Republic Day

In India, 26th January is celebrated as Republic Day.

Updated: June 16, 2020

In India, 26th January is celebrated as Republic Day. In 1950 on 26th of January, Constitution of India came into force. It is the same day, the Indian National Congress had declared Independence. So, Republic Day honors this day on which the Constitution of India came into effect replacing the Government of India Act (1935) as the governing document of India.

It is one of the three national holidays of India, including Independence Day and Gandhi Jayanti. Being a gazetted holiday all government offices and most businesses are closed on Republic Day.

India achieved independence from British Raj on 15 August 1947 as a constitutional monarchy. The country did not yet have a permanent constitution till then and its laws were based on the modified colonial Government of India Act 1935. On 28 August 1947, the Drafting Committee was appointed to draft a permanent constitution, with Dr B R Ambedkar as chairman.

A draft constitution was prepared by the committee and submitted to the Constituent Assembly on 4 November 1947. The Assembly met, in sessions open to public, for 166 days, spread over a period of two years, 11 months and 18 days before adopting the Constitution. 

After many deliberations and some modifications, the 308 members of the Assembly signed two hand written copies, one each in Hindi and English of the document on 24 January 1950. Two days later, on 26 January 1950, it came into effect throughout the whole nation. Dr. Rajendra Prasad's first term of office as President of the Indian Union began on that day.

As the Constituent Assembly became the Parliament of India under the transitional provisions of the new Constitution, this date is celebrated in India as the Republic Day.  

The main parade takes place in the national capital New Delhi, at the Rajpath before the president who unfurls the national flag. Celebrations are also held in state capitals where the Governor of the state unfurls the national flag.
On this day, ceremonious parades take place at the Rajpath, which are performed as a tribute to India, its unity in diversity and rich cultural heritage. The Ministry of Defence organizes Delhi Republic Day parade that is held in the capital, New Delhi. 

The parade starts from the gates of the Rashtrapati Bhavan on Rajpath to the India Gate. This event is the main attraction of Republic Day Celebrations in India that last for three days. The parade showcases the Defence Capability, Cultural and Social Heritage of India.

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.

Countries including France, UK, Bhutan, Russia, Indonesia, Mauritius, Brazil, Japan, Nepal, Nigeria, Pakistan, Singapore,Philippines, Sri Lanka, Thailand and Vietnam are also invited as chief guests for the Republic Day parade. Since 1950, India has been hosting head of state or government of another country as the state guest of honour for Republic Day celebrations in New Delhi.

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