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January 26, 2015

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Greetings

The Arunachal Times greets readers, patrons and advertisers on the auspicious occasion of 66th Republic Day today.

As the offices and press of this daily will remain closed today, there will be no issue on Jan 27.

 

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Presidential awards for 7 AP officers

ITANAGAR, Jan 25: Seven Police officers from Arunachal have been given Service awards on the eve of Republic Day.

President of India has awarded Police Medal for Gallantry to East Siang SP Devendra Arya, Inspector of Police Nikom Riba and Sub- Inspectors Nani Namu and Tailang Borkar for their effort to rescue a businessman who was kidnapped for ransom last year.

Presidents Police Medal for Distinguished Service is awarded to Sub-Inspector of police Ananda Mondal while IPS officer and DIGP (HQ) Tusar Taba and Sub Inspector of Police Tarekesher Singh were given the Presidents Police Medal for Meritorious Service.

 

ITBP-US Navy Seals Joint Dog Operations

ITANAGAR, Jan 25: The seamless dovetailing of highly trained “crack dog units” of the Indo Tibetan Border Police(ITBP) and US Navy Seals Dogs has been operationalised during the high profile visit of POTUS, a military code for the President of the US. It was the ASLT (advanced security liaison team) of President Obama, that had specifically requested for ITBP dogs and troops for this Joint Operation named “Op Uncle Obmo”, standing for the first two letters of Obama and Modi, since “heavy electronic chatter” of international terrorist organisations have been intercepted by US and Indian Intelligence, planning to harm the leaders of two of the world’s largest democracies.

ITBP is a larger partner in Op Uncle Obmo, providing 30 dog teams as compared to US Navy Seals chipping in with 7 dog teams. The strategic reason for this is that since the ITBP dogs are already acclimatised to the Indian weather and deployment conditions, the Indian Dogs will be at the vanguard of the operation along with the American Dogs.

This is history repeating itself. It is a little known fact that after the Indian 1962 Himalayan blunder with China, it was American instructors, who trained the ITBP in the art of war. The American influence is still visible in ITBP, as this is the only Indian Force to play Baseb Ball in its units, thanks to the early contact with US culture.

The coming together of ITBP and American K9 units is a part of the plan of MHA to sniff out terror in Indian cities, and sources revealed that “Op-Uncle Obmo” would not end with the Republic Day Celebrations, but would continue as a part of joint action against terror. MHA sources also disclosed that ITBP is the only Force in India to have Air-Conditioned Dog Vans to transport the ITBP dogs from one place to another, in comfort, which is the one of the reason for the cutting-edge accuracy of the teams since the dogs do not have to suffer “journey stress” like dogs of other Indian Forces.

Sources said that “Op Uncle Obmo” has already caused ripples in the terror network chatter and the some common word in all the “electronic intercepts”  translated from Persian, Arabic and  Pastho, by RAW, IB and NTRO are “Indian Tibet Force”, “ITBP Dogs” and “US Navy Seals” and “ITC Maurya”.

 

Nechiphu-Hoj road to be ready by 2017

ITANAGAR, Jan 25: Construction firm Sushee Infra Pvt Ltd is all set to complete the 311 km Nechiphu-Hoj road - a part of Trans-Arunachal Highway - by 2017.

The firm has already started blacktopping the newly laid road from Leporiang with state-of-the-art equipment, determined to complete blacktopping 35 kms of road before March 31 next.

Sushee Infra’s general manager Pradeep Mehta said, this road is one of the longest hill projects, and that the firm has deployed an over 2000 strong manpower along with the latest technology and top quality steel, cement and other raw materials.

“The project is being implemented at an estimated cost of Rs 1400 crores and the company is leaving no stone unturned to ensure speedy work progress,” he said.

Sushee Infra PRO Tah Lapung, said such projects should be supported by the public, so that Arunachal Pradesh may develop in every sector.  

“Development takes place only where there are roads. It can be achieved by constructing roads to connect all the remote villages of the state to other parts of the country,” he said.

 

Tuting celebrates Losar

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YINGKIONG, Jan 25: Losar is being celebrated at Tuting. Taking part at the festivities at Central Gompa Tuting on January 23 last, Parliamentary Secretary PWD Alo Libang said that festival reflects peace and harmony where different tribes participate and promote sense of brotherhood and communal harmony.

