22February2019

Andaman Chronicle

The Daily Diary of the Islands

On this Republic Day…

On this Republic Day, as we salute and celebrate the making of the Constitution of India, I remember the 2001 earthquake; in Ahmedabad, Gujarat, many tall buildings fell, some of them face down like a pack of cards. The reason for the fall? Weak foundations!

Today as loftier and lankier buildings speck the Indian skies, one finds that before these skyscrapers get started, the deeper go the foundations, and sometimes peering down into one of these huge cavities, it is like a huge city at work below! Much labour and lots of material is used to make the foundation so solid, so strong that the building above, which will soon rise, can climb to glorious heights, resting assured on a sound, sturdy and secure base.

Later, we the public, marvel at the alluring architecture, beautiful balconies, soaring height and glamorous design.

But..

All this progressive work or design will only remain if the foundation is sound.

What happens if after some years the residents bring in a new contractor,who struts around with his fifty-six inch chest and says, “We need to fiddle with the foundation!” Sounds foolish isn’t it?

“I can make the building even more beautiful!It will be the envy of the world!” he shouts.

“How?” ask the delighted residents, shivering with excitement, trembling with anticipation.

“By changing the foundation! Moving a load bearing pile here, taking out a stone and putting in a mud brick, and changing the steel to timber!”

And the people, dreaming and envisaging a transformed edifice, agree.

You and I can only imagine what will happen as the contractor starts his work!

We are living in such a building right now. A building called India! Built on a Constitution, strong, robust and durable! Over the years, this building we live in has stood tall and formidable compared to the ones built around us: Buildings constructed by Pakistan and Sri Lanka and Bangladesh, all erected around the same time, but which fall again and again and again.

Ours stands tall!

And then comes the contractor’s cry, “I am making the building even more beautiful!” he shouts from below with his machinery rapidly at work, “Soon you will have bullet speed lifts! 15 lakhs in every resident’s bank account! No non-veg neighbours!”

“The building is shaking?” whisper the residents.

“Keep dreaming, what I promised you!”mutters the contractor smiling at his new sub-contractor.

And the building shakes and totters as Mr Contractor and his sub-contractor dig at the very foundation that has kept us strong, sturdy and strapping, till now!

On this Republic day, as we remember the 2001 earthquake where in Ahmedabad, Gujarat, many tall buildings fell, some of them face down like a pack of cards, let us vow to keep our time tested Foundation called our Constitution,intact..! 

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