India celebrates January 26th every year as her Republic Day to mark the date when the Constitution of India came into force. The constitution was adopted on January 26th, 1950 with a democratic government system. It was this day in 1930 when the Declaration of Indian Independence (Purna Swaraj) was proclaimed by the Indian National Congress.
The Indian embassy in Baghdad organizes the flag hoisting ceremony on the morning at the embassy residence and a reception in the afternoon. I received emailed invitation to attend the ceremony and reception a week ago. The Indian embassy and the residence are in our neighbourhood. I walked from my office to the embassy residence for the Flag hoisting ceremony scheduled at 8:30 am.
Today is the 66th Republic Day of India. The Flag hoisting ceremony started with hoisting of the Indian flag by Ambassador H.E. Ajay Kumar followed by singing of national anthem by all the Indians present there. There is a very small Indian community in Baghdad. Most of the Indians in Iraq are in Kurdistan region.
It was then followed by reading of the President’s message to the Nation by the Ambassador. The printed message of the President to the Nation was also given to the attendees. The embassy arranges for breakfast for the guests of the ceremony. They served us nice hot pakoras, falafel and tea. We had some small chat with Ambassador Ajay Kumar, HOC DV Singh and others and then I returned to my office.
This time the reception is scheduled at 5:30 pm. For last several years the reception was from 3.00 pm. I went to the embassy residence at 5:20 pm for the reception. The reception was attended by dignitaries from other embassies, Iraqi political establishments and a tiny cross-section of the local Indian community in Baghdad. National anthem was played. Speeches were delivered on India-Iraq relationships. The function ended with Indian dinner that included Chicken Butter Masala, Chicken tikka, Paneer, Dal, Pulao & Paratha besides other side dishes. The meal was supplied by a restaurant run by our friend Vivekanand inside International Zone. We also had a nice chat with our friend Akhtar as he was waiting for his car to arrive. Akhtar is a frequent visitor to Baghdad as he is running a business here.
I walked back to my home in the evening. It’s a very sad evening for me as it was this evening ten years ago when my mother left us for her eternal abode. We were then staying in Jamshedpur as I was then posted there. I miss you, Maa!
I wish Happy Republic Day to all my fellow Indians. Vande Mataram! Jai Hind!