Republic Day in India is celebrated every year with great pride on January 26 to honour the Constitution of India as it came into force on the same day in the year 1950. It had replaced the Government of India Act, 1935 into the governing document of India.
Along with the official celebrations at the Rajpath in the presence of Indian President, the Republic Day is also celebrated throughout the country with great enthusiasm.
REPUBLIC DAY CELEBRATIONS | A BRIEF HISTORY
India attained freedom from the British Rule on August 15, 1947. At that time there was no permanent constitution of the country. The first draft of the Indian Constitution was presented by the drafting committee to the national assembly on November 4, 1947. The first draft of the Indian Constitution was signed by the national assembly in both versions, i.e., English and Hindi on January 24, 1950.
Thereafter, the Constitution of India came into effect on Republic Day, i.e., January 26, 1950. On this day, India was declared as the 'Purna Swaraj Country' and thus we began celebrating this day as the anniversary of the Purna Swaraj Day.
REPUBLIC DAY CELEBRATIONS | IMPORTANCE
Republic Day is the symbol of true spirit for the independent India where Indian President hoists our national flag and grand military parades, exhibiting the military equipment take place, including a variety of other events. Indian National Flag is tricolor in nature having horizontal stripes, i.e. upper saffron, middle white and bottom of dark green colour divided in equal proportions and a wheel (navy blue colour, having 24 spokes) in the centre representing the Sarnath Lion Capital of Ashoka.
India is a country where people from different cultures, societies, religions and languages live in harmony with each other. The freedom of our country is indeed a matter of great pride because needless to say it was obtained after many years of struggle and great sacrifice.
Therefore, this day is celebrated every year in order to make Indian people feel proud of having taken birth on this multi-cultural land. Republic Day is celebrated in a very colorful fashion in order to make celebrations memorable and special for every Indian Citizen. National Anthem is sung by the people who take part in the celebration. This celebration brings all the Indian people together and instills a feeling of national pride as well as love for our country.
REPUBLIC DAY PARADE
To mark the experience of this day, every year a grand parade is held in the national capital from the Raisina Hill Rashtrapati Bhavan (the President's residence), along the Rajpath, past India Gate.
Prior to its commencement, the Prime Minister lays a floral wreath at the Amar Jawan Jyoti, a memorial to fallen soldiers at the India Gate at one end of Rajpath, which is followed by two minutes silence in the memory of fallen soldiers. It is a solemn reminder of the sacrifice of the martyrs who died for the country in the freedom movement and the succeeding wars for the defence of sovereignty of their country. Thereafter he/she reaches the main dais at Rajpath to join other dignitaries, subsequently, the President arrives along with the chief guest of the occasion. They are escorted on horseback by the President's Bodyguard.
First, the president unfurls the National flag, as the National Anthem is played, and a 21-gun salute is given as the PBG renders the National Salute. Next, important awards like the Ashok Chakra and Kirti Chakra are given away by the President, before the regiments of Armed Forces start their march past. The President comes forward to award the medals of bravery to the people from the armed forces for their exceptional courage in the field and also the civilians, who have distinguished themselves by their different acts of valour in different situations. Children who receive the National Bravery Award ride past the spectators on colourfully decorated elephants or vehicles.
Nine to twelve different regiments of the Indian Army in addition to the Navy, and Air Force with their bands march past in all their finery and official decorations. The President of India who is the Commander-in-Chief of the Indian Armed Forces, takes the salute. Twelve contingents of various para-military forces of India and other civil forces also take part in this parade. One of the unique sights of the parade is the camel mounted Border Security Force contingent, which is the only camel mounted military force in the world. The best NCC cadets, selected from all over the country consider it an honour to participate in this event, as do the school children from various schools in the capital. They spend many days preparing for the event and no expense is spared to see that every detail is taken care of, from their practice for the drills, the essential props and their uniforms. 22 to 30 floats exhibiting the cultures of the various states and union territories of India, including floats of union ministries and state enterprises are in the grand parade, which is broadcast nationwide on television and radio. These moving exhibits depict scenes of activities of people in those states and the music and songs of that particular state accompany each display. Each display brings out the diversity and richness of the culture of India and the whole show lends a festive air to the occasion. Around 1200 schoolchildren present cultural dances as part of the parade.
The parade traditionally ends with daredevil motorcycle riding display by motorcycle units of the Armed Forces and civil security services and a flypast by the Indian Air Force jets and helicopters carrying the national flag and the flags of the three services.
Comprising over 25 marching and mounted contingents, various military vehicles, 20 military bands, 30 cultural tableaux and 30 aircraft in addition to cultural performers and 1200 schoolchildren, India's Republic Day Parade in New Delhi is one of the most spectacular regular parade in the world.
Every part of the country is represented in the parade, which makes the Republic Day parade very popular. A full dress rehearsal Parade is also organized on January 23 every year to take stock of the preparedness.