Libang assured to accord sanction for approach road and boundary wall of the Gompa.

In his speech Rimpoche Tsering Dorjee informed that the different groups comprising of Adis, Idus, Membas and Khambas are living together peacefully like one family with spirit of unity and cooperation. He lauded the Adi’s who have coordinated with the Buddhist community during the construction of Central Monastery in Tuting.

The Parliamentary Secretary was accompanied by ADC R D Thungon, ZPM Bading Teng and ZPM Nyokgon Nitik.

Meanwhile, Parliamentary Secretary along with ZPMs also visited the under construction 24 MW Minakshi Hydro power project at Palisi. Libang asked the company to speed up the construction work so that the people of the district get sufficient power supply soon. DIPRO

 

Free coaching on General English begins

ITANAGAR, Jan 25: ‘Coaching for Entry in Services – Cell’ of the Dera Natung Government College resumed free-coaching on General English since January 23. The coaching will cover complete syllabus of General English for APPSCCE (Mains) and various other competitive examinations. It is free and open to all. Students from any college and institution and any aspirant/unemployed educated youth willing to prepare for any competitive examinations for any job can join the coaching. Dr. M Q Khan, Associate Professor of English is imparting the free coaching.

 

Myoko Ude Tiniin

ZIRO, Jan 25: One day workshop on ‘Myoko Ude Tiniin’ on chanting, language and literature of hymns was conducted here today.

The workshop was organized by Hong Meder Nello which was attended by All Apatani Danyi Piilo Society, Chairmen and secretaries Meder Nellos of Ziro.

The motive to organize the ‘Myoko Ude Tiniin’ was to preserve the tradition and culture of Apatani.

Takhe Taki, Takhe Kani, Kago Kunya, Punyo Tari and Takhe Diibo were the resource persons of the workshop.

 

District level painting competition

Karda Natam

Daporijo, Jan 25: District Level Inter School painting drawing competition was organized on the theme Swachh Bharat Abhiyan in convergence with tourism promotion.  

Altogether eleven schools both private and govt schools participated in the painting drawing competition. JNV Megdong stood first, followed by Blue Mount and VKV Kuporijo in second and third spots respectively.

Menle Botom Tourist Lodge in Collaboration with Department of UD & Housing Daporijo division organized the event in honour of maiden visit of Pema Khandu, Minister UD, Tourism, Art & Culture, Arunachal Pradesh.

 

ATSU memo to DC Karda Natam

Daporijo, Jan 25: In a memorandum to Deputy Commissioner, All Tagin Students Union Daporijo has highlighted various issues and grievances faced by the public in the district.

ATSU demanded that Tata Sumo fare from Daporijo to Itanagar be minimized to Rs 650 from Rs 750, as poor people are not able to afford the fare. They also called for demarcation of Govt Higher Secondary School Daporijo boundary land and maintenance and renovation of 60 boarders hostel Govt HS Daporijo.

 

APLS conducts SBA at picnic spot

ITANAGAR, Jan 25: Around hundred members of Arunachal Pradesh Literary Society (APLS) conducted Swachh Bharat Abhiyan (SBA) which cleaned a picnic spot, littered with garbage, left behind by the picnickers along the banks of Senki River in Senki View area here today.

APLS publicity secretary Pradeep Kumar, who initiated the cleanliness drive, was joined by all members including president Y D Thongchi and general secretary Tokong Pertin.

About half a quintal of garbage was collected from the river bed and bank and later disposed off.

Appreciating the move, two young girls Yiken Dabi, BA third year, DNGC and Yinya Dabi, Class-XII, Nirjuli Alphabet Public School quipped: “Prime Minister Narendra Modi would be very happy as we all are following the principle of ‘Cleanliness is next to godliness’.”

“PM Modi would not know about this drive but this practice should be made a habit by everyone, whether at home or outside, if we desire a clean environment everywhere,” expressed Kumar.

While Pertin imparted jungle training to the tiny tots, Thongchi’s words of wisdom asked them to get ready to face the competitive world.

