Why India’s Republic Day, is Republic Day for the World.

The Indian Constitution is a Constitution for the whole world, for Patriots of the world. Worth dying for, but even more, worth living for to make it a reality – because one in six humans on this planet lives under that Constitution.

I write to you from Washington DC, celebrating India’s Republic Day from the Indian Embassy. Republic Day celebrates the adoption of the Constitution of India.

As Indians focus on what American President Obama said in India, they miss the most powerful and important speech of his trip – given by the President of India quoting an American in his Republic Day speech:

“But it pains me to see that Mother India is not respected by her own children when it comes to the safety of women. Rabindranath Tagore saw women not only as the deities of the household fire, but also the flame of the soul itself.

As Benjamin Franklin had once said: "Justice will not be served until those who are unaffected are as outraged as those who are". Every Indian must take a pledge to protect the honour of women from violence of any kind. Only a nation that respects and empowers its women can become a global power”.

When I was schooled on India we had to take such a pledge. A couple of years ago at a speech for the City Hindu Society at Barclays Bank I asked all the Hindu men in invoking Lord Ram to stand and take such a pledge. It’s time to renew that Presidential demand and ensure the pledge throughout India in every school, every day.

As I ready to visit the grave of John F Kennedy, here in Washington, I suggest we recall the words of that US President, who said ‘…the belief that the rights of man come not from the generosity of the state, but from the hand of God.’

In an amendment to the words of that American President we must pledge, whether citizens of India, or of the world, also this Republic Day ‘And let every nation know… that we shall pay any price, bear any burden, meet any hardship, support any friend, oppose any foe, to assure the survival and the success of our women. Let the word go forth…..that the torch free of the burden of discrimination will be passed to a new generation of Indians.’

As that American President also said, ‘…let us go forth to lead the land we love, asking His blessing and His help, but knowing that here on earth God’s work must truly be our own.’

Alpesh Patel


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