India became independent of the United Kingdom on August 15, 1947. India did not have a permanent constitution at this time. The drafting committee presented the constitution’s first draft to the national assembly on November 4, 1947. The national assembly signed the final English and Hindi language versions of the constitution on January 24, 1950.
India’s constitution came into effect on Republic Day, January 26, 1950. This date was chosen as it was the anniversary of Purna Swaraj Day, which was held on January 26, 1930.The constitution gave India’s citizens the power to govern themselves by choosing their own government. Dr Rajendra Prasad took oath as India’s first president at the Durbar Hall in the Government House, followed by a residential drive along a route to the Irwin Stadium, where he unfurled India’s national flag. Ever since the historic day, January 26 is celebrated with festivities and patriotic fervour across India.
Republic Day represents the true spirit of the independent India. Military parades, displays of military equipment and the national flag are important symbols on this date. India’s national flag is a horizontal tricolor of deep saffron (kesaria) at the top, white in the middle and dark green at the bottom in equal proportion. The ratio of the flag’s width to its length is two to three. A navy-blue wheel in the center of the white band represents the chakra. Its design is that of the wheel which appears on the abacus of the Sarnath Lion Capital of Ashoka. Its diameter approximates to the white band’s width and it has 24 spokes.
India will celebrate its 67th Republic Day tomorrow, with President of French Republic, H.E. Mr. Francois Hollande as the chief guest. Thousands of Indians in a festive mood, would line up along Rajpath in the national capital to witness a show of military strength and cultural diversity. Our hearts are filled with pride when we see the National Flag unfurling on Republic Day. 26th January brings out the patriot in us but not everybody knows how much significance the day holds for us. So, here are some facts about Republic Day gathered by us, that every Indian must be aware of:
- The first Republic Day was celebrated on January 26, 1950, three years after we got independence.
2. Republic Day Celebrations are a 3-day long affair. The celebrations end on January 29 with the Beating Retreat ceremony.
3. India’s Constitution is the longest in the world. It has a total of 448 articles. The first copy of the constitution was not printed, but handwritten and calligraphed in Hindi and English.
4. Drafting the Constitution was a herculean task. Dr B.R. Ambedkar took 2 years and 11 months to draft the Indian Constitution.
5. The Constitution was adopted on this day in 1950, and it declared India as a republic, hence the name.
6. Our leaders took the best aspects from other countries’ constitutions. The concept of liberty, equality and fraternity came from the French constitution while the Five-Year Plans came from the USSR constitution.
7. Before the Constitution came into force, India followed British Government’s Government of India Act 1935.
8. A majority of national awards such as Bharat Ratna, Padma Bhushan and Kirti Chakra are awarded during the Republic Day ceremony.
9. In the first Republic day parade, more than 100 aircraft participated. Among them were Liberators, Spitfires, Dakotas, Tempests and Harvards. In comparison, last year’s display had just 33 planes and helicopters.
10. The Indian Air Force came into existence this day. Prior to that it was known as the Royal Indian Air Force. Dropping the prefix was symbolic of Indian independence.
11. The venue was not always Rajpath. Between 1950 and 1954 the venues of the Republic Day parade were Irwin Stadium (now National Stadium), Kingsway, Red Fort and Ramlila grounds. Rajpath, earlier known as Kingsway, became the permanent venue from 1955.
12. The song ‘Abide with Me’ is played on every Republic Day, because it was Mahatma Gandhi’s favourite.
Abide with me; fast falls the eventide;
The darkness deepens; Lord with me abide.
When other helpers fail and comforts flee,
Help of the helpless, O abide with me.
Swift to its close ebbs out life’s little day;
Earth’s joys grow dim; its glories pass away;
Change and decay in all around I see;
O Thou who changest not, abide with me.
Not a brief glance I beg, a passing word,
But as Thou dwell’st with Thy disciples, Lord,
Familiar, condescending, patient, free.
Come not to sojourn, but abide with me.
Thou on my head in early youth didst smile,
And though rebellious and perverse meanwhile,
Thou hast not left me, oft as I left Thee.
On to the close, O Lord, abide with me.
I need Thy presence every passing hour.
What but Thy grace can foil the tempter’s power?
Who, like Thyself, my guide and stay can be?
Through cloud and sunshine, Lord, abide with me.
I fear no foe, with Thee at hand to bless;
Ills have no weight, and tears no bitterness.
Where is death’s sting? Where, grave, thy victory?
I triumph still, if Thou abide with me.
Hold Thou Thy sign before my closing eyes;
Shine through the gloom and point me to the skies.
Heaven’s morning breaks, and earth’s vain shadows flee;
In life, in death, O Lord, abide with me.
watch video of 1st Republic Day Celebrations in 1950 on Youtube
Thanks & Regards – Team ZENITEX