India Celebrates – The 68th Republic Day

The Constitution of India came into force on 26th January 1950 and the day is marked as the Republic Day which gave power to the people from the hands of a few. It was in 1930 on January 26th when the most powerful political entity in India, the Indian National Congress declared ‘Purna Swaraj’ opposing the Dominion status offered by the British, suggesting another importance of selecting the date as Republic Day.

The day’s highlight has always been the celebrations at Rajpath before the President of India. The Republic Day Parade in Delhi showcases the nation’s Defence Capability, Cultural and Social Heritage. The celebrations goes on for a period of 3 days and ends with the Beating Retreat conducted on the evening of 29th January.

Being a high profile event, a lot of thought goes into choosing the Chief Guest for the Republic Day Parade. The first Republic Day Parade in 1950 was attended by the Indonesian President followed by the King of Nepal in 1951. In the past two years of the present government, the former US President Barack Obama and French President Francois Hollande were invited with a motive to have the best possible ties with the western powers. This year, the chief guest for the Republic Day is Crown Prince Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed of UAE. Last year, French troops marched along with the Indian troops in the Republic Day Parade. This time troops from UAE are expected to lead the Parade. Clearly, the focus have shifted towards India’s neighbourhood, especially the Gulf region. The Comprehensive Strategic Partnership which has been spoken about in 2015 will materialise this time with major focus on joint defence production.

With such high profile guests including Prime Minister Narendra Modi and President Pranab Mukherjee at the venue, Delhi is likely to be under ground-to-air security cover with more than 60000 armed personnel keeping a tight vigil. From anti-drone technology to prevention from chemical attacks, the national capital region is expected to be on high alert with Delhi borders being sealed and cars entering being thoroughly checked.

The Republic Day Parade will showcase aerial fly-past by the Indian Air Force with Light Combat Aircraft making its debut in the Parade. The Indian Navy will highlight the indigenously built Kolkata class destroyer along with Kalvari class next generation attack submarines. Audience will also be witness to tableaux from 17 states and union territories and 6 Union Ministries. There will be tribute to Lokmanya Tilak on his 160th birth anniversary with the ‘Swaraj Rath’, other than promotional tableaux of Skill India, Digital India and Beti Bachao Beti Padao which the pet schemes of the central government.

As citizens, the Republic Day enables us to re-think on the lines of our founding fathers who wanted to make this country a sovereign, secular and democratic republic. It is a day to be proud of ourselves who have given each other the constitution by having solemnly resolved our differences and pledging to secure all the citizens of Justice, Liberty Equality and Fraternity. The day reconfirms our faith on the fact that all the power emanates from the people and the political system will always be accountable and responsible to the people of the great country.

Swaraj is everyones birthright, and everyone must have it.

Happy Republic Day

By Rahul Choudhury

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