Indian Republic day – 10 things that you didn’t know!

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Indian Republic Day 2018
Indian Republic Day 2018

Indian Republic day – 10 things that you didn’t know!

Indian republic day celebrates the day on which the constitution of India came into effect and India became a complete republic after 200 years of British rule.

The Constitution of India came into effect on 26 January 1950 at 10:18 am replacing the Government of India Act (1935) as the governing document of India.

Indian Republic Day 1952
Indian Republic Day 1952

The Constitution was adopted by the Indian Constituent Assembly on 26 November 1949, and came into effect on 26 January 1950 with a democratic government system, which completed the process of self rule and full independence.

26 January was chosen as the Republic day because it was on this day in 1930 when Declaration of Indian Independence (Purna Swaraj- complete independence) was proclaimed by the Indian National Congress as opposed to the Dominion status offered by British Regime.

The Indian republic day will be celebrated in its full glory on 26th January. There will be 10 honorable guests from across the globe this time to mark their presence on the Indian republic day 2018.

The honourable guests for Indian Republic Day 2018 were:

  1. Sultan and incumbent Prime Minister Hassanal Bolkiah – Brunei
  2. Prime Minister Hun Sen – Cambodia
  3. President Joko Widodo – Indonesia
  4. Prime Minister Thongloun Sisoulith – Laos
  5. Prime Minister Najib Razak – Malaysia
  6. President Htin Kyaw – Myanmar
  7. President Rodrigo Roa Duterte – Philippines
  8. President Halimah Yacob – Singapore
  9. Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha – Thailand
  10. Prime Minister Nguyễn Xuân Phúc – Vietnam

10 Interesting facts you probably didn’t know about Indian Republic Day

1. Beating Retreat: We all know about Republic Day parade on 26th of January every year which showcases Indian culture, heritage, diversity and military prowess.Only a few know that there is a Beating Retreat ceremony which is held after officially denoting the end of Republic Day festivities. It is conducted on the evening of 29 January, the third day after the Republic Day. It is performed by the bands of the three wings of the military, the Indian Army, Indian Navy and Indian Air Force. The parade takes place from Rashtrapati Bhaven, adjacent square, Vijay Chowk, flanked by the North and South block of President’s Palace, towards the end of Rajpath.

Indian Republic Day 2018
Beating Retreat

2. Between 1950–1954, Republic Day celebrations were not organized at the current venue of Rajpath. It was organised at different venues (like Irwin Stadium, Kingsway, Red Fort and Ramlila Grounds). Republic day 2018 will be celebrated at Rajpath which started from 1955.

3. It was on republic day that the word ‘Royal’ was dropped from Royal Air Force and it became Indian Air Force. Indian Air Force was born on republic day

IAF show on Indian Republic Day 2010
IAF show on Indian Republic Day 2010

4. The lion head from Ashoka Pillar in Sarnath was formally adopted as the national emblem on the same day.

Ashoka Pillar
Ashoka Pillar

5. Interestingly a song completely unrelated to Indian republic, Christian hymn by Scottish Anglican Henry Francis Lyte, ‘Abide with Me’, is played at the end of the Republic Day Parade. The reason for this is that it was always a favourite song of the founding father or father of the nation Mahatma Gandhi. Just in case you are interested below is a couple of stanza from the song

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.

6. India celebrates republic day after it got independence from British occupation, all was not sour though as the chief guest on republic day celebration, 1961 was Queen Elizabeth from Britain.

Queen Elizabeth with President Rajendra Prasad
Queen Elizabeth with President Rajendra Prasad

7. It was on 26th of January in 1965 that Hindi (हिंदी ) language was declared as the national language of India.

8. Republic day is a celebration of adoption of Indian constitution. India has the longest written Constitution in the world. It has 448 articles in 22 Parts, 12 Schedules and 97 Amendments.There are two hand-written copies of the Constitution — in Hindi and in English. The copies are kept in helium filled cases in the Parliament’s library.

