Akshay Kumar, the son of an army officer, talks about the importance of democracy on Republic Day. The Bollywood actor says democracy is India’s backbone.
Military motorcycle stunt riders dressed in the color of the national flag perform during the annual Republic Day parade at Rajpath in New Delhi. AP Photo
“The kind of power it gives to the common man is amazing. I honestly feel that it’s possibly the biggest achievement by our country since Independence,” says the actor, adding that democracy “also comes with a lot of responsibilities” for citizens.
“Come to think of it, it’s a great leveller in many ways,” he says.
Akshay’s father (Hari Om Bhatia) was an army officer. And that’s why, he says, that love for the country and patriotism runs in his blood.
“On a lighter note, I don’t think many people would roam around with the colours of the flag on their face. But seriously, it’s not like I am patriotic only because my father was an army man. A civilian can also be equally patriotic. I know a lot of people who have very strong feelings for our country,” says Akshay.
We’d play cricket at Red Fort
Recalling the Republic Day celebrations at Delhi’s Red Fort, Akshay says he remembers “running to the Red Fort” (since he lived in Old Delhi) on Republic Day and Independence Day because the place used to be bubbling with great energy and patriotic fervour.
“Now, due to security issues, there are a lot of restrictions around Lal Qila. I also remember playing cricket after all the functions. The space used to be completely open to the public. This Republic Day, I only wish that things become safe again for the Red Fort to be open to all,” he adds.
Akshay Kumar says he “doesn’t have to do anything special” to explain the importance of Republic Day to his son, Aarav.
“I live in a building (in Juhu) which has people from all communities — Gujarati, Sindhi, Marathi. And right from the beginning, we had decided that all the major occasions, including Republic Day, will be celebrated by all of us in the building’s compound. Aarav has good knowledge about the importance of Republic Day too,” he says.