Tri-coloured spectacle with grey backdrop at Red Fort

August 15th, 2008 - 12:07 pm ICT by IANS  

A file-photo of Manmohan Singh

New Delhi, Aug 15 (IANS) As tri-coloured balloons soared high in the grey skies and over 3,000 children standing in the formation of a fluttering national flag cheered loudly, India’s main Independence Day celebration here was more than just a colourful spectacle. It was a symbol of the nation’s spirit. Friday morning dawned amid apprehensions about the weather. Grey skies appeared to pose a threat to the celebrations at the majestic 17th-century Red Fort from where successive prime ministers have addressed the nation on this day since independence in August 1947.

However, the weather gods were kind. And although a little humid, the morning’s events unfolded as per schedule.

School children and the National Cadet Corps (NCC) cadets had worked hard for this big day and were at the venue long before any of the other guests. They stood tall with pride as political leaders, diplomats and others who attended the function watched the national flag being hoisted. The national anthem was heard with rapt attention.

In his adress to the nation, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh spoke about unity, terrorism, global warming and the economy. He had the undivided attention of all - except a few fidgety hands among the saffron white and green attired children who tried fanning themselves in the muggy weather.

Their enthusiasm, however, reached a hilt when the prime minister asked them to repeat “Jai Hind” three times after him.

Leading the gathered crowd thereafter, they sang the national anthem, creating a charged atmosphere even as the national flag fluttered in the breeze in harmony.

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