Many of the APLS members after getting selected in various government jobs have admitted that their self-confidence improved drastically after attending the APLS monthly sittings, where they come with their self-composed poems and prose to either recite or read and if anyone falters they are rectified and encouraged by seniors. These sittings have taught them the art of facing interview, as Thongchi said, while urging them to make best use of the platform to help expose their hidden talent.

 

Traditional Dance and Drama Competition

Daporijo,  Jan 25: Vivekananda Kendra Upper Subansiri unit organized a traditional dance and drama competition on Jan 23 at VKV Kuporijo. A total of 6 teams from 5 different circles participated in dance and 2 teams from Puchigeko and Dumporijo participated in drama.

Taga Ekke, EAC, Daporijo advised the participating teams to preserve the age old tradition and customs. He stated that, we should not get carried away by the alien forces. The first, second and third prizes were won by Giba, Daporijo and Gusar circles respectively by bagging Rs. 10000, 5000 and 3000. In the drama competition, Dumporijo circle and Puchigeko circle won the first and second prizes bagging Rs. 10000 and 5000 respectively. The programme was organized in connection with the yearlong celebration of Mananeeya Eknathij Ranade the founder President of Vivekananda Kendra and VKVs.

 

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Condolence

ITANAGAR, Jan 25: The Mishmi Welfare Society (MWS), Itanagar deeply mourned the unfortunate demise of Late Sobeng Tayang, former MP and Minister.

The State as a whole and Mishmi community in particular has lost a great philanthropic leader. Late Sobeng Tayang would be remembered by all for his humbleness, honesty and as a versatile leader, it said in a message.

Meanwhile, Arunachal Pradesh Mahila Congress Committee expressed their shock and grief at the sudden demise of former Minister and Member of Parliament Sobeng Tayeng, who died yesterday at his residence at Tafrogam, Lohit District.

The APMCC President Kamala Lingi in her message said Sobeng Tayeng was a kind hearted and straight forward person who served the state and the country in different capacities and brought positive changes in education and agricultural sectors in the state and undivided Lohit district in particularly.

 

Corrigendum

The news items ‘Kiri Kaye no more’ in the January 25 issue should be read as ‘Liri Kaye no more’. The inadvertent mistake is regretted.

Allow smooth and timely completion of the Trans-Arunachal Highway,  CM appeals

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LUMDUNG, Jan 25: Chief Minister Nabam Tuki has fervently appealed to the people of the state to cooperate with the agencies and allow smooth and timely completion of the Trans-Arunachal Highway – the would-be lifeline of Arunachal Pradesh.

Addressing a public gathering at Lumdung, a remote village in the outskirts of Seppa, district headquarters of East Kameng this morning, Tuki said the ambitious road-project that would connect the entire state internally is the only way to development and prosperity of the people. Seeking support and cooperation in construction of the said road, he said it would usher in a new era of progress.

“Besides doing away with the communication bottleneck that mars the state, the connectivity would boost tourism and agri-horti sectors bringing in economical advancement of the people,” Tuki pointed.

The Chief Minister cited that the picturesque valleys of Passa, Papu and Pakke that produces surplus food grains can also develop into tourist destinations once the Trans-Arunachal Highway is complete. Further, the surplus food-grains and other horticultural produces can be moved to better markets financially making the local people sustainable.

The Trans-Arunachal Highway – formation cutting is going on - would connect the valleys with Seppa-Sagalee-Doimukh and the state capital.

“You are the monitors. Extend support to the constructing agency, the authorities and the government in executing the project. Don’t be hurdles but report to the government when hurdles come,” Tuki beckoned the local populace.

Highlighting few flagship programmes initiated during his tenure, Tuki urged the villagers to take full benefits of the Chief Minister’s Universal Health Insurance by getting ensured.

Tuki directed the Deputy Commissioner and the District Medical Officer to ensure every household of the district is covered under the scheme within next few months. He also called upon panchayat leaders, gaon buras and local NGOs to create awareness on the scheme amongst the villagers and help people avail the benefits.

