A few hours ago, a mutineer who covers the Executive Branch sent me this:
For Immediate Release
January 25, 2009
STATEMENT BY THE PRESIDENT
Message on the occasion of India Republic Day
As the people of India and people of Indian origin in America and around the world celebrate Republic Day on January 26, I send the warmest greetings of the American people to the people of India. Together, we celebrate our shared belief in democracy, liberty, pluralism, and religious tolerance.
Our nations have built broad and vibrant partnerships in every field of human endeavor. Our rapidly growing and deepening friendship with India offers benefits to all the world’s citizens as our scientists solve environmental challenges together, our doctors discover new medicines, our engineers advance our societies, our entrepreneurs generate prosperity, our educators lay the foundation for our future generations, and our governments work together to advance peace, prosperity, and stability around the globe.
It is our shared values that form the bedrock of a robust relationship across peoples and governments. Those values and ideals provide the strength that enables us to meet any challenge, particularly from those who use violence to try to undermine our free and open societies. As the Indian people celebrate Republic Day all across India, they should know that they have no better friend and partner than the people of the United States. It is in that spirit, that I also wish Prime Minister Singh a quick recovery.
Incidentally, if you were unaware of the latest regarding the health of Prime Minister Singh, here you go (thanks, Manoje):
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Saturday successfully underwent a coronary bypass surgery at the All India Institute of Medical Science in New Delhi as doctors removed 10 blockages in his heart…
Dr Ramakanth Panda, the chief of the Asian Heart Institute in Mumbai, headed the surgical team comprising doctors that performed the beating heart surgery. The prime minister had undergone his first heart surgery in 1990 and then had an angioplasty in 2004. This week, he complained of chest plain and the angiography revealed 10 blockages, which prompted the doctors to opt for a surgery. [rediff]
I am ridiculously delighted to learn that the surgical team was headed by a panda. I love pandas.
For those who crave some learnin’ about the reason for the thoughtful press release:
The Republic Day of India is a national holiday of India to mark the adoption of the Constitution of India and the transition of India from a British Dominion to a republic on January 26, 1950. It is one of the three national holidays in India…
To mark the importance of this occasion, every year a grand parade is held in the capital, New Delhi, from the Raisina Hill near the Rashtrapati Bhavan (President’s Palace), along the Rajpath, past India Gate and on to the historic Red Fort. The different regiments of the Army, the Navy and the Air Force march past in all their finery and official decorations. The President of India who is the Commander-in-Chief of the Indian Armed Forces, takes the salute. Floats exhibiting the cultures of the various states and regions of India are in the grand parade, which is broadcast nationwide on television and radio. Also part of the parade are children who win the National Bravery Award for the year. The parade also includes other vibrant displays and floats and traditionally ends with a flypast by Indian Air Force jets. [wiki]
Unfortunately, the “National Bravery Award” is not given out to those who have the intestinal fortitude to admit to their parents that they’re not going to med school. Totally sounds like that’s what it could be though, right? Yeah, not so much. I looked it up for us and discovered that its back-story is a lot more interesting than anything as prosaic as disappointing one’s parental units:
The origin of the award dates back to October 2, 1957, when India’s first Prime minister, Jawaharlal Nehru, was watching a performance at Delhi’s Ramlila grounds, at the Red Fort, and a fire broke out in a shamiana (decorated tent) through a short circuit. Subsequently, a 14-year-old boy , a part of the student’s scout team, promptly took out his knife, and ripped open the burning shamiana, saving saved lives of hundreds of trapped people; this incident inspired Pt. Nehru initiate the awards, he asked the authorities to constitute an award to honour brave children from all over the country, and the tradition has continued hence. [wiki]
But, uh, back to the lecture at hand. Perfection is perfected, so I’m ‘a let ‘em understand. From a young G’s perspective, maybe in 2010, President #44 can be in India for Republic Day. You see, a different head of state is honored as “chief guest”, each year. Last year, it was Nursultan Nazarbayev, the President of Kazakhstan, and in 2007, it was Mr. Carla Bruni. A girl can dream…