Every January 26, India’s Republic Day honours the date on which the Constitution of India came into force on 26 January 1950 replacing the Government of India Act (1935) as the governing document of India. The main Republic Day celebration is held in the national capital, New Delhi, at the Rajpath before the President of India.
This year, the Republic Day celebrations will have 10 heads from Thailand, Vietnam, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, Myanmar, Cambodia, Laos, and Brunei - as chief guests. The 69th Republic Day parade will see participants not only from the Indian Army, Air Force, Navy, but it will also showcase over 700 students across the guest countries performing at the event (Times of India, 25 January 2018).
The Constitution was passed by the Constituent Assembly of India on 26 November 1949 but was adopted on 26 January 1950 with a democratic government system, completing the country's transition toward becoming an independent republic. 26 January was selected for this purpose because it was this day in 1930 when the Declaration of Indian Independence (Purna Swaraj) was proclaimed by the Indian National Congress. It is one of three national holidays in India, other two being Independence Day and Gandhi Jayanti.
India achieved independence from British rule on 15 August 1947 following the Indian independence movement noted for largely peaceful nonviolent resistance and civil disobedience led by the Indian National Congress. The independence came through the Indian Independence Act 1947 (10 & 11 Geo 6 c. 30), an Act of the Parliament of the United Kingdom that partitioned British India into the two new independent Dominions of the British Commonwealth (later Commonwealth of Nations): India and Pakistan. India obtained its independence on 15 August 1947 as a constitutional monarchy with George VI as head of state and the Earl Mountbatten as governor-general. The country, though, did not yet have a permanent constitution; instead 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. While India's Independence Day celebrates its freedom from British Rule, the Republic Day celebrates the coming into force of its constitution.
A draft constitution was prepared by the committee and submitted to the Assembly on 4 November 1947. The Assembly met, in sessions open to public, for 166 days, spread over a period of 2 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 of the document (one each in Hindi and English) on 24 January 1950. Two days later, it came into effect throughout the nation.
NDTV India (25 January 2018) indicated the following highlights for this year’s Republic Day Celebrations:
- The ceremonial parade on January 26 is slated to begin at 9:50 am from Vijay Chowk and proceed towards the Red Fort Grounds through Rajpath, India Gate, Tilak Marg, Bahadur Shah Zafar Marg and Netaji Subhash Marg. There will be a total 23 tableaux at the Republic Day parade on January 26, with participation of 14 states/Union Territories and nine Central Ministries.
- As part of the celebrations, a scintillating flypast and air display by various aircraft will be the hallmark of the Republic Day Parade at Rajpath. Rehearsals for the Flypast and Air display commenced from January 18, 2018 (Thursday). The general area over which aircraft will be flying at low levels are Charkhi Dadri-Jhajjar-Yamuna River.
- In an unprecedented event, leaders of all the 10 ASEAN member countries -- Thailand, Vietnam, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, Myanmar, Cambodia, Laos and Brunei -- will be chief guests at the ceremonial parade at Rajpath on January 26.
- This year's parade will see participants not just from the Indian Army, Air Force, Navy, it will see over 700 students across the guest countries performing at the event. 113 women from the Border Security Force or BSF will also perform stunts on motorcycles.
- The 'Bharat Parv' event is being organized by the Government of India at the Red Fort, Delhi from 26th to 31st January, 2018 as part of the Republic Day 2018 celebrations. The prime objective of organizing the event is to generate a patriotic mood, promote the rich cultural diversity of the country and to ensure wider participation of the general public.
- A total of 795 Police personnel have been awarded Medals on the occasion of the Republic Day this year. Police Medals for Gallantry (PMG) have been awarded to 107 personnel, President's Police Medals for Distinguished Service to 75 personnel and Police Medal for Meritorious Service to 613 personnel.
- Eighteen children, including seven girls have been selected for the National Bravery Awards 2017. Three of the bravehearts are being awarded posthumously. They would participate in the Republic Day Parade 2018 at the Rajpath, where they would be one of the main attractions of the event.
- The Padma awards, which seek to recognise works of distinction and exceptional achievements in different fields, will be announced tomorrow, ie, on January 25. The awards -- Padma Vibhushan, Padma Bhushan and Padma Shri -- are announced on the eve of the Republic Day every year. They are given in different fields and disciplines such as art, literature and education, sports, medicine, social work, science and engineering, public affairs, civil service, trade and industry. More than 15,700 people applied for the prestigious awards for 2018, with the government laying stress on honouring the unsung heroes.
- This year, the government's research institute ICAR will for the first time participate in the Republic Day parade with its tableau showcasing integrated farming as key for doubling farmers' income.
- NDTV (25 January 2018). Republic Day 2018: 10 Important Things to Know About Republic Day Celebrations. Retrieved from https://www.ndtv.com/education/republic-day-2018-on-january-26-important-things-students-should-know-about-celebrations-1804348
- Times of India (25 January 2918). Republic Day Celebrations 2018. Here’s what’s Special This Year. Retrieved from https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/republic-day-celebrations-2018-heres-whats-special-this-year/articleshow/62641787.cms
2016 Version of the Indian National Anthem
Full video of the occasion