Responding to a memorandum submitted by local MLA Mama Natung, also Parliamentary Secretary Tourism, on behalf of the people of Seppa West Assembly constituency, Tuki assured to fulfill all the demands on phased manner in the quickest possible time. The demands include shifting of Lumdung Govt Secondary School, establishment of a reputed educational institution like VKV or Kendriya Vidyalaya, establishment of a agriculture or horticulture college, creation of a Circle headquarter at Debeyar and construction of a mini-secretariat at Bana EAC headquarter.

Meanwhile, the Chief Minister laid the foundation stone of the road from Lumdung to Roterome, Mibhasaley and Narabah early in the morning.

Earlier, the Chief Minister who landed here yesterday had a thorough coordination meeting with all Head of Departments led by the Deputy Commissioner last evening for more than an hour. Issues and problems faced by concerned departments were highlighted before the Chief Minister, who sought suggestions for resolving the issues and gave on the spot directions. Expressing surprise to know that Chayangtajo, a sub-division in the district, is in complete darkness due to lack of power supply, he assured to provide funds to run the DG set to give temporary relief till the power supply line is restored. He also sought proposal for installing solar power in remote villages. To a request of the district administration, Tuki assured to connect Seppa with chopper service at least once a week immediately.

The Chief Minister was accompanied by RWD Minister Kumar Waii, Parliamentary Secretaries Kumsi Sidisow, Karya Bagang and Tapuk Taku and State Medicinal Plant Board Chairman Tatar Kipa.

 

 

Pre-paid energy meters being installed in Top down approach system

ITANAGAR, Jan 25: The process of top down approach in installation of Pre paid energy metering system has taken off with installation of pre paid meters in the residents of Ministers, Parliamentary Secretaries, Chief Secretary, Principal Secretaries and Commissioners. This is being followed by installation of pre-paid meters in the residents of MLAs, Secretaries, Chief Engineers, Directors and other senior government officers. The top down approach is initiated as per cabinet decision taken on January 16 last.

Meanwhile, the power department informed that there has been steep reduction of power wastage and the electric bills of people who are using minimum electric appliances at homes have also come down drastically wherever the pre paid metering system have been installed, according to an official release.

 

 

Khonsa runs against opium

KHONSA Jan 25: With a theme, Run Against Opium, a Cross Country Race against opium cultivation was held at Khonsa in Tirap District, organised by Tirap District Athletic Association.

Jenliam Jenpi, Gangnai Pansa and Banbak Chokdam were adjudged as first, second and third prize winners of veterans male category, Ngoina Chongcha, Toinyak Kanglom and Akhow Wangsa were the first, second and third winners of veterans women category.

In men’s open category Pangang Gangsa, Thinja Misia and Holai Wangsa were the first, second and third winners while in women category Rapwan Diwen, Phinuap Agi and Champan Diwen were the first, second and third winners respectively of the “Run Against Opium” organised by Tirap District Athletic Association.

Tirap Deputy Commissioner Kamlesh Joshi, MLA Wanglam Sawin and MLA Tirong Aboh flagged off the event.

Speaking on the occasion, the Deputy Commissioner called upon the people to stand up against drug addiction and opium cultivation. He said that drug addiction not only damages a person physically and mentally but also damages his or her family and society.  If a person is addicted to alcohol or drugs, the effects can negatively impact upon the marriage and relationships, home and family life, education, employment, health and well-being, personality, financial issues and law and order. He urged the elders to provide proper guidance to the new generation.

MLA Wanglam Sawin suggested the people to go for alternative cultivation, such as tea and large cardamom cultivation, horticulture, fisheries and animal husbandry. He also asked the officials of agriculture, horticulture, fisheries and animal husbandry to be proactive and reach out to the people.

MLA cum President District Athletic Association, Tirong Aboh expressed hope that the rally will carry the message against drug addiction to every corner of the Tirap district in particular and rest of the country in general. The rally will definitely create awareness against opium cultivation and also provide ideas for alternative means of livelihood.

He appreciated Deputy Commissioner, SP Tirap A.K. Singla, Commandant 1st AR for their co-operation for successful of conduct of Cross Country race.

SP Tirap A.K. Singla termed the drug addiction as un-lawful and social evil and called upon the people to fight against it.

