As the sun graced the horizon, a breath of freshness enveloped the air ahead of the anticipation of India’s Republic Day celebrations. There was an air of excitement in entire country during its 75th Republic Day.
Roads had been immaculately cleaned, soldiers had meticulously groomed their uniforms, and guests had adorned themselves in their best outfits. Thousands of people from around the world had converged in the capital city of Delhi to witness one of the most grandeur displays of Indian culture, traditions, values, and defence prowess- the great Republic Day Parade.
This historic day symbolizes the culmination of India’s struggle for independence and the establishment of a government by the people, for the people. Beyond the well-known significance of Republic Day, which marks the adoption of the Indian Constitution in 1950, there exist lesser-known facts that add layers to the celebration. In this article, we will cover some of these facts.
Ministry of defense: the architects of republic day theme:
Although all the preparations are supervised by the central government, it is actually the department of defense which conducts all the ground work.
The theme for republic day, which is “Viksit Bharat” (Developed India) and “Bharat: Loktantra ki Matrika” (India: The Mother of Democracy), is decided by the ministry of defense.
For tableau display, five themes on Indian freedom struggle, democracy, and overall achievements are finalized. They are India@75 – Freedom struggle, Ideas @ 75, Achievements @ 75, Actions @ 75 and Resolve @ 75.
The themes are then shared with all the states and union territories through letters. This year, 80 union ministries, all states and union territories, along with election commission and Niti Ayog were invited. These preparations begin as early as September. By the end of September, all the invited states and departments are requested to submit a blue print of the tableau for the parade.
The interesting process of tableau selection:
A tableau is exhibition on wheels which showcases the cultural or ethnic diversity, achievements, or the traditional crafts of different states. But not every state and territory represents a tableau on the republic day parade.
The selection of participants and themes for the tableaux is a competitive process. Each participating state or department submits proposals in the form of blueprints. A special committee of ministry of defense then meticulously analyses each submission based on their appeal, creativity, relevance, and the overall use of sustainable materials.
Apart from this, each design should be unique, well-engineered, displaying the use of artificial intelligence and automation, and should also be designed by young designers.
The tableau should have dimensions of 8 feet*8 feet*4.2 feet (length* width* Height), with the name of the state/ UT written in front (Hindi), sides (regional language) and at the back side (in English) of the tableau. No other fonts or written materials are included.
The selection process, which began in the second week of October, is conducted in two phases. In phase one, the blueprints are analysed, selected, altered, or rejected on the above criteria. In phase two, 3D models of the selected designs are prepared and chosen for the parade.
Tableaus are crucial part of the parade but are not the only part. The parade also comprises of the display of defense prowess of the nation. The 21 cannons used in the 21-gun salute during the parade hold a hidden piece of history. These cannons, known as “Monsoon Guns,” were originally captured from Portuguese forces in Goa in 1510.
The parade also comprised of trained dogs in 2016, where 36 dogs participated in the parade. Prior to this, dogs participated in the republic day parade in 1990.
Some other facts about republic day:-
- Artillery regiment/ department participated for the first time in the republic day parade this year. Apart from this, this republic day put major emphasis on the increased participation of women.
- Each year republic day parade begins from Rashtra Pati Bhawan and ends at India Gate. The stretch in between these points is called as Kartavya Path, formally known as Rajpath.
- In 2023, the Indian Navy made history by showcasing its all-women marching contingent, the first for any Indian defense service at the Republic Day parade.
- India is the world’s largest democracy by population, with over 1.3 billion citizens, and not only this, the Indian constitution is the longest written constitution in the world as well. It currently comprises of 470 articles divided into 25 parts, 12 schedules, and 5 appendices.
As the final notes of the National Anthem fade away and the last tableau rolls past, the echoes of celebration linger in the air. Republic Day is not just a display of military might but is also a celebration of democracy and freedom. And in the spirit of unity, Republic Day festivities come to a close, marking another year of pride and celebration for India.