Mumbai: Bandra school principals to attend R-Day parade in Delhi

After pulling off a smaller version of the capital’s Republic Day parade in Bandra for the past two years, 15 school principals have been invited to attend the real thing in Delhi this year

While most schools put in the effort to mark Republic Day with flag hoisting and other activities on campus, schools in Bandra have been going the extra step for the past two years, hosting a miniature version of the Republic Day parade held at Rajpath in Delhi.

Defence ministry officials were so impressed with the students’ march past last year, that they invited the school principals to attend the Republic Day parade in Delhi
Defence ministry officials were so impressed with the students’ march past last year, that they invited the school principals to attend the Republic Day parade in Delhi

Officials from the defence ministry who attended the march past were so impressed that they have now invited 15 of the school principals to attend the parade in the capital city this year. “The Bandra Inter-school Republic Day (BIRD) Committee has always been fired up with the idea of rekindling the spirit of Republic Day among students and citizens.

Our parades were a way of bringing more enthusiasm amongst youngsters about the importance of this day,” said Fr Jude Fernandes, principal of St Stanislaus High School in Bandra. Over the past two years, the number of schools participating in the parade has kept rising, pointing to a growing interest in the activity.

“In 2013, 18 schools had participated, which increased to 25 last year. This year, over 30 schools have already registered with us, and we are happy to learn that schools from other wards are also trying to replicate our parade,” Fr Fernandes added.

In 2013, the first year the march past was held in Bandra, the then governor, K Sankaranarayanan, had felicitated all participating schools. Last year, the organisers and participants found even more appreciation from the chief guests from the defence ministry, who began the process to invite the principals to Delhi for Republic Day.

This year’s celebrations, of course, will be made all the more special by the presence of US President Barack Obama at Rajpath on January 26. “Our effort has always been to have an event which is similar to the New Delhi Rajpath parade. The fact that we will now be attending that same parade brings so much joy to all of us,” said Fr Fernandes.

Republic Day in Bandra
While the principals will be in the national capital for the day, the Republic Day parade will be replaced by another interesting activity this year. In an attempt to reach out to even more people this year, school students will visit public spaces such as gardens, bus stops, hospitals, etc, to distribute miniature flags and spread the Republic Day spirit.

The schools have already placed an order for 2.5 lakh pin-up flags. While the older students will visit public spaces, younger children will distribute flags in their residential societies. “We want to see our event getting bigger and more energetic with every passing year, and we have been getting a good response for the same,” said Fr Fernandes.

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