Earlier, in his welcome address Noah Mongku, Secretary DAAT highlighted the importance of games and sports in particular. DIPRO

 

 

Arunachal celebrates National Voters’ Day

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ITANAGAR, Jan 25: Arunachal Pradesh joined the rest of the country in celebrating the National Voters’ Day today. The theme of the 5th National Voter’s Day (NVD) is “Easy Registration, Easy Correction”. The NVD is started from 25 January 2011.

Yupia: The 5th National Voters’ Day was celebrated in a befitting manner here at NIT conference hall. It was organized by the Papum Pare district election office. Attending the celebration, Chief Secretary Ramesh Negi called upon the young voters to exercise their voting rights in a free and fair manner. He said that vote is the most effective tool in the hands of the people to participate in the democratic process of the country. It is the first duty of every citizen to cast their votes without being influenced by considerations of religion, race, caste, community, language or any inducement. He exhorted the young voters to become a responsible citizen of the country.

NIT Director C T Bhunia expressed that digitization of voting system to some extent will helpful in peaceful voting without zero rigging during elections.

Earlier, Chief Electoral Officer Kaling Tayeng highlighted on the importance of National Voters’ Day and said that the objective of the day is to encourage young voters to enroll themselves to participate in the political process of the country and to spread awareness among voters.

ADC B J Duia also spoke on the occasion. Meanwhile, the Chief Secretary Ramesh Negi felicitated 10 young voters with their new EPIC and also awarded certificates and mementoes to winners of essay writing competition. CT Bhunia gave away the certificates and mementoes to the out-standings Booth Level Officers.

Among others joint CEO G Tekseng, SP PN Khrimey and all other head of departments, administrative officers, staffs of election department and students attended the function.

YINGKIONG: The Upper Siang district celebrated the National Voters’ Day at the premises of District Election office at Yingkiong in a simple but impressive function. Besides few numbers of newly enrolled voters, Govt officers and officials including all staffs of District Election Office were present on the occasion.

Tapik Pertin, ADC (HQ) distributed Election Photo Identity Card (EPIC) to the newly enrolled voters on the occasion. Later all the members were administered a pledge for upholding the democratic tradition of the country, dignity of free, fair and peaceful election

TEZU: The National Voters’ Day was celebrated at Govt Higher Secondary School, Tezu in a befitting manner. Speaking on the occasion, ERO M. Pertin explained the purpose of the meeting and highlighted the theme of the 5th National Voter’s Day.

Dr. PC Swain, Associate Professor, IG Govt. College, Tezu appealed the young voters and women to come forward and participate in the electoral process in big way.

M  Pertin, ERO, on behalf of the DEO, administered Voter’s Day pledge to the new voters. He also gave away prize to the winners in the essay competition.

PASIGHAT: ADC Ruchika Katyal administered pledge to maintain decorum of democratic traditions, dignity of free, fair and peaceful voting without fear or allurement to mark the National Voters’ day here today.

In her brief speech, Katyal said in democracy the supreme power is vested in the people directly through elections. East Siang District has set a good example by an impressive voters’ turnout in recent elections. Every vote reassures our democracy and makes democracy stronger and therefore every citizen, who completed the age of 18 should enroll his/her names in the voter list and always cast vote in elections, she advised.

Earlier, EAC Bani Lego informed that awareness campaign was organized in all polling booths for effective participation in the electoral process. Badal Dey, HA (Election) updated the ADC on preparation process and apprised that group discussions and debates were held in JN College and in all secondary and higher secondary schools as a part of awareness.

AALO: The National Voters’ Day was celebrated at Aalo town club in a befitting manner in presence of newly enrolled electors, Govt staff, students and general public. Speaking on the occasion, Deputy Commissioner cum DEO Pige Ligu appealed to all newly enrolled electors to take part in the election process without any fear or favour and requested all the left out persons or youths to enroll themselves in the voters list on attaining the age of 18 years in the next summary revision. He read out the message of Chief Election Commissioner of India on the voter’s day celebration. Earlier, the DC administered the voters pledge to uphold the democratic tradition of our country. Oli Perme, ERO and M. Ete, Lecturer of SFS College, also spoke on the occasion. Prizes to the winners of essay competitions on the  subject “ Importance of Universal Adult Franchise in Democracy”  and EPIC cards were also distributed to the newly enrolled electors to mark the occasion.

