26th January is one of the historic days of India which is celebrated as the Republic Day. “Though India got freedom from the British Rule on 15 August, 1947, it declared itself a Sovereign, Democratic and Republic state with the adoption of the Constitution on January 26, 1950”. India got independence in 1947 and was having the Government of India Act (1935) as the governing document of India. A drafting committee was appointed to draft a permanent constitution. The Committee prepared a draft constitution under the chairmanship of DR B.R. Ambedkar and submitted it to the Constituent Assembly on 4 November, 1947. The Assembly hold the sessions to discuss the provisions o f the draft and to modify it. After many efforts and some modifications, The Constitution of India was adopted by the Constituent Assembly on 26 November, 1949 and it came into effect on 26 January 1950. 26 January was chosen as the date to mark Republic day because it had been on this day that the Indian National Congress (INC) proclaimed the Declaration of Indian Independence (Purna Swaraj) in 1929. On 26 January 1950, Dr. Rajendra Prasad took oath as the first President of India at the Durbar Hall in the Government House.
WHY WE CELEBRATE IT?
Though India became a free nation on August 15, 1947, it enjoyed the true spirit of Independence on January 26, 1950 when the Constitution of India finally came into force. The Constitution brought with itself, a democratic government system turning the nation into an Independent Republic and providing a governing document for the newly independent India.
HOW WE CELEBRATE IT?
The National Level Republic Day celebration is held in the capital, New Delhi, at Rajpath on the address of the President of India. The Ministry of Defence organises the Delhi Republic Day Parade to pay a tribute to our unity in diversity and rich cultural heritage. Events of 21 guns salute, National Flag hoisting and playing the National Anthem are held. The President distributes the Padma Awards to the civilians of India. Flag Hoisting event held in respective states also. Colleges and schools all over the country organise programmes on this day. The Beating Retreat ceremony is conducted on 29 January and the bands of the three wings of the military perform in this.
WHAT IS NATIONAL WAR MEMORIAL?
The National War Memorial is an Indian National Monument built over 40 acres of land around the existing canopy, near India Gate, New Delhi to pay tribute and remember the soldiers of the Indian military who sacrificed their lives in armed conflicts of Independent India. The names of the soldiers killed during the wars with Pakistan and China as well as 1961 War in Goa & other operations such as Operation Pawan are inscribed on the memorial walls in golden letters. The Prime Minister of India, Sh. Narendra Modi inaugurated the monument on 25 February, 2019 and he ignited the eternal flame of Amar Jawan Jyoti at Amar Chakra.
The main structure has been built in the form of four concentric circles, each chakra signifying different values of the armed forces which are as follows (from innermost to outermost) -
•The Amar Chakra (circle of immortality) : This comprises a 15-metre tall obelisk and the eternal flame that is continuously burning and symbolises the immortality of the fallen soldiers and the promise that the Nation will never forget their sacrifices.
•The Veerta Chakra (circle of bravery) : This is about the six important battles of the army, air force and navy, which have been depicted in bronze. The battles showcased here are Battle of Gangasagar, Longewala, Tithwal, Rizangla, Operation Meghdoot and Operation Trident.
•The Tyag Chakra (circle of sacrifice): The 'Tyag Chakra' holds the names along with the details of Rank of about 25,700 battle casualties which have been written on a 1.5 metre wall.
•The Rakshak Chakra (circle of protection): The outermost tier is the 'Suraksha Chakra', comprising 695 trees, with each tree representing the soldiers that provide assurance to the citizens of India about their safety from any threat.
WHY PRESIDENT RECEIVES 21 GUN SALUTE?
During the British Raj, India developed a formal hierarchical system of gun salutes that tells us that India had adopted this system from the United Kingdom. At the time of Indian independence in 1947, the hierarchy of salutes within British India included 21 Gun Salute for the Head of the State i.e. The President of our country. Basically, the custom stems from naval tradition in the sixteenth century, when a warship entering a foreign port would fire each of its cannons while still out of range of targets. Since cannons then required a considerable time to reload, the ship was effectively disarmed, signifying the lack of hostile intent. In the earliest days, seven guns was the recognized British national salute and although a ship would fire only seven guns, the forts ashore would fire three shots to each one shot afloat, hence the number 21.
WHY NO FOREIGN GUEST IN PARADE OF 2021?
Due to the Covid-19 situation, it was decided that there would be no foreign head of state or head of government as the chief guest for the Republic Day event of 2021. The Ministry of External Affairs announced this after the UK Prime Minister, Boris Johnson cancelled his visit due to the outbreak of the mutant corona-virus strain in the UK. This was the fourth time in the history of India when we were not having any foreign head as the chief guest in our Republic Day celebrations. Before 2021, there was no chief guest in 1952, 1953 and 1966.
HOW WAS THE REPUBLIC DAY OF 2021?
•This year marked the 72nd Republic Day for India.
•The Tricolour was unfurled at Delhi’s Rajpath in presence of President Ram Nath Kovind, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and other dignitaries.
•In a display of India’s military might, Rafale fighter jets took part in the Republic Day flypast for the first time as the armed forces showcased its T-90 tanks, the Samvijay electronic warfare system and Sukhoi-30 MKI fighter jets on the Rajpath.
•A total of 32 tableaux including 17 of various states and UTs, nine of ministries and six from the defence arm were seen going down Rajpath. Among these, the tableaux of Ladakh, the Union Territory that was created in 2019 after bifurcation of Jammu & Kashmir was included for the first time.
•With Covid-19 protocols in place and the protesting farmers’ tractor march scheduled in the national capital, this year’s Republic Day celebrations in New Delhi has a different look.
•The parade featured one of India’s first women fighter pilots - Bhawna Kanth and a contingent of the Bangladesh Armed Forces.
•There were no motorcycle stunts and the spectator size too had been reduced to 25,000 from around 1.25 lakh last year.
•The parade of children who receive bravery awards were also missing.
•The size of marching contingents was reduced from 144 to 96.
•The Ministry of Information and Biotechnology depicted the ‘Vocal for Local’ initiative of the government.
•The tableau of the Department of Biotechnology (DBT) showcased the efforts made by the scientists to manufacture COVID-19 vaccine indigenously.
The Independence of India became possible because of the struggles of the people and the unity shown by them. The Constitution provided the true spirit of independence as it declared our country to be Sovereign, Republic, Democratic and many more. So, we should respect our Constitution and our freedom. The Constitution provides us our rights that should be exercised by us but should not be exceeded. Along with exercising our rights, we should also perform our duties imposed by the Constitution. If we do our actions by following the provisions of the Constitution and with a feeling of fraternity & justice to all, only then we can really enjoy our freedom.
Dr. Rajendra Prasad, the first President of Independent India, in his special message to his countrymen, on the birth of the Indian Republic, said:
"We must re-dedicate ourselves on this day to the peaceful but sure realization of the dream that had inspired the Father of our Nation and the other captains and soldiers of our freedom struggle, the dream of establishing a classless, co-operative, free and happy society in 'his country'. We must remember that this is more a day of dedications than of rejoicing - dedication to the glorious task of making the peasants and workers the toilers and the thinkers fully free, happy and cultured."