Republic Day is celebrated to commemorate the day when the country became ‘republic’. The word republic is derived from latin words ‘res publica’ which literally means an entity for the public. It is a form of government in which the supreme power is held by the people and their elected representatives, and has an elected or nominated President rather than a Monarch. The celebration of Republic Day is a vibrant display of national pride, unity, and the indomitable spirit of the Indian people.
Republic Day of India (Bharat) marks the date on which the Constitution of India came into effect, i.e., on 26 January 1950, as the governing document of India, replacing the colonial ‘Government of India Act (1935)’ adapted from the Parliament of the United Kingdom. The Constitution was adopted by the ‘Indian Constituent Assembly’ on 26 November 1949, and came into effect on 26 January 1950. ‘Samvidhan Divas’ or the ‘National Law Day’ is celebrated on 26th November every year to commemorate the adoption of the Constitution of India.
The Constitution of India lays down the framework that demarcates political code, structure, procedures, powers, and duties of government institutions. It also sets out the fundamental rights, directive principles, and the duties of its Citizens. It is the longest written Constitution of any Country.
India celebrates 26th January as the Republic Day. The date of 26 January was chosen as the Republic Day because it was on this day in 1929 when Declaration of Indian Independence (Purna Swaraj) was proclaimed by the Indian National Congress. Republic Day holds immense historical significance as it signifies the culmination of India’s struggle for independence and the establishment of a self-governing nation. On 26 January 1950, Rajendra Prasad was elected as the first President of India by the Constituent Assembly. The celebration of Republic Day serves as a poignant reminder of India’s journey from colonial rule to an independent republic.
Grand Parade at Rajpath
The Republic Day celebration is held in New Delhi (the national capital), at the Rajpath before the President of India. On this day, ceremonious parades take place at the Rajpath – performed as a tribute to India, its unity in diversity, and rich cultural heritage, and showcase the mighty strength of armed forces.
The event begins with the unfurling of the national flag by the President of India, followed by the singing of the national anthem. The parade then proceeds, featuring colorful floats, tableaux representing different states, performances by various cultural groups, and exhibitions showcasing India’s progress in fields such as science, agriculture, and technology. The Beating Retreat ceremony is conducted on the evening of 29 January after officially denoting the end of Republic Day festivities.
Pride of the Armed Forces
Republic Day is an occasion to pay tribute to the valor and dedication of the Indian Armed Forces. The parade showcases the military might of the country, with displays of advanced weaponry, marching contingents, and breathtaking aerobatic displays by the Indian Air Force. The event honors the sacrifices of the armed forces and serves as a reminder of their unwavering commitment to protecting the nation’s sovereignty.
Bharat’s rich Culture and Heritage
India’s cultural diversity takes center stage during the Republic Day celebrations. The parade features vibrant performances by folk dancers, musicians, and artists from different states, each showcasing their unique traditions, costumes, and art forms. The cultural display highlights the unity in diversity that is inherent to India and reinforces the country’s rich heritage.
The parade also showcases beautifully crafted tableaux that depict various aspects of India’s history, culture, and progress. Each state and union territory presents its tableau, incorporating elements that represent their distinctive features, architectural marvels, famous festivals, and social initiatives. These mesmerizing creations offer a glimpse into India’s cultural mosaic and its multifaceted identity.
Flag Hoisting Ceremonies
Republic Day is celebrated with great fervor across the country. Schools, colleges, government offices, and public spaces hoist the national flag and organize patriotic programs. People gather to sing the national anthem, participate in cultural events, and express their love for the country. The day instills a sense of unity and national pride among citizens of all ages and backgrounds.
Preamble to the Constitution of India
The Preamble to the Constitution of India is an introductory statement that presents the key principles of the Constitution, which was adopted on 26 November 1949 by the Constituent Assembly, and came into effect on 26 January 1950.
The original Preamble was amended only once on 18 December 1976, by a Captive Parliament during the Emergency, as the 42nd Amendment of the Constitution of India. The words ‘Sovereign Democratic Republic’ were changed to ‘Sovereign Socialist Secular Democratic Republic’, and the words ‘unity of the Nation’ were changed to ‘unity and integrity of the Nation’. The following is the Preamble to the Constitution of India.
WE, THE PEOPLE OF INDIA, having solemnly resolved to constitute India into a SOVEREIGN SOCIALIST SECULAR DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC and to secure to all its citizens:
JUSTICE, social, economic, and political;
LIBERTY of thought, expression, belief, faith, and worship;
EQUALITY of status and of opportunity;
and to promote among them all FRATERNITY assuring the dignity of the individual and the unity and integrity of the Nation;
IN OUR CONSTITUENT ASSEMBLY this 26th day of November, 1949, do HEREBY ADOPT, ENACT AND GIVE TO OURSELVES THIS CONSTITUTION
Soft copy of the Constitution of India is available online, and can be accessed from the Government of India website – https://legislative.gov.in/constitution-of-india.
The celebration of India’s Republic Day is a grand affair that unites the nation in its shared history, values, and aspirations. Through the parade, cultural performances, and flag hoisting ceremonies, the event epitomizes the spirit of patriotism, inclusiveness, and the progress of a democratic nation. Republic Day serves as a reminder of India’s commitment to upholding its constitutional ideals and offers a glimpse into the vibrant tapestry of its diverse heritage. As the Indian tricolor unfurls and resonates with the spirit of freedom, Republic Day stands as a testament to the collective resolve of the Indian people to build a prosperous and harmonious nation for generations to come.