteristics in few areas - not in the outskirt but in the very heart of the City. Cold is almost in the last stages, and hundreds of people have spent their nights on the pavements and open streets, as there are hardly any shelter homes. Under passes are unseen in the City, and zebra crossing non-existent.

It is, therefore, not strange that even a layman will blame for all these on the City administration. But, a society where their in no activism about itself - of its rights & powers, of its privileges and responsibilities, of its freedom and accountability, faces, no doubt, such situations. Are not the people equally responsible for the mismanagement of the City? Definitely, they are the people who breaks the traffic and other rules, throw garbage in the river and so on. So, where does the role of administration lies ? The role of administration lies in regulating its laws, rules and regulations, raising awareness about the people's participation, making innovative & out-of-box solution for the city management, giving proper autonomy to various agencies and making them accountable to public, and so on -  but sadly, all these things are missing leading to a chaos type situation within the city.

Republic day is a day when our Constitution came into force in 1950, which envisages the principles of Justice, Liberty, Equality and Fraternity to its citizen and sought to remind of its underlying principle. However, the day's celebration involves many activities, parades, power display, pomp & show, only except the realization about the basic principles. A true Republic day can be celebrated only when the objectives of the Constitution is fulfilled to an extent where people and the society enjoys the fruits of an egalitarian approach by the State.

[January 2013]