What is India’s Republic Day all about?
For those of you who are yet to understand the significance of India’s Republic Day, here’s the briefest and most accurate of summaries – Republic Day in India honours the day when India’s Constitution came into force, which was the 26th of January 1950. This constitution had successfully replaced the Government of India Act of 1935 as the document that governed/s India thereafter.
A Brief History
India gained its independence from the British on the 15th of August 1947 following its civil disobedience and non-violent/peaceful resistance (mass movements) led by Mahatma Gandhi. This independence came into fruition legally through the Indian Independence Act of 1947 – A United Kingdom Parliamentary Act that divided (then) British India into two independent provinces – India and Pakistan of the British Commonwealth of Nations (earlier known as the British Commonwealth).
The independence obtained by India on the 15th of August 1947 was in the form of a constitutional monarchy with Earl Mountbatten and George VI as governor-general and head of state respectively. India, at this point, did not as yet possess a permanent constitution; its laws were instead based on a modification of the colonial Government of India Act of 1935. A Drafting Committee led by Dr B R Ambedkar (Chairman) was officially appointed on the 28th of August 1947 to draft India’s permanent constitution.
While India’s Independence Day commemorates its freedom from the British Rule, its Republic Day commemorates its constitution coming into force. A draft of the constitution was prepared and submitted to the Assembly by the drafting committee on the 4th of November 1947, following which, the Assembly met in sessions that were open to the public. These sessions covered a total of 166 days that were spread over a 2 year, 11 months and 18 day period before the Constitution was finally adopted.
After some modifications and much thought, the 308-member strong Assembly signed 2 hand-written copies of the Constitution (one in Hindi and the other in English) on the 24th of January 1950. Two days following this, the 26th of January 1950 to be precise, saw the Constitution of India come into effect throughout the entire nation.
Republic Day Parade in Delhi (The Capital)
The Republic Day parade in New Delhi is the main attraction of India’s Republic Day Celebrations that lasts for 3 days. This Republic Day parade in Delhi showcases India’s Cultural Heritage, Social Heritage and Defence Capability.
9 to 12 different divisions of the Indian Army including the Air Force and Navy accompanied by their bands march past with great vigour and patriotism whilst covered from head to toe in their distinguished uniforms, while the Indian Armed Forces’ Commander-in-Chief, the President of India, takes the salute.
Republic Day in Goa
Republic Day celebrations in India’s sunshine state – Goa, will commence on the 26th of January 2017 around 9:00am, similar to the rest of the country. Preparations for the same are already underway in the State with its main state level function being held at Campal, Panaji’s Parade Ground, where it is custom for the Governor of Goa to unfurl the nation’s national flag, pay respect to it by saluting it, review the parade and finally address the public.
The flag hoisting ceremony at Campal, Panaji’s Parade Ground will be witnessed by the following dignitaries as is custom – The Chief Minister, Deputy Speaker, Cabinet Ministers, Ld. Advocate General, Leader of Opposition, Judges of High Court, MLA’s, MP’s and others. In addition to these VIP’s the Governor of Goa (as mentioned above) will be present to award Goans who have excelled in their respective fields as well.
The highlight of this day’s celebrations will however always be the Mass Dance Performances, Mass P.T. display, topped by Songs sung by the Children representing different educational institutions.