The Indian Republic Day
Indian Republic Day honours the date on which the Constitution of India came into effect on 26 January 1950 replacing the Government of India Act (1935) as the governing document of India.
India achieved independence from British raj on 15 August 1947 following the Indian independence movement. The independence came through the Indian Independence Act 1947 (10 & 11 Geo 6 c 30), an Act of the Parliament of the United Kingdom that partitioned British India into the two new independent Dominions of the British Commonwealth (later Commonwealth of Nations). India obtained its independence on 15 August 1947 as a constitutional monarchy with George VI as head of state and the Earl Mountbatten as governor-general. The country, though, did not yet have a permanent constitution; instead its laws were based on the modified colonial Government of India Act 1935. On 28 August 1947, the Drafting Committee was appointed to draft a permanent constitution, with Dr B R Ambedkar as chairman. While India’s Independence Day celebrates its freedom from British Rule, the Republic Day celebrates the coming into force of its constitution. A draft constitution was prepared by the committee and submitted to the Assembly on 4 November 1947. The Assembly met, in sessions open to public, for 166 days, spread over a period of two years, 11 months and 18 days before adopting the Constitution. After many deliberations and some modifications, the 308 members of the Assembly signed two hand-written copies of the document (one each in Hindi and English) on 24 January 1950. Two days later, it came into effect throughout the whole nation.
The main Republic Day celebration is held in the national capital, New Delhi, at the Rajpath before the President of India. On this day, ceremonious parades take place at the Rajpath, which are performed as a tribute to India; its unity in diversity and rich cultural heritage.
Before the parade starts, the Prime Minister of India places a floral wreath at the Amar Jawan Jyoti memorial at India Gate, in memory of those soldiers who lost their lives in war. This is followed by two minutes silence.
After that there is the 21 gun salute, unfurling of the National Flag and singing of the National Anthem. Next, awards such as the Paramvir Chakra, Ashok Chakra and Vir Chakra are presented to gallantry award winners.
The parade begins with winners of gallantry awards saluting the President in open military jeeps, followed by the display of various tanks, missiles and other equipment added to the arsenal of the military. After this, is the march-past of different regiments of the armed forces, police, Home Guards and National Cadet Corps. The President of India, being the Commander-in-Chief of the Indian Armed Forces, takes the salute. This is followed by a vibrant parade comprising tableaux from different States and cultural dances by patriotic school children.
Children who have won National Bravery Awards ride past the spectators on colourfully decorated elephants. These children are honoured and awarded by the Indian Council for Child Welfare for performing outstanding deeds of bravery and selfless sacrifice.
The Republic Day Parade is concluded by dare devil motor cycle riding and a flypast by Indian Air Force fighter jets over Rajpath, as spectators look on with their hearts filled with pride.
Read a poem dedicated to the Indian Armed Forces, HERE