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Monday, January 27, 2014

Republic Day Parade - display of might ... Chief Guests at the Parade

64  years back, a salute of 21 guns and the unfurling of the Indian National flag by Dr. Rajendra Prasad heralded the historic birth of the Indian Republic on January 26, 1950; that significant day was  894 days after our country became a dominion following withdrawal of British Rule. Since then, every year the day is celebrated with great pride and happiness all over the nation. The transition of India from a British colony to a sovereign, secular, and democratic nation was indeed historical. It was a long journey of around two decades that started with the conceptualisation of the dream in 1930 to its actual realization in 1950.

The seeds of a republican nation were sowed at the Lahore session of the Indian National Congress at the midnight of 31st December 1929. Those present in the meeting took a pledge to mark January 26 as "Independence Day" in order to march towards realizing the dream of complete independence from the British. The Lahore Session paved way to the Civil Disobedience movement. It was decided that January 26, 1930 would be observed as the Purna Swaraj (complete Independence) Day. Many Indian political parties and Indian revolutionaries from all over the country united to observe the day with honour and pride.

On Republic Day, flag hoisting ceremonies and parades by armed forces and school children are held in different parts of the country. The grandest and most important of these parades is held at Rajpath in New Delhi, which showcases a multi-hued image of the country's rich cultural heritage and military prowess. This parade is presided over by the President of India.   One of the main functions of the Republic Day Parade is to pay tribute to the martyrs who have sacrificed their lives for the country and to confer bravery awards on military persons, citizenry and children for showing courage in the face of adversity.

The Republic Day Parade is a grand and pompous event.   At Delhi, apart from the parade armed forces, police and other forces;  display of various tanks, missiles and other equipment added to the arsenal of the military,  vibrant parade comprising tableaux from different States and cultural dances;  - children who have won National Bravery Awards ride past the spectators on colourfully decorated elephants. The Republic Day Parade is concluded by dare devil motor cycle riding and a flypast by Indian Air Force fighter jets over Rajpath, as spectators look on with their hearts filled with pride.

Every year, in the Parade,  India has been hosting a Head of State or Government of another country as the state guest of honour for Republic Day celebrations in New Delhi..  Before India fought wars with China and Pakistan, leaders from these countries were invited as state guests for the Republic Day celebrations. Interestingly, Pakistan Food and Agriculture Minister - Rana Abdul Hamid,  was the second state guest from that country for Republic Day in 1965, a few days after which the two countries went to a war. Countries which have been invited multiple times include India's neighbours (Bhutan, Sri Lanka and Mauritius), defence allies (Russia/USSR, France and Britain), trade partners (Brazil) and NAM allies (Nigeria, Indonesia and erstwhile Yugoslavia). France and Bhutan have the distinction of being the guest of honour for the maximum (four) number of times followed by three visits each from Mauritius and USSR/Russia. This year, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe was the Chief Guest.

Photo courtesy :
On the eve of RD,  the President, Shri Pranab Mukherjee, addressed the Nation on the eve of the 65th Republic Day conveying warm greetings to all  citizens. He conveyed  special greetings to members of our Armed Forces, Paramilitary Forces and Internal Security Forces.

Live coverage of the Delhi Parade in Doordarshan attracts good audience for a couple of decades now ….. this year Doordarshan for the first time beamed the live telecast of the ceremony from Rajpath in superior quality High Definition (HD) transmission and also streamed it on YouTube. In another first, hearing impaired people were also able to follow the entire live coverage with the help of sign language commentary on three channels — DD News, DD Bharati and DD Urdu.  Reports state that the telecast on YouTube had more than 60,000 hits by 3 p.m., with many Indians living abroad expressing their happiness in the comments section for being able to see the parade live.  The crystal clear picture quality of the parade arrived on computers, laptops and mobile phones, barely a few seconds behind the actual proceedings. 

Sure all of you celebrated the day.. we did hoisting the National Flag and singing patriotic songs !  Jai Hind..

With regards – S. Sampathkumar

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