Mumbai, Jan 26: Veterans like Shekhar Kapur and Kabir Bedi went down memory lane remembering the colourful parade they saw as kids, while actresses like Nandita Das and Raveena Tandon wished for safer and better times for the country on its 64th Republic Day Saturday.
Here’s what the celebrities have to say:
Sharmila Tagore: Let’s strive for equality, liberty and a feeling of oneness.
Shekhar Kapur: Republic Day to me signifies cold winter mornings watching the parade with my parents.
Nandita Das: It is the day the Constitution of India was formalised, so an extremely important day in the history of our country. But then we are constantly disrespecting the Constitution by abusing the rights of so many people that it protects with its vision. Now all such days have merely become holidays. I hope that will change as we begin to be more mindful of all the injustices that happen around us.
Shabana Azmi: As a child, I remember being bundled into trucks on Republic Day to see the lights at Chowpatty. It was only later that I understood how wonderful our Constitution was. Republic Day should become our definitive national festival so that every Indian irrespective of religion can celebrate it. This Republic Day, I hope and pray that a fair and just rehabilitation policy is put in place for those displaced because of development projects or environmental disasters.
Prasoon Joshi: Republic Day is a reaffirmation of our principles as a secular vibrant democracy. In the last couple of years, we are seeing a move towards a more participative democracy rather than a mere ballot one. The democratic principles enshrined in our constitution need to live and breathe. The onus for this is very much on us – the citizens, the public, as on the government that upholds the Constitution.
Irrfan: Days celebrating nationalism, costumes signifying oneness, traditions and beliefs should all be re-examined. We must search within ourselves to see what the Republic Day means to us today.
Subhash Ghai: Let’s implement the Constutition of India. This according to me is the best Constitution in the world. But it needs to be implemented better.
Raveena Tandon: Look around. None of us feels safe. My children are not safe. I am not safe. This Republic Day, let us ensure safety for women and children before we think of cleansing the political system. If I as a citizen cannot feel safe on the roads, how and why would I go out and vote?
Kabir Bedi: For me as a child in Delhi, the Republic Day Parade was the most exciting day of the year. Military bands, marching regiments with camels, sleek planes and tanks, costumed dancers and colourful floats, acrobatic displays and a thrilling fly-past by jets…wow! Symbolically, Republic Day should also embrace India’s new generation.
Himesh Reshammiya: Republic Day makes me realise the value of my freedom. We’re truly blessed to live in an independent democratic country where everyone has the right to say and do what he likes. On this day, we genuinely need to pay tributes to every person who has contributed to independent India. I dream of India becoming the richest country in the world and that there is not a single citizen living without food, shelter and clothing.
Mahesh Bhatt: There’s a magical childhood memory of a time when the city would glitter with lights. My one dream is for the nation to show zero tolerance for female infanticide.
Shankar Mahadevan: When I look at the tri-colour, I feel so happy that I stayed back in my country instead of leaving for the US, as many of my engineering colleagues did. With all that is going on around us today I feel that my house, my motherland and my people need a little bit of self-awareness individually. It could go a long way in making a collective difference.I think every citizen should realise that in spite of the clouds of negativity there is room for rays of sunshine.