Tree of Unity: Republic Day of India

The Indian Constitution turns 70 today. It’s unimaginable how 500+ princely states scattered all across the subcontinent, with 30+ major languages (definition of major language: spoken by at least a million people), and spanning almost every religion in the world, was able to come together and form a country that ended up becoming the largest democracy on Earth!

Growing up in India as a kid, we only had 2 TV channels. Channel 1 was National TV that was owned by the central government and broadcast everywhere. And Channel 2 was Metro TV, a terrestrial broadcast local to the city I grew up in and owned by the local government.

Channel 2 only came on a couple of times a day. Rest of the time if we switched to the channel, it would show white noise, or a color calibration screen with a loud continuous beep sound. Channel 1 had a little more programming, but it also went off air a few times a day. So we would go out and play. When it was time, we would all come back home and eagerly sit in front of the tv, and stare at the static screen, waiting for the broadcast to start.

Anyone who grew up in India in the 80s/90s has a lot of common ground because we all watched the same television, no matter where in the country we lived, and what languages we spoke. A lot of the programming was intentionally sanctioned to help educate the population, help everyone learn about each other and the vastness of the country, and the importance of unity. (In the late 90s, cable television became a thing and we started to diverge. And then came the internet and then YouTube and then now WhatsApp and TikTok, we are more fragmented than we have ever been).

Here’s an example of a video we all had to watch, at least once a week, as there was nothing else to switch to or to distract us 😇 (Who remembers this one? 😊)


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