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Friday, January 26, 2018

Republic Day Parade 2018 # Chennai

From my childhood days ~ I have relished Indian Republic Day more – living closer to Marina beach, the RD parade has always been a great attraction.  This morning TN Governor Sri Bhanwarilal Purohit hoisted the National flag and flagged off the parade.

Today -  26th Jan 2018 marks the  69th Republic Day of the Nation.  At the National Capital, the celebrations began  at 9am with the flag-hoisting ceremony by President Ram Nath Kovind, after which the Republic Day parade started from Rajpath at 9.50 am. This year’s Republic Day is special in a way that there is not one, but 10 chief guests at the event. Prime Minister Narendra Modi has invited all Asean leaders to be a part of celebrations.  Earlier, the President Ram Nath Kovind left Rashtrapati Bhavan for the Republic Day parade escorted by 46 Bodyguards on Bay and Dark Bay coloured mounts. Raised in 1773, the President's Bodyguard is the oldest and senior-most Regiment of the Indian Army.

On 26 January 1950, the newly-sworn President of India, Dr. Rajendra Prasad, rode through the streets of Delhi to reach Irwin Amphitheatre (now Dhyan Chand National Stadium). This was the venue of the first ever Republic Day parade, where 3,000 officers of the armed forces, and more than 100 aircrafts had participated. The tradition of having a Republic Day parade hasn’t changed, though, the parade in itself has evolved over time.   The format of the current parade was adopted in 1955, and Rajpath was chosen as the permanent venue. From then on, Republic day parades have become a projection of the cultural heritage, military capabilities and achievements of the nation, besides being a reflection of India’s changing foreign policy.

To mark the importance of the Republic Day, every year a grand parade is held in the capital, New Delhi, from the Raisina Hill  Rashtrapati Bhavan (the President's residence), along the Rajpath, past India Gate. Prior to its commencement, the Prime Minister lays a floral wreath at the Amar Jawan Jyoti, a memorial to fallen soldiers at the India Gate at one end of Rajpath, which is followed by two minutes silence in the memory of fallen soldiers. It is a solemn reminder of the sacrifice of the martyrs who died for the country in the freedom movement and the succeeding wars for the defence of sovereignty of their country. Thereafter he reaches the main dais at Rajpath to join other dignitaries, subsequently the President arrives along with the chief guest of the occasion. They are escorted on horseback by the President's Bodyguard.

First, the president unfurls the National flag, as the National Anthem is played, and a 21-gun salute is given as the PBG renders the National Salute. Next, important awards like the Ashok Chakra and Kirti Chakra are given away by the President, before the regiments of Armed Forces start their march past. The President comes forward to award the medals of bravery to the people from the armed forces for their exceptional courage in the field and also the civilians, who have distinguished themselves by their different acts of valour in different situations. Children who receive the National Bravery Award ride past the spectators on colourfully decorated elephants or vehicles.  The parade traditionally ends with dare devil motor cycle riding by motorcycle units of the Armed Forces and a flypast by the Indian Air Force jets and helicopters carrying the national flag and the flags of the three services.

In all the State Capitals, there will be a RD parade where the Governor hoists the National flag.  In Chennai, in Kamarajar salai, there was a grand parade – first by armed forces, police and others – with school children and other cultural dances, followed by the tableaux representing the might of armed forces and then floats of various State Govt. departments. 

Tailpiece :  on the Independence Day right from 1947, the Prime Minister of the Nation unfurls the National flag at Red Fort; while it is President on Republic Day.  In the States, it is the CM & Governor respectively.  However on RD 2017, it was TN CM Mr O Panneerselvam who  hoisted the national flag for the first time on the 68th  Republic day of India at the Marina beach in Chennai. Tamil Nadu Governor (in-charge) C Vidyasagar Rao holding dual charge  was in Mumbai on Republic Day and hence the flag was hoisted by the CM.

Here are some photos taken this morning during the Parade in Chennai.

With regards – S. Sampathkumar                                                                       26th Jan 2018.

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