With all my thinking about democracy and its underpinnings, it totally slipped my mind that the 60th Republic Day was approaching. It is worth celebrating any democracy’s robust survival. This Republic Day is especially important, following as it does terrorist attacks of last November.
India, like its friend the United States, has many problems. Fortunately, many of the worst problems have better chance of being addressed in a robust democracy. India has a long history of loving freedom, of course. 1,900 years ago Arrian wrote:
This also is remarkable in India, that all Indians are free, and no Indian at all is a slave. In this the Indians agree with the Lacedaemonians. Yet the Lacedaemonians have Helots for slaves, who perform the duties of slaves; but the Indians have no slaves at all, much less is any Indian a slave.
Her freedom is ever fragile. Internal inequalities and injustices threat it, as they do here. India has external threats that press more strongly, though. She has been attacked many times, and constantly threatened, yet she still stands, the world’s largest democracy.
May I join my President in saying that the Indian people “should know that they have no better friend and partner than the people of the United States.”