9. On January 26, 2016, the Protocol Department of the Government of Maharashtra held its first parade along the entire stretch of Marine Drive in Mumbai, only of it kind for a state in India

10. On the first Republic day Around six minutes after the adoption of constitution at 10:18 AM, Dr. Rajendra Prasad was sworn in as the first President of India

Below is the list of chief guests for Republic Day throughout history since inception. The chief guest list for Indian Republic Day 2018 is already given above

Year Guest name Country
1950 President Sukarno Indonesia
1951 King Tribhuvan Bir Bikram Shah Nepal
1952 No invitation No invitation
1953 No invitation No invitation
1954 King Jigme Dorji Wangchuck Bhutan
1955 Governor General Malik Ghulam Muhammad Pakistan
1956 Chancellor of the Exchequer R. A. Butler United Kingdom
Chief Justice Kotaro Tanaka Japan
1957 Minister of Defence Georgy Zhukov Soviet Union
1958 Marshall Ye Jianying China
1959 Duke of Edinburgh Prince Philip United Kingdom
1960 Chairman Kliment Voroshilov Soviet Union
1961 Queen Elizabeth II United Kingdom
1962 Prime Minister Viggo Kampmann Denmark
1963 King Norodom Sihanouk Cambodia
1964 Chief of Defence Staff Lord Louis Mountbatten United Kingdom
1965 Food and Agriculture Minister Rana Abdul Hamid Pakistan
1966 No invitation No invitation
1967 King Mohammed Zahir Shah Afghanistan
1968 Chairman Alexei Kosygin Soviet Union
President Josip Broz Tito Yugoslavia
1969 Prime Minister Todor Zhivkov Bulgaria
1970 King of the Belgians Baudouin Belgium
1971 President Julius Nyerere Tanzania
1972 Prime Minister Seewoosagur Ramgoolam Mauritius
1973 President Mobutu Sese Seko Zaire
1974 President Josip Broz Tito Yugoslavia
Prime Minister Sirimavo Bandaranaike Sri Lanka
1975 President Kenneth Kaunda Zambia
1976 Prime Minister Jacques Chirac France
1977 First Secretary Edward Gierek Poland
1978 President Patrick Hillery Ireland
1979 Prime Minister Malcolm Fraser Australia
1980 President Valéry Giscard d’Estaing France
1981 President Jose Lopez Portillo Mexico
1982 King Juan Carlos I Spain
1983 President Shehu Shagari Nigeria
1984 King Jigme Singye Wangchuck Bhutan
1985 President Raúl Alfonsín Argentina
1986 Prime Minister Andreas Papandreou Greece
1987 President Alan Garcia Peru
1988 President J. R. Jayewardene Sri Lanka
1989 General Secretary Nguyen Van Linh Vietnam
1990 Prime Minister Anerood Jugnauth Mauritius
1991 President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom Maldives
1992 President Mário Soares Portugal
1993 Prime Minister John Major United Kingdom
1994 Prime Minister Goh Chok Tong Singapore
1995 President Nelson Mandela South Africa
1996 President Dr. Fernando Henrique Cardoso Brazil
1997 Prime Minister Basdeo Panday Trinidad and Tobago
1998 President Jacques Chirac France
1999 King Birendra Bir Bikram Shah Dev Nepal
2000 President Olusegun Obasanjo Nigeria
2001 President Abdelaziz Bouteflika Algeria
2002 President Cassam Uteem Mauritius
2003 President Mohammed Khatami Iran
2004 President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva Brazil
2005 King Jigme Singye Wangchuck Bhutan
2006 King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz al-Saud Saudi Arabia
2007 President Vladimir Putin Russia
2008 President Nicolas Sarkozy France
2009 President Nursultan Nazarbayev Kazakhstan
2010 President Lee Myung Bak South Korea
2011 President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono Indonesia
2012 Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra Thailand
2013 King Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck Bhutan
2014 Prime Minister Shinzo Abe Japan
2015 President Barack Obama United States
2016 President François Hollande France
2017 Crown Prince Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan United Arab Emirates

Also See: History of India

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