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What does India mean to you?

What word comes to mind when you say ‘India’? We put the question to readers in an online HT poll. Pride came out on top. Here are some of the other words that also got the popular vote.

delhi Updated: Jan 26, 2013 09:04 IST
HT Weekend

‘Pride’, ‘Love’ and ‘Respect’ were the three most popular words that emerged out of an online poll that Hindustan Times conducted in the last week.

To mark India’s 64th Republic Day HT asked readers what describes Indianness or patriotism for them in one word.

The age group of 18-29 which got 41% of the responses felt that ‘identity’ and ‘honour’ sum up Indianness for them. Interestingly, for the age group 45-64 that formed 22% of the respondents, ‘Nationalism’, ‘Love’ and ‘Selfless service’ were the most common.

Perhaps keeping in mind the current mood of the nation, ‘Justice’, ‘Equality’ and ‘Honesty’ were the other popular words.

The essence of India, in one word:
Prominent Indians tell us what defines India for them:
The city of Delhi for its history and cultural diversity comes to my mind the moment we talk about India -- Sadia Dehlvi, writer

Secularism is India -- Mani Shankar Aiyar, MP

The Indian Nod — it’s never a yes, or a no, or even a maybe! -- Cyrus Sahukar, actor

India means democracy -- Kunal Kohli, filmmaker

Universal (ancient yet modern) -- Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, spiritual guru

The Indian kurta is what defines Indianness for me -- Imtiaz Ali, filmmaker

Fascinating is the word to describe India. If anyone asks why, they should read EM Forster’s A Passage to India to understand -- Salman Khurshid, External Affairs Minister

Ayurveda sums up the essence of India for me. The herbal heritage of India has astounded the world -- Shahnaz Husain, beauty expert

Great potential, challenges and the culture that is so intangible is what India truly stands for. -- Arundhati Nag, Theatre personality

Bindi is the ultimate graphic that establishes Indian identity and transcends borders. -- Rohit Chawla, photographer

Always being open and available to the idea of India sums up the essence -- Raghu Rai, photographer

Ever wondered how other countries celebrate Republic Day? Here’s a look at some:

ITALY
Republic Day in Italy, also known as the Fest della Repubblica is observed every year on June 2. Since Italy gained its republic status after 85 years of monarchy, annually the Republic Day is regarded as the day of great importance and reverence. The entire nation celebrates it and the day is marked by ceremonies where a grand military parade is held in the city of Rome.

Republic of Turkey
Turkey became a republic on October 29, 1923. For a long time the country which was ruled by the Ottomans finally amended the Turkish constitution on the day and the country became a republic.

The Republic Day celebrations in the country are marked by organising celebration a day in advance. All the government offices, schools remain closed for the day. There are fascinating fireworks that are lit up in the skies to mark the day and the country men enjoy the festival-like atmosphere that goes on for the entire day.

IRAN
April 1, in Iran is celebrated as the the country’s Islamic republic day. The day which is observed as a public holiday is marked by an yearly gathering in the country there are also various activities and rallies that are organised throughout the country. In the recent years several social groups have also started organising educational campaigns that are mainly aimed at instilling the importance and value of the cultural history of the nation amongst the youth. The day being a public holiday is also a day when people meet each other socially and catch up with friends.

BRAZIL
November 15 is observed as the republic day in Brazil. The day commemorates the establishing of Brazilian republic on this day in 1889. Observed as a holiday, traditionally people like getting dressed in the yellow and green — the colours of their national flag. Government buildings are decorated and parades and folk performances are held as a mark of celebration.