A Republic Day celebration is organized by every Compassion child development center across eastern India to teach children in our sponsorship program about national pride. The celebrations include a series of programs like a parade and patriotic dances by the children, flag hoisting, a standing salute to the Indian tricolor by children and staff, and a short speech by the guest of honor.
Through these celebrations, children at the development centers are taught about brotherhood and harmony irrespective of their caste and faith. Children learn to become responsible and loyal toward their future duty as citizens of their nation.
“We are building future patriots for our nation by instilling patriotic fervor in our children through celebrations like Republic Day and Independence Day. If children understand their responsibility towards their motherland from their childhood days, I am confident they have the potential to do great things for our nation,” says Puspita, a staff member at IN-729.
Republic Day (26th January) is celebrated every year across India with great pomp and pageant. It is one of the three national holidays of the country.
The occasion is marked by a grand parade in the nation’s capital of New Delhi. It includes a march-past by India’s three armed forces, distribution of bravery awards, and folk dances by tribal people in their traditional costumes, marking the cultural unity of India.
The Indian military also showcases its latest acquisitions of artillery, missiles and radars. Streaks of jet planes from the Indian Air Force leave a trail of tricolored smoke to culminate the celebration at the nation’s capital.
Republic Day fills up every Indian heart with patriotic fervor because it was on this day in 1950 that the Indian Republic and its constitution came into force. On January 26, 1950, Dr. B.R. Ambedkar framed the written constitution of India with seven other members of the drafting committee that finally saw India become a republic nation.
Republic Day has set a milestone in India’s history by giving all Indian citizens the right to exercise freedom in every sphere of their life and also teaching them to live in unity, equality and harmony amidst their vast cultural diversity.
The celebrations at IN-729 begin early in the morning as children line up with their center’s banner and the Indian tricolor flag to parade through the campus to the rhythm of beating drums.
That is followed by a short prayer from a child and the unfurling of the national flag by the head teacher of the local government school.
The teacher also shares a short speech on Republic Day to encourage and inspire children:
“I have seen great change in this community through the initiative the child development center has taken in educating poor children of this community. I am hopeful that today’s children will become tomorrow’s leaders in this community; I am glad to see how they are also instilling patriotic feelings in these children through these kind of celebrations.”
After flag hoisting, the children put together a beautiful patriotic dance dressed up in the tricolored attire, followed by another short message on the theme of Republic Day. Finally the celebration culminates with a vote of thanks and closing prayer from another Compassion-assisted child.
After the program ends, children line up in rows of two to collect sweets and the national flag is distributed at the gate by volunteers.
“I remember coming to the center and eating candies on Republic Day but as I grew older I realized the importance of this day. I read about Dr. Ambedkar in our history textbooks and it inspired me a lot. We celebrate this day with honor remembering all who helped to make India a republic nation,” says Rumpa, a Compassion-assisted child.
Through Republic Day celebrations, the development center instills the spirit of brotherhood, unity and equality in all Compassion-assisted children.
“I want to do something for my nation that I can feel proud of. Besides, the freedom and equality we enjoy today was earned through the sacrifice of our freedom fighters and that is what I want our little brothers and sisters at the development center to know when they grow up like me,” tells Anamika, another Compassion-assisted child.
The development center is ministering to children coming from both Hindu and Muslim families.
In the past, village standards were so rigid that Hindu and Muslims would not drink from the same hand pump without first washing it properly. Each had their separate ponds where they took baths. The center has helped children to advocate the message of brotherhood and unity in their families through which many Hindu and Muslim families have come together in love and harmony.
Staff member, Puspita says it well,
“Our children are spreading the message of unity and love in their neighborhood. This has brought a lot of change in the community. Celebrations like Republic Day help us to make that message even more powerful.”