[The spectacular Republic Day parade that will troop down from the imposing Raisina Hill and onto Rajpath this morning marks the 59th such event since free India became a republic and gave itself a detailed Constitution with the most unexceptionable and normative objectives. There are multiple symbolisms associated with the day itself, going back to January 26, 1930, when the Congress party sought full independence from Britain and the more evocative moment of January 26, 1950 when Rajendra Prasad became the first president of the republic. Over the years, the event has become mega in more ways than one and the pomp, military pageantry and precision complemented by the addition of state tableaux and the participation of schoolchildren makes the Indian Republic Day parade a spectacle without peer.
It is also an occasion to pay homage to the oft forgotten martyrs and it is indeed fitting that the prime minister leads the nation in laying a wreath at India Gate. The grand finale is marked by the poignant Beating Retreat ceremony at Vijay Chowk on January 29, where the massed bands of the armed forces leaven music with marching to enthral the crowds. And when the lights come on almost magically to illuminate Rashtrapati Bhavan, the entire visual spectacle embellished by caparisoned camels silhouetted on the ramparts of South and North Block, it is that 'lump-in-the-throat' moment, however many times one has attended the ceremony.
I am personally an ardent votary of military ceremony and the Republic Day parade is an all-time favourite. Before the advent of television, it was estimated that up to 5,00,000 people flocked to see this spectacle and it was common to hear about thousands of aam-aadmis without the privileged chhabbis janvari pass spending the night before in the unreserved enclosures to find a place to see the parade. But now in its 59th year, when the spectacle still arouses enormous enthusiasm and fierce but fleeting patriotism, one would venture to suggest that the time has come to give the Republic Day parade a final farewell in its 60th year, that is in January 2009.
There will be many angry protests and some may even see this suggestion as blasphemous, but an objective review and a national debate is called for. Spectacle as related to the power of the state serves a deeper societal purpose and from imperial Rome through the Soviet experience to present times, the historical continuum provides the contextual relevance. -- LEADER ARTICLE: An Unnecessary Ritual C Uday Bhaskar TOI 26 Jan 2008]
[The Ecology Narrative is different. It starts with the premise that investors and borrowers cooperate and compete in a complex ecosystem. Everyone seeks wealth while minimizing risk. As Jim Manzi, a software entrepreneur who specializes in applied artificial intelligence, has noted, the chief tension in this ecosystem is between innovation and uncertainty. We could live in a safer world, but we’d have to forswear creativity. -- Op-Ed Columnist Two Cheers for Wall St. By DAVID BROOKS NYT: January 25, 2008]
"Spectacle," not only "serves a deeper societal purpose," but also functions as fuel for the financial and economic engine of a nation. Carnivals accentuate "tension between innovation and uncertainty." [TNM]