Friday, January 26, 2001

Republic Day

The 51st Indian Republic Day function at the Indian Embassy was more sombre than usual, even the turn-out was noticeably less.Not many people knew about the earthquake and the news of the devastations in India had not yet circulated. The smaller crowd, probably, had more to do with the aftermath of the December problems. Security at the function was tight - some may have feared disturbances and decided to stay away. I don't subscribe to the view expresssed by some that people didn't come as a mark of protest about the Embassy's role ( or rather the lack of it ) during the riots. Didn't quite understand the reference to Ayub Khan's system of indirect represantation in the President's speech. Not sure if it had something to do with Kashmir ( Later learnt - it was apropos some discussion in the Constitution Review Committee of the Parliament. Wonder why this President continues to take such regular pot-shots at the government through his public speeches. To that extent some of the criticism of him by the BJP seems justified that he is toeing the Congress line. Surprising that it comes from an ex-Foreign Service Officer ). The Ambassador's Speech was short and pithy - making a telling point about the recent violence. The evening's reception at the India House had the usual crowd of politicians, bureucrats and the Kats cocktail circuit regulars. Nina went for the Odisee Recital by Madhavi Mudgal and was very impressed. Now she has changed her mind about teaching Jaya Kathak and wants to enlist her for Odisee instead. Tho' Jaya herself remains a great fan of the other Mudgal - Shobha having fallen in love ( like her Dad ) with her latest album Maan Ke Manjire, to which she sings along quite well.