Every year, India celebrates three festivals: Republic Day on 26 January, Independence Day on 15 August, and Gandhi Jayanti on 2 October. On Wednesday, India will celebrate its 73rd Republic Day, but with a few modifications due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Here’s why we celebrate Republic Day, its history, and its significance:
Why do we celebrate Republic Day on 26 January?
India achieved independence on 15 August, 1947, but its laws were still based on the colonial Government of India Act 1935. In 1947, a resolution was moved for the appointment of the Constitution Drafting Committee. Dr. BR Ambedkar was chosen as its chairman.
India’s Constitution of 1950 replaced the Government of India Act (1935) on 26 January 1950. India became a republic on 26 January when it adopted its own Constitution. The Constituent Assembly became the Parliament of India under the transitional provisions of the new Constitution on that day when Dr. Rajendra Prasad started his first term as President.
Long before India became independent of British rule on 15 August, 1947, the Indian National Congress (INC) declared ‘Purna Swaraj’, or complete self-rule. India became independent on 15 August, 1947, but was still governed by the Government of India Act 1935. On 26 January 1950, the Constitution was adopted and the country became a republic.
The Republic Day celebration
Celebrations for Republic Day begin from 24 January. This year’s celebration, began a day earlier with ‘Parakram Diwas’, the birth anniversary of Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose. On the eve of Republic Day, the president addressed the nation.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi lays a floral wreath at the Amar Jawan Jyoti before the main Republic Day parade begins with two minutes of silence to pay tribute to India’s fallen soldiers. When the president, the prime minister, and the chief guest reach the dais, the former unfurls the National Flag while the National Anthem Jana Gana Mana plays.
The Indian Army Regiment of Artillery then fires a 21-gun salute. As part of the awarding, the president gives the Ashok Chakra and the Kirti Chakra to people from the military who have shown exceptional courage in the field, as well as civilians who have displayed courage in a variety of situations ranging from military to civilian or disaster-related.
The parade then follows, which starts at the gates of the Rashtrapati Bhavan and goes through Rajpath, India Gate and the Red Fort. This year, it will only go up to the National Stadium due to Covid-19. As the Indian Army, Navy and Air Force with their bands march past, the parade displays the country’s defence capability, cultural heritage, and social heritage.
The President of India, who is also the Commander-in-Chief of the Indian Armed Forces, is saluted by forces. The parade is also attended by paramilitary forces and police forces. Additionally, motorcycle units from the Armed Forces and security services will demonstrate their daredevil riding skills during the parade. Observers are enthralled by the flypast of Indian Air Force jets and helicopters.
The Republic Day celebrations also feature colorful tableaus that represent the cultures of various states. In the tableaus, historical events, heritage, culture, development programs, and wildlife are depicted. On 29 January, Beating Retreat brings an end to the Republic Day celebrations. Armed forces bands from the Army, Navy, and Air Force perform the beating retreat.