KHONSA: Along with the rest of the country, the “National Voters’ Day” was celebrated at Khonsa. Tirap Additional Deputy Commissioner explained the main purpose of celebrating the voter’s day on the occasion. The young citizens should understand the value of their votes and compulsorily enroll their names in the electoral roll, he said.  He also administered the voters pledge to the participants and read out the message of the CEC of India and gave away the prizes for essay, drawing and quiz competition conducted to mark the voter’s day. Earlier, EAC and ERO K Tikhak highlighted the significance of the day and urged the people to elect only those candidates who are honest and have clear image.

NAMSAI: The 5th National Voters’ day was celebrated at Town Club here in presence of Govt staff, public representatives, teachers and students at Namsai Town Club.

In his key note address, District Election Officer cum Deputy Commissioner R K Sharma emphasized to create awareness among each and every voter especially the youth so that their right to franchise is utilized in the formation of a quality democracy. EPIC Cards were distributed to newly enrolled voters of the age group of 18-19 years by DEO, EE PHED T Tok and SDPO Namsai K. Padu. The programme concluded by administering the NVD pledge by the DEO to all people gathered in the program. The National Voters day was also celebrated in all the polling stations of Namsai district.

ROING: The National Voters’ Day was celebrated at Roing with the theme’ “Easy Registration, Easy Correction” at Anchal Samiti Hall. Speaking on the occasion, Lower Dibang Valley District Deputy Commissioner cum District Election Officer, Shiv Kumar exhorted the new voters to exercise their adult franchise responsibly and justly whenever they get chance to vote. He said, “Though Indian democracy is only 68 years old, it is one of the most vibrant among many democratic countries in the world and we must let it continue so by participating in its process all the time”. The DC also administered voter’s pledge to the members present and also felicitated the new enrolled voter’s with their EPIC Cards. Dr Mary Nanom Taloh CO (Election) also spoke on the occasion.

Class 11 & 12 students of various schools who participated in the Essay Writing Competitions on the topic, “Importance of Adult Franchise in Democracy” were also given participatory prize on the occasion.

CHANGLANG: The election department Changlang celebrated the 5th National Voters’ Day here at DIET auditorium, Changlang in a befitting manner.

In a ceremony at DIET Auditorium, SDO N Wangjen, ERO Changlang explained at length the significance of the day as well as the need for voters’ education and awareness. He urged upon the AEROs and BLOs to spread awareness among the voters for their active participation in the electoral process. The AEROs spoke on the occasion. Newly registered voters were felicitated and NVD pledge was administered. The day was also observed in all polling stations in Changlang district with the distribution of EPICs to new voters by EROs, AEROs and BLOs.

 

 

Blood donation camp at RKM

Itanagar, Jan 25: To pay tribute to the Freedom fighter Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose’s on his 118th Birth Day anniversary a voluntary blood donation camp was organized by STEP (Standing Together to Empower People), Naharlagun in association with Ramkrishna Mission Hospital, Itanagar and supported by Volunteers of Arunachal Vivekananda Yuva Shakti, Itanagar.

A total of 76 participants donated blood. Swami VedVidya Nandaji  said that Blood donation is a noble cause and everyone should come forward with a feeling to save life and towards community development.

Secretary RKM Swami Vishweshanandaji appreciated STEP for encouraging people to donate blood. He urged all to contribute for the society and build a strong and healthy nation.

Raesh Jeke, Chairman Arunachal Vivekananda Yuva Shakti, Itanagar impressed with the donors turnout shared his experience since 2008 in the field of voluntary blood collection and how the NGO got recognition at the national level..

Dr. P Ringu, Deputy Director, Department of Health Service, Govt. of Arunachal Pradesh, delivered a technical presentation on blood donation and its advantages aspects.

 

 

The Spiritual Republic of India

We forgot to apply our own formula for building a truly free, happy and cultured nation! This Republic Day, let’s amend our mindset and push for a Spiritual Republic.

M Rajaque Rahman

The Republic Day is round the corner. However skeptical we may be, the images of the tri-colour dotting everywhere from the Rajpath to our childhood schools to the bonnet of a swanky Mercedes to a hand-pulled rickshaw do lift the pride of being an Indian.

