Republic day is celebrated on the 26th of January every year in the Indian subcontinent. Its primary objective is to celebrate the day on which the constitution of India came into effect officially, which was the 26th of January, 1950. The Republic Day is however not to be confused with the Independence day which celebrates India’s freedom struggle finally leading up to the proclamation of its independence from the shackles of the British Empire.
Republic day comes much later than the Independence day, its marks the date when the constitution makers of our country joined together to form the constitution of India, and when India finally emerged as a Republic state.
The Constitution was formulated by the Indian Constituent Assembly on the 26 November 1949. However, despite being formulated almost a year ago, it only came into effect on 26 January 1950 giving rise to a democracy which was to later take over as the largest democracy of the world. This day, which came to be known as the Republic Day marked the completion of the country’s reformation as it became an independent state and a republic.
Events leading up to Republic Day
As has been in the history of the India, the country attained its independence on the 15th of August 1947, which is popularly celebrated nationwide as Independence Day. Due to heavy losses suffered by Great Britain post the World War II and their extensive war damages, it ultimately led them to realise that India was too restless and unstable a country to manifest control over in that vulnerable situation.
The freedom struggle was at its peak in 1946, and finally the Prime Minister of England, decided to renounce governmental control and ordered to liberate India from the British rule and formulate their very own independent government. The newly appointed Governor General Lord Mountbatten served to advance the date of Independence when finally India managed to gain freedom from colonialism on 15th August 1947.
After the newly gained independence, however the government of India along with their first Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru, realised that in order to govern a country efficiently a constitution had to formulated.
Formulation of the Constitution of India
On 28 August 1947, the Drafting Committee was appointed to draft a permanent constitution, with Dr B R Ambedkar as chairman. The proposal to draft the constitution was first made my M.O. Hume who was made the general secretary of the constituent assembly. The President of the assembly was Dr. Womesh Chandra Banerjee.
At first the draft constitution was prepared by the drafting committee and submitted to the Constituent Assembly on 4 November 1947. The Assembly met, in sessions open to public, for 166 days. The entire procedure took exactly two years, 11 months and 18 days to complete and then finally the adopting Constitution of India came into being.
After many deliberations, debates and several modifications, the 308 members of the Assembly signed two hand-written copies of the document, one of which was written in Hindi and the other was written in English. Finally on the 26th of January 1950 the constitution came into effect.
With the constitution finally coming into effect, on the same day Dr. Rajendra Prasad assumed his office beginning his first term as President of the India while Nehru continued his term as the Prime Minister of India.
Republic Day Celebrations
Republic Day is celebrated nationwide however the main occasion takes place in the country’s capital, Delhi. On this day in Delhi the people are bound to witness several parades and cultural festivals. The largest of these is the Delhi Republic Day parade which is primarily organised by the ministry of defence in India. This takes place on the Rajpath and continues to the India Gate. The parade also includes several army officials of the Indian Army , air force and navy officials.
Furthermore, on the very same day Republic the president of India distributes the Padma Awards to various deserving civilians of the country for various categories like arts and sciences and other achievements. The Padma awards consists of three awards, namely the Padma Vibhushan, Padma Bhushan and Padma Shri, mentioned in the decreasing order of importance.
The Bharat Ratna which is highest civilian award in India is also given out on the same day along with the Padma Awards.
The Padma Awards
Padma Vibhushan award is for “exceptional and distinguished service”. It is regarded as the second-highest civilian award in India after the Bharat Ratna which hold first position. Then comes the Padma Bhushan which is given out for “distinguished service of a high order”, and is the third highest civilian award in India . Lastly, the Padma Shri is awarded for “distinguished service”, taking its place as the fourth highest civil honour in India.
The Beating Retreat ceremony which is conducted on the eve on January 29th is the concluding ceremony of the Republic Day celebrations held in Raisina Hill and Vijay Chowk near the Rashtrapati Bhavan. is held after officially denoting the end of Republic Day festivities and is carried out in Delhi by several Indian military officials from the Indian Army, Indian Navy and Indian Air Force.
The Chief Guest of the function is the President of India who arrives escorted by a cavalry unit. On the arrival of the President a National Salute is given by all the military officials on the order of the Commander of the armed forces to display respect towards the father of the nation.
This grand salute is then preceded by the Indian National Anthem sung in unison. At the end of the ceremony the song “Saare Jahan Se Acha” is also sung by the militants to show patriotic valour and unadulterated love towards their motherland.
Celebrations of 70th Republic Day 2019
Republic day 2019 in India is being celebrated on 26th of January, at Saturday and it was the 70th Republic Day for the country. The ceremony was started with arrival of the President of India, like every other year, this year current President of India Sri Ram Nath Kovind started the auspicious occasion.
Other important guests included the Prime Minister of India ,Narendra Modi, Vice President Venkaiah Naidu and several other authorities. This year around 25 tunes were played at the occasion and the Indian Armed militants put up excellent shows and performances. The various songs of patriotism included Mushkoh Valley, Indian Soldiers, Namaste India and other tunes known for their cultural importance and heritage.
Narendra Modi paid tribute to the brave soldiers at Amar Jawan Jyoti along with the three heads of Indian Armed Forces. After which the three heads of the Indian Armed Forces welcomed Prime Minister at the Rajpath. This was followed up by the arrival of the Vice President of India, Sri Venkaiah Naidu at Rajpath.
President of India, Sri Ram Nath Kovind arrived at Rajpath along with the Chief Guest (Cyril Ramaphosa) who is the President of South Africa and his Wife. The flag was hoisted by President of India at Rajpath. Then the Felicitation of Gallantry awards to the Brave soldiers was conducted in order.
The Ashok Chakra award which is one of the major bravery awards was handed over this year to Nazir Wani’s Wife by the hands of President of India. After 10 am 70th Republic Day Parade at Rajpath started off. The march Past begun at Rajpath and was led by Prakash Singh Rathore followed by the arrival of Army Service Corps led by Bhawana Kasturi.
To sum it all up the Republic Day celebrates the pride of India and salutes the Constitution makers for pulling off the constitution of India and thereby starting a Democracy in India rules independently by the people of India. It aims to display that India is a Republic which embodies a state where the power to rule rests in the hands of the people and it is a government where the people have the sole right to rule the country according to their wishes.
It is a nation which makes the wishes of the people its priority and their well being its primary objective. It upholds the unity and integrity of the civilians, honouring and catering to their needs.
In the auspicious occasion of Republic Day, every year on the 26th of January the nation celebrates its unity, integrity, democratic nature and honours those civilians who make the nation proud by contributing to society in some way or the other. This is also an important day for the military forces of the country as they are saluted for their bravery and sacrifices and inhibited display of patriotism.