Published: 31st March 2021
Here's from the diaries of a 21-year-old, her experiences in participating in the Republic Day parade 2021
Though Republic Day is far, far behind us, youngster Namratha Rao is still over the moon to be one of the 200 enthusiasts to be selected for the parade and to be able to take her passion forward
The year 2021 started on a wonderful note for Namratha Rao. This 21-year-old was selected for the Republic Day parade. For anyone who has been a part of the NSS (National Service Scheme) or NYKS (Nehru Yuva Kendra Sangathan), both of which she is a member of, it is a matter of great pride to march shoulder-to-shoulder with fellow citizens who are equally passionate about service to the country. What makes this all the more special for Namratha, who hails from Anantapur in Andhra Pradesh, is that this was her second attempt (she tried in 2019) and she is honoured to have been granted the opportunity. "I worked really hard on myself," says the passionate youngster.
With the VP | (Pic: Namratha Rao)
Talking about service though, the third-year student of BA Literature from Government College, Anantapur, has been dedicating herself to karra samu (stick-fighting), which she learnt under the gentle guidance of friend and professionally trained karra samu artist Monika Bandaru. When Namratha realised the need to learn these self-defense techniques, especially for women, she formed Nashe in 2018, the same year she made another trip to the nation's capital as a part of the National Youth Parliament where she represented Andhra Pradesh. "Karra samu instills in us a sense of confidence that will serve us well in dicey situations. Additionally, it's an artform that seems to have been forgotten," says the passionate youngster. She, accompanied by a team of ten, visit government schools and orphanages to conduct sessions on menstruation, child marriages and karra samu. The way this works is that they approach a school or an establishment and, as per their convenience, take up an hour of the kids' time. They have taken these sessions in about 25 government schools.
With the group and the VP | (Pic: Namratha Rao)
Coming back to the Republic Day parade, which makes Namratha nostalgic, after the rigorous selection process, she spent 30 days in Delhi for even more rigorous training. She would get up at 3:30 am, and in the biting cold of Delhi, the participants would make their way to Rajpath and practise there. "I met so many students from different parts of India and this would have never happened for me if I wasn't selected," says the youngster enthusiastically. They even met Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Minister of State of the Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports Kiren Rijiju, Minister for Textiles and Women and Child Development Smriti Irani and others, though the pandemic cut down the students' time with them by a large extent. Namratha is itching to start her sessions again though the pandemic is playing a spoilt sport at the moment. Till then, she is holding on to her spirit of service.
More about karra samu
- A traditional Indian self-defense technique, karra samu is all about fighting with sticks
- It was a popular activity during marriage processions and festivals
- It required practitioners to twirl their sticks and display their swift moves
- This artform was used as a self-defense tool against thieves as well
For more on her, check out instagram.com/thenamratharao