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Should Delhi’s Republic Day parade be held in a state capital every year?

As India celebrates its 71st Republic Day of the Constitution coming into force, many ask if this extravagant display in New Delhi is really necessary in the 21st century.

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As India celebrates its 71st Republic Day of the Constitution coming into force with chief guest Jair Bolsonaro, the Brazilian president, many ask if this extravagant display in New Delhi is really necessary in the 21st century. Others say it needs to be trimmed. In 2014, the central government spent Rs 320 crore for the four-hour parade.

ThePrint asks: Should Delhi’s Republic Day parade be held in a state capital every year?

Idea of holding Republic Day parade in different states shouldn’t be encouraged. It will drain resources

Madhuparna Das | TwitterMadhuparna Das
Senior assistant editor, ThePrint

States like West Bengal organise their own parades every year. When Mamata Banerjee came to power, she started organising one; while the Left Front did not.

So, if the Republic Day parade is organised in a different state every year, it would create a direct confrontation between the Centre and the states, especially those that are not ruled by the party in power at the Centre.

Moreover, organising a Republic Day parade in states will incur huge costs, and be a drain on the exchequer’s resources.

At the same time, making Republic Day arrangements afresh in states will inconvenience public life there, including the closure of air spaces. So, it shouldn’t be encouraged.

Taking Delhi’s Republic Day parade to different state capitals each year means the Prime Minister, his team, the entire security set up, and the army of people organising the programme will have to move to new locations, every year. This does not make sense given the financial implications. Moreover, the Republic Day parade is best held in the capital of the country as all states are part of the republic.

Tidying up a new city for R-Day every year could leave thousands homeless, like it happened before CWG in Delhi

Simrin Sirur
Reporter, ThePrint

I had never thought of this before, so my instinctive responsewas ‘why not?’. The Republic Day parade is a spectacle, and an exhibition of India’s cultural diversity and military discipline to mark the day the Constitution came into effect. Every state celebrates Republic Day, but the finesse is reserved for Delhi. Moving the parade to other state capitals every year could be an opportunity to improve state capacity in those areas, explore the diversity of each state, and make the parade more accessible to people who can’t otherwise travel to Delhi.

It’s an idea worth considering, especially if the argument to hold it in Delhi has to do with the convenient layout of the Central Vista, which is due to change under the Narendra Modi government anyway.

Having said that, organising the parade in different states could be a logistical nightmare, and might require more attention and funds than necessary. Plus, a hasty effort to “tidy” up the city of choice could render thousands homeless, as had happened in Delhi ahead of the Commonwealth Games in 2010.

The idea of holding the parade in different state capitals every year should be warmed up to, but with careful consideration. Until then, holding it in Delhi makes sense, for the sake of convenience.

No place in India can match Rajpath’s grandeur, and no need to tinker with the tradition just for the sake of it

Snehesh Alex Philip 
Senior Associate Editor, ThePrint

No, the Republic Day parade should not be moved out from the national capital if at all one wants to continue with the Stalinist parade.

There is a grandeur about the majestic Rajpath that no place in India can match. There is a tradition in place that shouldn’t be tinkered with just for the sake of it.

The parade overlooks India Gate with the beautiful Raisina Hill in the background. It culminates at the Red Fort from where the Prime Minister delivers his Independence Day speech.

Also, the Custodian of the Constitution is the President, who resides on the Raisina Hill.

The celebration is not just limited to the parade. There is a wreath-laying ceremony at the National War Memorial, which has the names of all those soldiers who laid down their lives fighting for the Indian republic.

Moreover, the logistics involved in organising the Republic Day parade are immense and the parade is one of the primary duties of the Army’s Delhi Area. The security is of utmost concern and city has the wherewithal to ensure the safety of thousands of people attending the celebration, including foreign dignitaries, the Chief Guest, Prime Minister and the entire cabinet.

It will highlight what Indians take for granted but which often bewilders the world – the country’s heterogeneity

Rohini Swamy
Associate Editor, ThePrint

No other occasion comes close to being a testimony to the rich cultural heritage and diversity of India like the Republic Day parade, held every year in Delhi. It is a true tribute to the richness of the Indian spirit of unity in diversity.

Hosting the Republic Day parade in different state capitals will bring attention to local cultures and could also help attractinvestments at a time when India is pushing for more FDI.

Besides giving the parade the richness of “local flavour”, the Republic Day parade will  also serve to highlight new regions in the international arena.

The meeting between Chinese President Xi Jinping and Prime Minister Narendra Modi in Mamallapuram has brought international attention to a tourist location that has the potential to offer significant commercial and economic boost to the people of that area. Similarly, focussing beyond Delhi can have a big positive impact on India’s other states, both from a business as well as cultural perspective.

Finally, this will also highlight an aspect that Indians take for granted but often bewilders the world – the range of heterogeneity and cultural richness in India. This can serve as a great boost for brand India and truly present it as a bastion of democracy.

Not only will some states be unable to meet expenses but parade could become a tug of war with Centre

Jyoti Yadav 
Correspondent, ThePrint

The debate over celebrating the Republic Day in states outside the national capital is not new. Both events are already celebrated at local, block, district and state levels. Those who cannot come to Delhi to see the parade live, watch it on TV at home. So there’s hardly a feeling of alienation. There are two reasons why the Republic Day parade is not held outside Delhiand why it’s not a good idea to do so.

First, organising such a big event will be a bit expensive for the states. Some states might not be able to bear the burden of the expenses that will be incurred on security and other arrangements related to the parade. Some states might agree to do it while there could be others that might not agree with the proposal.

Second, the selection of a state every year to hold the Republic Day parade might give rise to unnecessary politics. How will the host state be decided? What will be the order of selection? A state that isn’t ruled by the party in power at the Centre might claim that it is being overlooked due to political vendetta. All in all, the celebration could very well turn into a political tool. So, I feel it is better if the Republic Day parade continues to be organised in the country’s capital New Delhi every year.

Also read: Republic Day military parades: outdated Soviet-era show or tradition worth preserving?

By Pia Krishnankutty, journalist with ThePrint

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  1. Most nations have some or other unique way of exhibiting nationalism. Even ‘progressive’ Britain has elaborate annual Remembrance Day ceremony that is not just limited to its capital but takes place all over the country, even in the smallest of towns. Veterans march with school kids, and honour the soldiers who died defending their country. The pomp and ceremony is a treat for the eyes and ears.

  2. One feels diffident saying this in these hyper nationalist times. However, honestly am not a fan of this Soviet era extravaganza which disrupts normal life in the Capital for a few days. As Events go, this one would be hard to beat.

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