Republic Day of India

The Republic Day of India is the date on which the Constitution of India came into force,also on this day India became a truly sovereign state and became a totally republican unit.On 26 January 1950,it replaced the Government of India Act 1935 as the governing document of India.This day was chosen to commemorate the declaration of independence of 1930.

The country finally realized the dream of Mahatma Gandhi and the numerous freedom fighters who, fought for and sacrificed their lives for the Independence of their country.It's when regional identity takes a backseat and what matters most is the universal appeal of unity and brotherhood projected by all Indians.

India became independent of the United Kingdom on August 15, 1947. India did not have a permanent constitution at this time. The drafting committee presented the constitution's first draft to the national assembly on November 4, 1947.

On 28 August 1947,Bhimrao Ramji Ambedkar,as chairman drafted the permanent constitution.The national assembly signed the final English and Hindi language versions of the constitution on January 24, 1950.

India's constitution came into effect on Republic Day, January 26, 1950. This date was chosen as it was the anniversary of Purna Swaraj Day, which was held on ,1930.The constitution gave India's citizens the power to govern themselves by choosing their own government.

Dr Rajendra Prasad took oath as India's first president at the Durbar Hall in the Government House, followed by a residential drive along a route to the Irwin Stadium, where he unfurled India's national flag. Ever since the historic day, January 26 is celebrated with festivities and patriotic fervor across India.Republic Day represents the true spirit of the independent India.

The India's Independence Day celebrates its freedom from British Rule,while the Republic Day celebrates the coming into force of its constitution.Even before India actually became independent,the Indian National Congress and other parties were celebrating 26 January as a symbol of Independence.Thus, applying the constitution on 26 January, to mark and respect 26 January and the freedom struggle and the freedom fighters.

Republic Day is one of the three national holidays in India.It is a gazetted holiday in India on January 26 each year. National, state and local government offices, post offices and banks are closed on this date. Stores and other businesses and organizations may be closed or have reduced opening hours.

Public transport is usually unaffected as many locals travel for celebrations. Republic Day parades cause significant disruption to traffic and there may be increased security on this date, particularly in areas such as New Delhi and state capitals.

The Ceremony

The Republic Day is celebrated with great zeal and enthusiasm all over the country and especially in the capital, New Delhi.The Prime Minister,at the begining,lays a floral wreath at the 'Amar Jawan Jyoti',a memorial to soldiers who sacrificed their lives for the freedom of India and also in other wars.It is followed by two minutes silence in the memory of the freedom fighters and soldiers.

To celebrate and honour this occasion,a grand parade is held in the capital, New Delhi,every year, from the Raisina Hill near the Rashtrapati Bhavan (President's Palace),past India Gate.Thereafter the President reaches the main dais at Rajpath to join other dignitaries.The President then arrives along with the chief guest of the event.

First the President unfurls the Indian National flag,while the National Anthem is played and a 21-gun salute is given.The beginning of the occasion is always 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.

Then, 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 proved themselves by their difstinguished acts of valour in different fields.

The different regiments of the Indian Army, Navy, and Air Force march past in all their finery and official decorations and the President of India takes the salute.The N. C. C. cadets, selected from all over the country consider it an honour to participate in this event,also the school children from various schools in the capital participate.The parade also includes a flypast by Indian Air Force jets.

These procession exhibits the scenes of activities of people in respective states and the music and songs of that particular state. Each display brings out the diversity and richness of the culture of India and the whole show lends a festive air to the event.The event is telecast nationwide on television chanels.

In state capitals,the Governor of the state unfurls the national flag.However if the Governor of the state is unavailable,the Chief Minister gets the honour of unfurling the National Flag of India.

The Beating Retreat ceremony is conducted on the evening of January 29, the third day after the Republic Day,which officially announces the end of Republic Day ceremony.It is performed by the bands of the Indian Army, Indian Navy and Indian Air Force. at Raisina Hills and an adjacent square, Vijay Chowk, flanked by the north and south block of the Rashtrapati Bhavan.

The President of India then arrives,escorted by the Bodyguards.Then the National Salute is given, which is followed by the band playing "Jana gana mana",the Indian National Anthem and at the same time the Flag of India is unfurled on the flagpole.

The ceremony was started in the early 1950s when Major Roberts of the Indian Army developed the ceremony of display by the massed bands from various Army Regiments,which play popular tunes like Mahatma Gandhi's favourite Hymns, and Saare Jahan Se Achcha.

Guest of Honour

During 1950-1954, Republic Day celebrations were organized at various venues,like Irwin Stadium, Red Fort, Kingswayand Ramlila Grounds.Since 1950, India hosted head of state or government of another country as the state guest of honour for the Republic day ceremony.

In 1955 ,the parade was organized at Rajpath as per the present style.The guest country was decided according to the economic and political interests.Before India fought wars with China and Pakistan, leaders from these countries were invited as state guests for the Republic Day celebrations.

Countries which have been invited multiple times include the neighbours - Sri Lanka ,Bhutan and Mauritius; defence allies - USSR, France and Britain; trade partners- Brazil and NAM allies Nigeria and Indonesia.France has the distinction of being the guest of honour for the maximum ie four times, followed by three visits each from Bhutan, Mauritius and USSR/Russia.