The Beating Retreat ceremony officially denotes the end of Republic Day festivities. It is conducted on the evening of 29 January, the third day after the Republic Day. It is performed by the bands of the three wings of the military, the Indian Army, Indian Navy and Indian Air Force. The venue is Raisina Hills and an adjacent square, Vijay Chowk, flanked by the north and south block of the Rashtrapati Bhavan (President's Palace) towards the end of Rajpath.
The Chief Guest of the function is the President of India who arrives escorted by the Presidential Body Guard (PBG), a cavalry unit. When the President arrives, the PBG commander asks the unit to give the National Salute, which is followed by playing of the Indian National Anthem, Jana Gana Mana, by the Army developed the ceremony of display by the massed bands in which Military Bands, Pipe and Drum Bands, Buglers and Trumpeters from various Army Regiments besides bands from the Navy and Air Force take part which play popular tunes like Abide With Me, Mahatma Gandhi's favourite hymn, and Saare Jahan Se Achcha at the end.
REPUBLIC DAY 2019 | CHIEF GUEST
“Matamela Cyril Ramaphosa“, the fifth and current President of South Africa will be the Chief Guest on 70th Republic Day of India.
Cyril Ramaphosa was invited by the Prime Minister Narendra Modi during the G20 summit which was held in Buenos Aires, the capital of Argentina. He was especially chosen for this occasion because India is celebrating the 150th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi who had very close links with the people of South Africa. PM Modi said that the visit of the South African President to India will help in enhancing the ties between the two countries.
REPUBLIC DAY 2019 | SOME INTERESTING FACTS
# 2019 celebration will be special as this year will mark the 150th birth anniversary of ‘Father of the Nation’. Around 17 tableaux from states/Union Territories and 6 from various ministries will be displayed in the parade based on the theme ‘Gandhi’.
# This year at Rajpath parade, a tableau will also showcase ‘Mahatma Gandhi Kashi Vidyapeeth’ which is a historical educational institution situated in Varanasi. The tableau will also display the glory of Ghats, Buddhist Monks, rituals and ancient temples of Varanasi.
# India Gate will remain close from 23rd January 09:00 AM onwards on account of rehearsal. The security in the state has been beefed up for the Republic Day celebration and 30 face recognition cameras and 250 CCTV have been installed at various sites to keep a vigil on the event.
# The honorable delegates of Pravasi Bharatiya Divas 2019 (to be held in Varanasi from 21st to 23rd January 2019) will also be visiting Rajpath to witness the grandeurs of 70th Indian Republic Day celebrations.
# Prime Minister will inaugurate the ‘National War Memorial’ near India Gate on the eve of Republic Day to honour the soldiers who sacrificed their lives for the nation. IAF will carry out a special fly-past with three helicopters and SU 30 jets on the occasion.
# This year, Indian Air Force will be flying an aircraft which will run by blended bio-fuel on the Republic Day 2019 fly-past with 10 percent of bio-fuel in it. The aircraft will fly over Rajpath with a ‘V’ shape formation resembling ‘Victory’ sign.
# Republic Day Parade 2019 will also witness the inclusion of M777 Howitzer and K9 Vajra, the self propelled gun which are the latest artilleries inducted in the Indian Army. T-90 tanks, SU-30, Mig 29, Jaguar aircrafts will also be major attraction of the parade.
# This year one of the contingents of IAF will march on the tune of astronaut in the parade at Rajpath and the theme for the IAF tableau this year will be ‘Indian Air Force: Safeguarding Indian Skies’.
# This will be the first time in the history that 4 veteran soldiers of the ‘Azad Hind Fauz’ aged above 90 years will take part in the parade at Rajpath.
# It will be the first time that a woman officer would be leading the Army Services Corps in the 2019 Republic Day parade. The Daredevils Motorcycle Team will also include a women officer in their team this year.
# It will be the first time in history that all women contingent of Assam Rifles, which is one of the oldest paramilitary forces of India, will take part in the Republic Day parade this year. CISF will display its tableau in the parade after 11 years.
# It will be the first time that winners of National Bravery Awards might not be able to join the parade at Rajpath as the NGO giving the awards has allegations of financial integrity. However the winners of Pradhan Mantri Rashtriya Bal Puraskar will get the chance to walk at Rajpath parade.
# Republic Day 2019 Parade Tickets are available from 07th January to 25th January and from 27th January to 28th January for Beating Retreat ceremony at various locations and sales counters in Delhi.
REPUBLIC DAY 2019 | SECURITY TIGHTENED IN NATIONAL CAPITAL, OVER 400 CISF PERSONNEL DEPLOYED
Ahead of the 70th Republic Day celebration, security in the National Capital has been stepped up with many CISF personnel deployed at metro stations and at the Indira Gandhi International (IGI) airport. This included a multi-layered frisking of passengers at metro stations and the IGI airport.
Almost an additional 400 CISF personnel were deployed at both the venues across Delhi.
Metro passengers are being scrupulously frisked by two personnel at the time of entering a station, travelers at the airport are being asked to remove shoes, heavy jackets and belts before boarding the aircraft.