January 26 -- it's Republic Day in India today, and the most spectacular national event of the day is the extremely colorful parade along the capital city New Delhi's main avenue, which was called Kingsway in the imperial British era, and is now called Rajpath (meaning King's Way in Hindi, of course!).
Obviously, the authorities responsible for re-naming the boulevard couldn't find an attractive Hindi expression for Republic Road, and thought it was all right to continue the historic royal connection -- after all, other monarchs had ruled in Delhi long before the British Empire had materialized! (Anyway, they did re-name the Queensway -- which crossed the Kingsway almost exactly at the middle point -- as Janpath, meaning People's Road).
On one side of Rajpath are the imposing palace of the President, and the twin wings of the Secretariat, which -- like the English language -- are glorious gifts of Great Britain to independent India. On the other side of Rajpath is the India Gate, the World War memorial, which has a striking resemblance to the Arc de Triomphe in Paris at one end of the Champs Elysees.
There was a time when I had attended the Republic Day Parade continuously for three decades (except for a break of 4 years when I was living far away from the Capital); and what I remember most vividly about the whole ceremony are the sight and sound of the colorful military bands marching along the King's Way. Of course, I do continue to watch them on national television on this day every year!
(to be continued)