For the records, on this day 65 years ago India became a Republic. With the adoption of the Indian Constitution, free India got the roadmap for her forward march. The essence of being a Sovereign Democratic Republic was succinctly captured in his special message by the first President of India Dr Rajendra Prasad. He called for rededicating ourselves to peaceful but sure realization of the dream of establishing a classless, cooperative, free and happy society.

Without being over-cynical and without undermining the patriotic fervour, let’s introspect how have we measured up to the dreams of the captains and soldiers of our freedom struggle. Are we on the same wavelength on their vision of “making the peasants and workers, the toilers and the thinkers fully free, happy and cultured”?

Despite the tremendous technological and economical progress, we are yet to be fully free, happy and cultured. A classless, cooperative, free and happy society appears like an unreal proposition. Is it that the architects of Indian Republic were guided by Utopian ideals? Or is it that we have drifted away somewhere? This country was known for those ideals before foreign invasions destroyed her of inner strength. She was truly a welfare state where everyone was self-reliant, contributing to the state rather than expecting and demanding doles from it. Her Golden Era was compelling enough for Lord Macaulay to acknowledge that he could not find a single beggar, destitute or illiterate person in the country.

So what went wrong? We forgot the basics when we decided to be a Sovereign Democratic Republic! We left out the backbone in drawing up the skeleton of modern India. Though we added the two arms of being Socialist and Secular in 1976, the soul of India continued to crumble without the backbone. We forgot to infuse it with the spirit of spirituality. I wish someone had the vision to build India into a Spiritual Republic.

Without doubt, spirituality is the very backbone of India. It is what Vivekananda saw it as her special genius. It is that which powered India’s preeminence in the world. It is this power that Mahatma Gandhi used to secure us freedom. It’s proven that Socialism, Communism, Capitalism, Consumerism, etc have failed to create a classless, cooperative, free and happy society anywhere in the world. Depression, suicides, disparity, conflicts have only risen with these isms. On the contrary, Indian Spiritualism holds out a hope for the beleaguered world today. Generations of people from all over the world have been coming to India in the hope that its spirituality will help them learn about life and get a true taste of happiness. In it, they have found solace to overcome many ills such as depression, stress, anxiety, professional burnout, addictions, etc. So undoubtedly, we know and own the formula! It’s unfortunate that we forgot to apply it on ourselves!

“Spirituality naturally raises human values and breaks the narrow boundaries of caste, creed, religion and nationality,” says renowned spiritual guru Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, advocating that a revival of spiritual values alone can ensure a happy and cultured society. As history stands, spirituality alone can inspire peaceful revolutions in society, be it in social or political or economic spheres.

It was her spiritual resilience that helped India withstand onslaught from invaders and remain as a country. Her spiritual ethos made it possible for alien religious traditions to flourish, giving everybody the freedom to practice what they believe. This is what exactly a Secular Republic should aspire for. Unfortunately, pseduo-secular politicians of Independent India hijacked the spiritual anchor and pursued a distorted concept of secularism. Instead of harnessing India’s inherent unifying values, they played into the temptations of vote-bank politics. Caught in the political compulsion of being “secularly correct”, India's ruling class developed some kind of an allergy to anything spiritual. This dealt a body-blow to the character of the Republic.

“When spirituality and politics don't go hand in hand, then we have corrupt politicians and pseudo-religious leaders, says Sri Sri. And, this is exactly what has happened in India in the last few years which witnessed appeasement and polarization, instead of a focus on policies that uplift every citizen irrespective of caste, creed, region or religion, bluntly undermining the avowed ideals of Indian Republic.

At a time when society is divided on the lines of rigid political and religious ideologies, spirituality can unite the hearts and minds. India can surely bounce back to her Golden Era by anchoring itself again to her spiritual ideals. Many of her woes which are threatening the very concept of India will find their own solutions if we reorient ourselves building a Republic based on spiritual values of belongingness, responsibility, and compassion, caring, and sharing. This Republic Day, let’s amend our mindset and pray for a Spiritual Republic. Tathastu! (A former journalist, the author is a fulltime volunteer of the Art of Living. He can be reached at rajaque@gmail.com. The views expressed are personal)

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