Republic Day seems to have lost its sheen over the years with the enthusiasm of residents undergoing a definite downturn.
Sudesh Sareen,a retired schoolteacher,said: Earlier,the day used to be a mega-event in educational institutes and students had a special
fervour for such patriotic days. The functions on Republic Day and Independence Day rivalled the scale of the schools own annual functions. And students used to wait the whole year for these days.
A common practice nowadays for schools and colleges is to celebrate such gazetted holidays with a handful of children and a few cadets of NCC.
Many a times,private schools choose not to bother senior students for such celebrations owing to their heavy study load. Recently,a few schools observed Republic Day (the celebrations started January 19 onwards) only with primary section kids.
So,it should come as no surprise that most children are not even aware of the significance of the day. Asked when India celebrates its Republic Day,Reena Jain,a fifth-standard student,innocently replied: January 23. In my school,it is celebrated on January 23.
Another student was more flexible. Republic Day can be celebrated on any day in the third week of January, he said.
And whats the occasion? It is the birthday of the chief of the Azad Hind Fauj, answered Rajan Kashyap,a high-school student.
Even as the general knowledge of students is evidently touching rock bottom,teachers and schools eagerly await the day. Only about 20 government schools participate in the district or state-level functions held on January 26,the rest enjoy a holiday.
Asked why schools do not celebrate the day on their own,District Education Officer (Secondary) Sudesh Bajaj said: Republic Day is celebrated at the tehsil and district level and we participate in those functions.
Punjab Chief Parliamentary Secretary Harish Rai Dhanda said: I feel heartfelt emotions are lacking among the countrymen in celebrating such national days. It has become more of a ritual now than a celebration of freedom. There is an urgent need to inculcate patriotism among the youth.