January 26th, 2018

Happy Republic Day, India

This image, taken right now from my drawing room window, this cold & foggy Delhi morning is, methinks, an apt metaphor for India today, as the country celebrates her 69th Republic Day.

Why the weather analogy, do I hear you ask?

Let me explain.

I’ve checked my trusty weather app, which tells me that the sun will break through the fog later on, though that time keeps slipping further on into the morning.  First it showed full sun at 10 o’clock, then 11 o’clock, then mid-day, now it’s 1 o’clock…

It seems to me that India at the moment, like the weather, is overcast, but that brightness will prevail.  It’s just that the time frame keeps slipping a little.

If that all sounds a tad schmaltzy, forgive me.  It’s just that it would be churlish to be negative on a day when India is on full parade – literally, we have THE mother of all parades here in Delhi today.

Our PM has just come back from Davos, where he apparently invited the world to come to India.

We have 10 ASEAN heads of state here for a meeting, and they will all be joint guests of honour at the Republic Day parade this morning.

This is all fine and dandy, but we also have myriad problems in this country, many of them on uncomfortable display to the world.

But, and here is the main point – India has so many amazing people, so many extraordinary places, so much history and energy and talent, that I remain confident that despite the current fog of communalism and ugly sectarian violence that our government seems unable and unwilling to rein in, brightness will, in the end, prevail.

From my first ever Republic Day in sunny Bombay in 1983, a fortnight after landing in India for the first time, to today –  an old lady wrapped up against the cold – I’ve watched my adoptive country grow and progress and convulse and yes, let’s be honest, regress in some cases.

But I remain ever hopeful that the metaphorical sun will break through the current fog of communalism.  Just as I hope the literal sun will break through the fog and shine on the parade as India struts her stuff on the world stage this morning.

Happy Republic Day, India!

Jai Hind!

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