January 26th was Republic Day in India commemorating their constitution.
Schools had special ceremonies. Girls wore little flags in their ponytails. Adults wore tiny flag pins. Politicians had speeches, and some businesses were closed but restaurants were crowded. India’s colors of green, white and orange decorated the streets and highways.
In the capital, New Delhi, Prime Minister Modi and 10 Asia alliance dignitaries watched the national parade pass by. We had 4 hours to wait for our hotel room so we decided to watch the parade on TV. It was delightfully impressive, as it was intended to be.
There were a variety of unique military bands. They marched with rigid precision in an exaggerated style. Some played the usual marching band music. Others played in distinctive Indian style. But to my utter surprise one of the units played Scottish bagpipes in full Scottish array. Apparently it is one of the oldest traditional units.
Next came the massive military machinery – tanks, radar system units and mobile computer stations. There was a display of aerial acrobatics overhead. There was an obvious presence of female officers on many of the floats. The military was encouraging opportunity for women. The motorcycle brigade displayed acrobatic stunts while in motion.
Lastly the floats, or tabloids, streamed by. Some represented the diverse cultures of India. Only Africa has more diversity of cultures than India. These floats were colorful, complete with musicians, dancers, and bright traditional costumes with all ages, both male and female. Think Rose Bowl parade. The Asian cultures are integrated into India life by Nepal and China on their northern borders. Consequently some of the floats were distinctively Chinese looking.
Two hours later the parade sadly came to an end. The coat-wearing crowd dissipated. Down jackets and earmuffs are common at 65 degrees. I felt a deep sense of pride and hope as this emerging nation and its culture moves forward. It continues to suffer through the labor pains of transitioning into a position of world power and influence. In just 2 years India is projected to be the most populace country in the world, surpassing China. The average age will be 27 years old with 65% under 35 and 41% under 25.
With these numbers in mind, I used some of my time with the youth Sunday School class to discuss this phenomenon. Unfortunately statistics also show only 14% of young people are registered to vote. I exhorted them to change that statistic, get involved and make their voice heard. Shaping the future of India is a privilege and opportunity that is golden. They are a transitional generation. God bless India! (by Nancy Schmoyer) (February 4, 2018 Hyderabad, India)
Psalm 33:12 Blessed is the nation whose God is the LORD, the people he chose for his inheritance.