Recently 26 January marked India’s 68th Republic Day. Republic Day honors the date on which the Constitution of India came into effect on 26 January 1950 replacing the Government of India Act (1935) as the governing document of India.
Delhi Republic Day parade is held in the capital, New Delhi. Commencing from the gates of the Rashtrapati Bhavan (the President’s residence), Raisina Hill on Rajpath past the India Gate, this event is the main attraction of India’s Republic Day Celebrations lasting 3 days. The parade showcases India’s Defence Capability, Cultural and Social Heritage.
Nine to twelve different regiments of the Indian Army in addition to the Navy, and Air Force with their bands march past in all their finery and official decorations. The President of India who is the Commander-in-Chief of the Indian Armed Forces, takes the salute. Twelve contingents of various para-military forces of India and other civil forces also take part in this parade.
The history of India’s Republic Day is quite intriguing. Although India obtained its independence on 15 August 1947, it was functioning as a constitutional monarchy with George VI as head of state and the Earl Mountbatten as the governor-general. India did not its own permanent constitution. Independent India’s laws were based on the modified colonial Government of India Act 1935. Seeing an issue with this, a drafting committee was appointed on 28 August 1947, to pen down a permanent constitution. The chairman of this committee was the great Dr B R Ambedkar who was also the principle architect of the Constitution. The committee prepared a draft constitution and submitted it to the Assembly on 4 November 1947. This was followed by 166 days of open public sessions spread over a period of 2 years, 11 months and 18 days. Finally, on 24 January 1950, after many deliberations and some modifications, two hand-written copies of the document were produced and the 308 members of the Assembly signed on them. Two days later, the Constitution of India came into effect throughout the nation.