Govt plans to celebrate patriotism, diversity ahead of Independence Day

  • Smriti Kak Ramachandran, Hindustan Times, New Delhi
  • Updated: Jul 01, 2016 13:56 IST
Prime Minister Narendra Modi addressing the nation from the ramparts of the Red Fort on the occasion of 69th Independence Day celebration. (HT File Photo)

For the upcoming 70th Independence Day, the centre is organising a week-long commemoration of the ‘swadeshi’ (Indian) sentiment.

On Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s instruction to involve the “people of the nation” in the celebration, the highlights of the programme will be patriotic film screenings, exhibitions showcasing the might of the three armed forces, and food and cultural festivals that capture India’s diversity.

“The idea is to generate a patriotic mood, and promote the rich cultural diversity of our country. The Prime Minister wants the general public to participate and not let the celebrations remain an event orchestrated by the government,” an official said.

The historic Rajpath in Lutyens’ Delhi will be the venue for this inter-ministry event, which will kick-off a few days before August 15. The Prime Minister’s address to the nation and the flag-hoisting ceremony will be held according to tradition from the ramparts of the Red Fort.

“As was done during the Republic Day celebration at the Red Fort grounds, the tourism ministry has been roped in to organise a food festival, curating delicacies from various states. There will also be a pavilion dedicated to the three services, showcasing the valour of the men and their weaponry,” said an official. “The common theme, however, will be highlighting what makes India unique.”

The only hiccup so far is the disagreement over the venue for the screening of the patriotic films. While the defence ministry, which is anchoring the programme, is keen to have the screenings at Rajpath, alongside the other events, the information and broadcasting ministry is rooting for a “proper venue” such as the Sirifort Auditorium.

The ministry’s film division, which will organise the film festival, is learnt to have conveyed its disapproval of an open-air screening, citing logistical challenges and weather concerns.

Earlier, in January, to mark the Republic Day, the government had organised a four-day festival at the Red Fort, showcasing cuisine and culture of different states.

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