Every Indian heart fills with pride and respect upon hearing the National Anthem and National Flag unfurling on the morning of 26th January, our Republic Day. Although we feel so proud about this memorable day, but do we really understand how significant this is.
In this article we have rounded up a few facts that not many Indians would be aware of:
Did you know that our constitution is the longest (with 448 articles) and one of the best constitutions in the world?
It was Dr B R Ambedkar who took the Herculean task of drafting the constitution. It took him over 2 years and 11 months to draft the constitution of India. Before our constitution came into force, India followed the Government of India Act, 1935. (by the British Government)
Its first copy was not in the printed format, rather handwritten (calligraphed) in English as well as Hindi. To draft a strong constitution, best aspects from other countries’ constitution were included. For example, the right to equality, liberty and fraternity were taken from France, while the 5-year planning system came from the USSR.
Why do you think 26th January was selected?
Well, in the pre-independence era, 26th January 1930 was celebrated as the Purna Swaraj Day. It was on this day that India decided to fight strong for complete freedom (purna swaraj). Upon independence, our freedom leaders wanted this date to be remembered, so our constitution was adopted on this day.
It was on this day in the year 1950 that Dr Rajendra Prasad was elected as the first President of independent India.
Do you often wonder why the English song ‘Abide With Me’, is played at the Republic Day Parade? Well, it is one of the most favourite songs of the Father of our Nation (Mahatma Gandhi).
On 26th January 2016, for the first time, our entire nation will honour and salute the contributions of Canine Division (Dogs Squad) in the Indian Army.
Last year (2015), Barack Obama attended the Republic Day celebrations with the First-lady as the Chief Guest.
But prior to him, Indian history has seen many remarkable leaders from across the globe, including Malik Ghulam Muhammad, Pakistan’s Governor General to attend the celebration as the Chief Guest. This year, French President Francois Hollande is expected to be our guest of honour.
It was on 26th January 1950 that Indian Air Force came into existence, earlier it was known by the name Royal Indian Air Force.
You would be surprised to know that Rajpath is not the only venue to host this celebration. Before 1954, the parade was held at Irwin Stadium (now National stadium), Ramlila ground, Red fort and Kingsway (now called Rajpath).
The 3-day Republic day celebration concludes with a military ceremony on the 29th January with the three armed forces and paramilitary forces marching to the tunes of their bands.
The Republic Day celebration also signifies a day on which the brave heroes and protectors of our nation are honoured with National Bravery Awards by the President of India. The awards include Maha Veer Chakra, Param Veer Chakra, Veer Chakra, Ashoka Chakra and Kirti Chakra.