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Wednesday, January 26, 2022

celebrating 73rd Republic Day of the Nation

Dear(s)  – ever wondered the significance of 15th Aug 1947 and 26th Jan 1950 ?   .. .. the fact that on every Indian Independence Day, Prime Minister of the Nation hoists the National Flag and speaks from the ramparts of Lal Qila while the President unfurls Triranga at Rajpath and there is parade are not simply symbolisms !


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 year too – RD Parade at Delhi was so enchanting - Just like every year, India showcased its military might and cultural diversity on Republic Day. This year’s celebrations, however, saw a number of firsts, including, among others, an added day of celebrating Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose’s birth anniversary. The Republic Day Parade kicked off a little later at 10.30 am, to ensure better visibility as Delhi is engulfed with fog on wintry mornings.  Like last year, there was no foreign dignitary as chief guest at the Republic Day Parade.   

The monarchy of the United Kingdom, commonly referred to as the British monarchy, is the constitutional form of government by which a hereditary sovereign reigns as the head of state of the United Kingdom – while India was subjugated to few British monarchs, Queen Elizabeth II, is not our monarch.  The name Albert Frederick Arthur ________ may not exactly ring a bill BUT he was the last Emperor of India – let us read some History.   

Today -  26th Jan 2022 marks the  73rd  Republic Day of the Nation.  At the National Capital, the celebrations began  with the flag-hoisting ceremony by President Ram Nath Kovind, after which the Republic Day parade started from Rajpath. President Ram Nath Kovind ceremonially leaves left Rashtrapati Bhavan, 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.   

                   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 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.    

72  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  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.   

Though India became a free nation on August 15, 1947, it declared itself a Sovereign, Democratic and Republic state with the adoption of the Constitution on January 26, 1950. The Constitution gave the citizens of India the power to choose their own government and paved the way for democracy. Dr. Rajendra Prasad took oath as the first President of India at the Durbar Hall in Government House and this was followed by the Presidential drive along a five-mile route to the Irwin Stadium, where he unfurled the National Flag.


Today is the day  on which the Constitution of India came into effect in 1950, replacing the Government of India Act (1935) as the governing document of India and thus, turning the nation into a newly formed Republic.  The day also marks the transition of India from an autonomous Commonwealth realm with British Monarch as nominal head of the Indian Dominion, to a fully sovereign republic in the Commonwealth of Nations with the President of India as the nominal head of the Indian Union. 

The Constitution was adopted by the Indian Constituent Assembly on 26 November 1949 and came into effect on 26 January 1950 with a democratic government system, completing the country's transition towards becoming an independent republic. 26 January was chosen as the date for Republic day because it was on this day in 1930 when the Declaration of Indian Independence (Purna Swaraj) was proclaimed by the Indian National Congress in lieu of the Realm status as a Dominion later instated by the departing British Regime. 

The Dominion of India, was an independent dominion in the British Commonwealth of Nations existing between 15 August 1947 and 26 January 1950. Until its creation, the Indian subcontinent, commonly called "India" in contemporary usage, had been ruled as an informal empire by the United Kingdom.  The Dominion of India was formalised by the passage of the Indian Independence Act 1947, which also formalised an independent Dominion of Pakistan—comprising the regions of British India that are today Pakistan and Bangladesh. British monarch's regnal title, "Emperor of India," was abandoned. 

George VI (Albert Frederick Arthur George;  1895 – 1952) was King of the United Kingdom and the Dominions of the British Commonwealth from 11 December 1936 until his death in 1952. He was concurrently the last Emperor of India until August 1947, when the British Raj was dissolved. On 20 January 1936, George V died and Edward ascended the throne as King Edward VIII.  In Dec 1936,  Edward abdicated in order to marry Wallis Simpson, who was divorced from her first husband and divorcing her second.  Albert assumed the regnal name "George VI" to emphasise continuity with his father and restore confidence in the monarchy.  He became the Emperor and Monarch of India too. 

  Thus 15th Aug 1947 was the day India was freed from the cruel clutches of the British .. .. then remained a dominion, and only on this day – 26th Jan 1950 became fully free, a Republic, ensuring rule by its own people .. .. celebrating Indian Republic.

On this occasion, let us also remember the great freedom fighters who showed incomparable courage in their pursuit of the dream of Swaraj and fired up the people to fight for it. Two days ago, on 23rd January, all of us observed the one hundred twenty-fifth birth anniversary of Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose, who had adopted the energising salutation of 'Jai-Hind'. His quest for independence and his ambition to make India proud inspire all of us. 

Jai Hind

With regards – S. Sampathkumar
26th Jan 2022. 

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