Republic Day marks the adoption of the constitution of India and the transition of the country to a republic on January 26, 1950. Every year, the celebrations marking the day feature spectacular military and cultural pageantry. In New Delhi, armed forces personnel march along the Rajpath, in an elaborate display of military might. The epic show on Rajpath eclipses everything else happening across the country on this auspicious day.
While our Independence Day celebrates freedom from British Rule, Republic Day commemorates the constitution coming into force. January 26 was the chosen date since it was on this day in 1929 that the Indian National Congress issued the Declaration of Indian Independence (Purna Swaraj), opposing the British Regime's Dominion status.
On August 15, 1947, India achieved independence. A committee was created a few days later, on August 29, to draft a permanent constitution for independent India. Dr BR Ambedkar was made chairman of the committee. On November 4, 1947, the committee drafted the constitution and submitted it to the Constituent Assembly. The Assembly met in numerous sessions for nearly two years before finally adopting the Constitution. On January 24, 1950, the 308 members of the Assembly signed two handwritten versions of the agreement -- one in Hindi and one in English -- after much deliberation and a few changes.
The constitution came into effect two days later, on January 26, 1950. Dr Rajendra Prasad began his first tenure as President of the Indian Union on that day.
India's constitution, which was formally adopted in 1950, replaced the British colonial Government of India Act (1935) as the country's governing text.
On January 26, 1950, the Preamble to the Constitution of India -- a statement presenting the key principles of the Constitution -- came into effect. This completed the country's transition to a sovereign republic. The Constitution establishes fundamental rights that should be enjoyed by all citizens of this country, regardless of their political beliefs. It also establishes some fundamental duties for all citizens of the country to abide by.
5 Facts About Republic Day
1) Between 1950 and 1954, the Republic Day parade was held at Irwin Stadium (now National Stadium), Kingsway, Red Fort, and Ramlila grounds.
2) Republic Day celebrations have been held at Rajpath since 1955. Rajpath was once known as the Kingsway, in honour of India's then emperor, George V. The road was renamed Rajpath after independence, which also means King's Way in Hindi.
3) Every year, the leader of a particular nation is invited to be the chief guest for the Republic Day parade. President Sukarno of Indonesia was the first to attend India's Republic Day celebrations as chief guest in 1950.
4) The parade starts after the arrival of the President of India. The President's cavalier bodyguards salute the National Flag first. The National Anthem is played, followed by a 21-gun salute. The firing is, however, not done using 21 canons. It is done with seven canons of the Indian army known as '25-Ponders' that fire three rounds each.
5) Each member of the army who takes part in the march must go through four layers of investigation. Aside from that, their arms are extensively inspected to ensure they are not carrying live bullets.