Long Essay on Republic Day
Republic Day is the red letter day in India’s history. India became a republic on 26th January, 1950 with the adoption of the Constitution. Prior to this date, India was an independent state, but not a republic. A state becomes republic only when its head of state is elected. In the case of our country, President is the head of the state, although a titular head.
There was no head of the state in the country prior to adoption of the constitution. Dr. Rajendra Prasad was the first elected President of India. Hence, India came to be known as republic with the adoption of the Constitution of India on 26th January, 1950. This day is celebrated as the Republic Day. This could well be called the beginning of a new era for India. Every individual, who had attained the age of 21 years, was conferred the right to elect his/ her representative for Parliament and for the legislative assemblies. Every year the Republic Day is celebrated with great pomp and show. Though the celebrations are held at all state headquarters, the show that happens at New Delhi draws the attention of the whole world.
The President in his capacity as the Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces takes the salute at India Gate at New Delhi. The national tricolour is unfurled by the President and the national anthem is played out. There is a grand march past lasting for hours. Dignitaries from various countries and from within our own country are extended invitation to the occasion, to witness the Republic Day parade. Through this gala parade, India showcases its achievements and military prowess. At the end of it, there is an air display in which air force displays its skills in the air. Through these drills and parade, a strong message of solidarity is conveyed to the people of the country as also to the people of the world. Not just military prowess, but also industrial strides and economic progress made by the country are displayed. Also on display are those cultural events that record India’s unity despite diversity.
Preparation for the event starts well in advance. Elaborate arrangements are made to accommodate as many people as possible. The parade begins in the early hours of the morning. It begins with the laying of wreath by the Prime Minister at the Amar Jawan Jyoti at India Gate. This is paying homage to those martyrs who laid down their life for the nation. Those willing to witness the parade and the procession gather there well before that in the winter morning. The President being the Supreme Commander is ceremonially received by the Prime Minister and his entire cabinet together with all three chiefs of army, navy and air force. The President is ceremoniously conducted to the saluting base. He arrives there in a coach driven by five horses. He is usually accompanied by a foreign dignitary invited to the occasion as chief guest.
A big procession follows. Leading the procession is a column of the heroes of the past. These are war medal winners led by the Param Vir Chakra winners. Thereafter, the soldiers from army, navy and air force march past to martial tunes. Platoons from every region take part in the march past. These are followed by pageants of various states displaying their specialities. Therafter, Delhi school children put up their show of well-rehearsed drills. Folk dances and cultural troupes take their turn and display their skill. Delhi police also show their prowess. While all this goes on below, rose petals are showered from above. Running commentary is given of the goings-on. These are broadcast by AIR and Doordarshan. It’s a spectacle worth watching and most of the news channels telecast the programme live for the benefit of viewers distantly placed. The procession passes through different parts of the city before terminating at the Red Fort. Rashtrapati Bhawan and India Gate are illuminated at night and this presents a delightful sight to the viewers. The entire process of the Republic Day parade culminates two days later with the Beating Retreat.
What happens in New Delhi is the central event. Republic Day parade and processions are also held at the provincial capitals with the Governor taking salute. Flag hoisting is done with great fanfare. This is the most important national festival of India and it is celebrated everywhere, in every institution, in every office and almost in every establishment. District magistrates hoist the national flag at their district headquarters. This ensures participation at all levels.
Republic Day is a national holiday. People go out in their best attire and spend happy times together and pledge their commitment to serve the country to the best of their abilities. In defence establishments, parade is held in grand military style followed by Bara Khana. This is a special event for the soldiers who re-dedicate themselves to the service of the nation.