MUMBAI: Since one week, the children of Sanghvi Majestic housing society in Matunga have been meeting to practise their cricket strokes after dinner. The apartment will organize its annual Sanghvi Premier League cricket tournament on Republic Day. As always, competition is fierce and there are prizes to be won.

Various housing colonies focus attention on Republic Day celebrations rather than New Year festivities, mainly to keep the feeling of patriotism aflame within the younger generation.

“Sporting activity builds a feeling of solidarity and healthy competition among the youth. We have seven teams comprising 80-odd participants who play various matches through the day,” says Mamta Sanghvi, a member of the ladies’ social committee of Sanghvi Majestic

This year, the society has extended festivities owing to the long weekend. “We normally hold our annual society dinner the same night. However, this time we will host the feast at a banquet hall on Sunday and reserve Monday for sports and games, including lotto and musical chairs,” says Mamta.

A century-old chawl near Chandanwadi is celebrating the golden jubilee of its Republic Day festivities. Pandurang Sakpal, who is secretary of the Kalyanji Lalji chawl committee, says, “For generations, the children and youth of the chawl have been actively leading our January 26 celebrations. They all join the flag-hoisting ceremony in the morning and sing ‘Jana gana mana’, after which we have games and sports for the little ones. The evening is set aside for our annual Satyanarayan mahapuja. The fiftieth anniversary has everyone excited.”

Sakpal says police colonies typically celebrate Republic Day with solemnity and fervour. Youth affiliated to Ganeshotsav mandals across Mumbai host flag hoisting events as well.

Enthusiasm for this proud ceremony seems to be waning across many enclaves as people prefer to sleep in during the holiday. Certain apartments in Lokhandwala Complex now host the ritual at 10am rather than 7.30am, while others have given up due to poor attendance.

Dadar’s Silver Beach apartment is struggling valiantly to keep up the tradition. Chairperson Sushila Shah says, “Until a decade ago, we would have sports and games like ‘What’s The Good Word’ for children. Now we only hoist the flag at 10am, still few adults come. The children still like to attend, though. Somebody prepares a short speech while another sings a patriotic song. We hold on to tradition so that they remain conversant with our national heritage.”

Source: TNN | Jan 25, 2015