26 January - Indian Republic Day (2017)
India celebrates its 68th Republic Day on
26 January 2017
The Constitution Of India
The Indian Constitution
Though the constitution was drafted and submitted to the Assembly on 4th November 1947, and passed by the constituent Assembly of India on 26 November 1949, it came into effect only on the 26th January 1950.
On this day, then, India became an Independent Democratic Republic.
The Indian Constitution is the longest of any constitution by any other country.
The Constitution of India provides all its citizens justice, liberty and equality in all fields, and promotes brotherhood amongst them.
While Independence day celebrates liberation from the British rule, Republic day celebrates the day when the Constitution of India came into effect.
The constitution gave Indian citizens the power to elect their own government.
Indian Republic Day Celebrations
Indian Republic Day - A Big Event
We call it Gantantra Diwas in India.
Republic day is one of the most important national events and one of the three national holidays in India, the other two being; Independence day and Gandhi Jayanti.
Regional identity takes a backseat on this day.
Indian Republic day celebrates the day when the constitution of India came into force.
The Republic day celebrations are held at Rajpath, in New Delhi, the capital of India, before the President of India.
The President of India addresses the nation on the eve of the Republic day and this is telecast live on television.
The President Takes The Salute On Republic Day in 2015
Agni-II missile - Republic Day Parade
Bidriware Handicraft From Bidar - Karnatake State Tableau - Republic Day Parade 2011
Float From State of Maharashtra at the 2015 Republic Day Parade
Members Of The Indian Military On Motorcycles During The 2015 Republic Day Parade
Republic Day Celebrations
Republic day is celebrated with much zeal, enthusiasm and fanfare, all over the country. To this end, a grand parade is held in the capital city, New Delhi, which starts from Raisana Hill and moving on Rajpath, past India Gate, ends at the historic Red Fort.
The celebrations start off early in the morning with the Prime Minister laying a floral wreath at Amar Jawan Jyoti, at India Gate, to honor soldiers who sacrificed their lives for the country. A two minute silence is observed.
The President then arrives with the Chief Guest, who is usually a notable Head of state of a foreign country, and other dignitaries. He then unfurls the national flag while the National Anthem is played. This is followed by a 21 gun salute to the National Flag.
Medals of bravery are awarded by the President to the Armed Forces' personnel for their exceptional bravery and to civilians for their acts of valor in difficult circumstances.
Following this, 4 helicopters of the Armed Forces fly past the area, showering rose petals on the gathering. Each helicopter bears a flag, starting with the Indian Tricolor, and then, the other 3 flags of the Army, Navy and Air Force.
This ceremony marks the beginning of the military parade by the Gallantry Award recipients and then the 3 Armed Force Regiments walk past the President who takes the salute.
The military parade is followed by the colorful cultural parade highlighting the rich Indian culture in the form of regional tableaux which depict their unique festivals, art and historical locations to the accompaniment of songs and folk dances.
The parade showcases India's military might and cultural diversity.
Government departments and ministries also present their tableaux. School children also take part in the parade singing patriotic songs and dancing as is skillful motorcycle riding and acrobatics by the Armed Forces' personnel.
The parade ends with the ceremonial salute to the President with jets and fighter planes flying past the parade.
The National Anthem is played to end the function. This is not the end of the celebrations as the Republic Day celebrations are a 3 day extravaganza.
Rashtrapati Bhavan Illuminated For Republic Day
On this national celebration day, all government buildings as well as business houses are illuminated with beautiful lighting from the 26-29 January.
Live coverage of the parade is relayed by television and radio channels.
On the 27th January, the creme of the NCC cadets hold a Prime Minister's rally and exhibit breathtaking performances and drills.
Beating The Retreat
This ceremony, held at Vijay Chowk on the evening of 29th January, denotes the end of the Republic Day celebrations.
The ceremony begins by bands of the 3 Armed Services marching & playing popular marching tunes.
Mahatma Gandhi's favorite music "Abide with me" is played by the drummers on this occasion and mesmerizing solo performances by the drummers are also given.
This is followed by the Bugle call for Retreat, beginning with the Band Master walking up to the President and requesting to take the bands away. The retreat is sounded at 6 PM and the National Flag is lowered. During the march back, a popular martial time tune "Sare Jahan Se Accha" is played.
This ceremony revives memories of ancient war customs when the sound of bugles at sunset would signal the cessation of battle for the day, during wartime.
This marks the end of the Republic Day celebrations.
Beating The Retreat (2015)
Indian Army-Sikh Light Infantry regiment
Some Imposing Statistics
The 2 hours of public entertainment and celebrations for the Republic Day take 6 months of practice and preparation with more than 6000 marchers, 1200 students, 5000 artists working tirelessly with 33 departments and 3200 officials of the government round the clock to ensure a smooth, glitch free ceremony and foolproof security.
42 contingents of 144 soldiers each march in the parade. About 10,000 personnel reside in Delhi cantonment and parade ground during this time.
The floats and tableaux are the handiwork of about 5000 fabricators and artists. There are over 1,11,000 seats of which almost 20000 seats were opened to the general public during the Republic day celebrations in 2015.
Cables as long as 38 kilometers are put by the Army's Signal Regiment to ensure the sound system is perfect.
Ashoka Pillar Signboard
Ashoka Pillar Sarnath
Ashoka Lions from Sarnath
Interesting Indian Republic Day Facts
- Prior to the day the Constitution of India came into force, that is, 26 January 1950, the head of the State was an appointed Governor General. Following this, the President became Head of the State.
- The 1st Republic Day parade was held on 26 January 1950 itself, the day the constitution of India came into effect.
- Jawaharlal Nehru, the 1st Indian Prime Minister, addressed the nation on the eve of the 1st Republic Day, though from then on, it is the President who does so.
- President Sukarno of Indonesia was the 1st Chief Guest on the 1st Republic Day parade.
- The peacock was declared as the national bird on Republic day in 1963.
- The Lion Head from the Ashoka Pillar in Sarnath was adopted as the National Emblem on this day.
- Over 100 aircraft participated in the 1st Republic Day parade.
- The first copy of the Indian Constitution was handwritten and calligraphed, not printed, in Hindi and English.
- The 1st Republic Day venue was Irwin Stadium, now National Stadium. Rajpath became a permanent feature for the venue from the year 1955.
- On 26 January 1950, Hindi was declared as the official language of India.
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The 66th Republic Day 2015 Ceremony
Patriotic Song - Aye Watan Aye Watan
Patriotic Song - Mere Desh Ki Dharti
© 2016 Rajan Singh Jolly