Mumbai, Jan. 26 -- As per a UN report, India has the largest youth population in the world. So, when we decided to organise a special photo shoot for Republic Day, January 26, we knew we had to rope in names that would best represent the views of the youth of this country.
When we approached Varun Dhawan and Shraddha Kapoor for the same, they were more than glad to take up the responsibility.
Would you call yourself patriotic?
SHRADDHA: I would, and, every day, I feel I am becoming more and more patriotic. We call our country 'Mother India', but I am the one who has motherly feelings towards my country. I am protective about India. Even small things like someone littering or spitting get me angry and upset me. I am patriotic in my own way.
VARUN: Definitely. I can do anything for my country. For me, India's interest will always come first.
What does Republic Day mean to you?
SHRADDHA: As a young citizen of this country, I feel that we've done a great job with our Constitution, and all that has happened since the British left. So it (Republic Day) is possibly the most important day for our democratic set-up.
VARUN: I strongly believe that Republic Day needs to be celebrated with lots of fervour and pomp. It's the festival of democracy. It's the day to feel proud. At the same time, we should be careful that our Constitution doesn't become old or redundant. We should always think about the changes that can be made to our Constitution.
Where do you see the Republic of India heading in the next decade or so?
SHRADDHA: I hope India becomes really advanced, like countries such as Japan and USA, while still being culturally rich. Being technologically advanced is good, but we should keep certain things intact. For instance, I don't know how many people are learning Sanskrit nowadays. We are advancing fast, but we also need to keep our Indian-ness intact.
VARUN: I am excited about the future; it looks very bright to me. The signs are already there with the Sensex hitting record numbers, the FDI becoming huge and several world leaders taking interest in our country. However, as citizens, we need to be more responsible about what we can do for our country - not pollute, keep our country clean, etc. We should inculcate Gandhiji's saying - 'be the change that you wish to see in the world' - in our lives.
Hypothetically, if you were to become the Prime Minister (PM) of India, what is the first issue you would take up?
SHRADDHA: I would do something to speed up the process of delivering justice. Right now, I think it takes a lot of time to get justice in our country.
VARUN: Honestly, I don't want to become the PM of India. That job comes with a lot of responsibility. Also, I don't want to become PM because I am too patriotic (smiles). Still, if I do ever get that position, I would do something about the equal distribution of wealth among all strata of society.
What are your earliest memories of Republic Day?
SHRADDHA: I remember waking up early and going to school for the flag-hoisting ceremony.
VARUN: Ever since I was a kid, my parents have inculcated the value of love for our country in me. Republic Day was always an important day for us.
SHRADDHA: I remember seeing everyone with a flag on Republic Day and even on Independence Day, but I don't think you need one particular day to feel patriotic. You should feel patriotic every day.
VARUN: At home, we have always discussed the leaders of our country and their leadership. I have been taught to love and respect the people of my country, no matter where they are from, or what caste, creed or religion they belong to. All Indians are our brothers and sisters.