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

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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

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

Also See: History of India

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