All over India celebrations are on today. Flag hoisting and parades, people cheering and waving flags everything is on cue to mark the 57th anniversary of our Republic. How many of us are truly aware of the meaning of this day?

Somehow the essence of the constitution got lost along the years and what remained is the pomp and display associated with it.

Of all our centre there is one that never fails in its celebrations of our republic our Independence days. Every 26/1 and 15/8 the children of the Okhla centre organise a show. They hoist the flag, sing the national anthem and some patriotic songs and then delight us with the never to be missed bollywood numbers. This year they even had a play and their on gandhiji!

It is with pride and a tinge of sadness that I watch these children. As they remember the day that saw our constitution come into force, I cannot but think about how little of what was promised to them 57 years ago, has actually come their way. It seems as one part of India was conveniently cast aside along the way.

Most of these kids belong to some reserved category or the other but none is aware of what reservation means. They go to poorly run schools from where many drop out. They die for want of medical care. Their morrows are often hijacked by some predator or the other and they soon find themselves on the wrong side of the law. And often they go to sleep hungry.

And yet on these special days all is forgotten as they celebrate being Indians.

This year the President chose to mention crime against children in his R Day address. He was of course referring to cases like Nithari. But there is a more insidious crime tat we are all guilty of, one that is invisible and almost intangible. That of having let down a whole slice of India denying them the basic rights that were meant to be for all Indians.

The children of Okhla did not forget the importance of this day; in their eyes lies a question that needs to be answered: why have they been forgotten them.