The Republic Day Celebrations in India
“We are Indians, firstly and lastly.” – B. R. Ambedkar, Father of the Indian Constitution.
January 26th is a special day in the lives of all Indians because this was the day that India became a republic in 1950. It was the day when the country truly became free from British rule as the Constitution of India came into existence replacing the Government of India Act, the act that governed the country. It is a day of immense pride and patriotism for all Indians as they get an opportunity to soak in the national fervor. This special day is one that of celebration and gaiety marked by several events across the country to commemorate this day. However, the king of all celebrations continues to be the Republic Day parade held at the country’s capital New Delhi every year.
January 26th 2017 is all set to be observed as India’s 68th Republic Day with the first being celebrated in 1950. The grandeur of the annual Republic Day parade almost makes it a world event with a high viewership all over the world. The event usually has a foreign dignitary as its Chief Guest and this year it shall be the Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi, Sheikh Mohamed Bin Zayed Al Nahyan who shall honor the event by his regal presence.
The vibrant Republic Day parade commences at the Rashtrapati Bhavan (President’s House), moves along Rajpath, and goes past India Gate, another well known monument before stopping at Red Fort, its final destination. The parade is flagged off after the Honorable President of India, hoists the national tricolor in the backdrop of the national anthem. Beautiful decorative and colorful floats representing different Indian states along with demonstrations including air shows from the Indian armed forces are important highlights of this event. The parade exhibits the theme of unity in diversity in every respect as different cultures, arts and heritages of the country come to life during this procession. The Republic Day celebrations are held over three days that draw to an end on January 29th with the Beating Retreat Ceremony that has the Indian Army, Indian Navy and the Indian Air Force presenting live band performances. The last piece is ‘Abide My Me’ that is performed together by all the three forces. Here are a few interesting facts about this day.
- The Constitution of India is written both in Hindi and English, both of which are housed in the Parliament House.
- The Constitution of India is the largest in the world with 448 articles!
- The Constitution is only calligraphed and not printed with only 1000 copies so far!
- The first US President to be a Chief Guest at this event was Barrack Obama in 2015.
- President Sukarno of Indonesia was the first Chief Guest of the Republic Day Parade in 1950.
- The song ‘Abide By Me’ is in fact a Christian song that was also a favorite with Mahatma Gandhi, the Father of the Nation.
- It took Dr. B. R. Ambedkar two years, eleven months and eighteen days to draft the Indian Constitution.
- January 26th 1930 was celebrated as ‘Purna Swaraj Day’ or Independence Day!
- The first Republic Day parade was held in 1955.
- 21 guns boom as a mark of respect to salute the national flag when it is hoisted by the President during Republic day.
If you are in India, this is certainly one of the grandest events that you can ever attend. You be a part of this colorful visual extravaganza by buying tickets well in advance and be present at the venue. Even if you are visiting India, then this is special day is worth all the effort for sure!