By: Shubhangi Mishra
Republic Day is celebrated every year to laud the day India’s constitution came into operation. The Constitution marked the absolute shift of power from the British to the Indians. This also meant that India was now all set to embark on its journey of being an independent nation. Republic Day holds an important place in our nation’s history. After more than 100 years of being ruled over by the British, India got its independence on 15th August in 1947, following which, the Constituent Assembly worked to put together a Constitution for India.
This period was extremely crucial for India. The entire nation was recovering from years of trauma and was in a fragile state. It was extremely necessary for the Constituent Assembly to lay down a constitution that could help this newly formed Republic. Since then, every year, people of all ages can be seen memorializing this day as the day India emerged from the ruins and moved on to become a better nation, free from any form of rule. The constitution contained 395 Articles and 8 Schedules at the time of adoption. The constitution was the longest one to be adopted by a nation. When it was under construction, the various articles of the constitution were thoroughly debated upon by the assembly. This process was spread over a period of two years and 11 months. It took the assembly 11 sessions and 167 days to finalize the constitution. The constitution had two copies, one written in Hindi and one in English.
The constitution has seen many amendments and so far, as of 2020, all the articles have been amended in some way or the other. The constitution wasn't even typed or printed, but it was written by Prem Behari Narain Raizada in his beautiful calligraphy. The Indian Constitution was highly influenced by countries like the USA, UK, France, Canada etc. For example the bill of rights taken by The USA or the concept of citizenship inspired by The UK. The Indian constitution has everything that is necessary for our democratic nation to sustain. The duties and rights of authorities and citizens are clearly defined in it.
Every Republic Day, a national parade takes place at Janpath to celebrate India's rich culture and diversity. The parade is organised by the Defence Ministry of India. The parade sees various tableaux representing different parts of the country. It is extremely grand and important for the nation which observes the participation of more than one lakh people including school-going children. Every year, this day is celebrated with zeal among young students as well as others with the hoisting of flags in schools and various competitions are held to give students a chance to showcase their talents and promote a sense of patriotism.
The Covid 19 virus had an adverse impact on this year’s 72nd Republic parade. This was among the few in which no special guest was invited. UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson was not able to travel to India due to the rise of Covid-19 cases in the UK and the new travel restrictions. This year, considering the situation of Covid-19, the number of people participating was cut down massively. In addition to that, this year, all the social distancing norms were followed in the event with its invitations, and attendees have been reduced from 1,50,000 to 25,000. Special acknowledgment was given to the health care workers who helped the country in these tough times. This year, motorcycle stunt by troops of the army and the Central Armed Police Force personnel were missing with a lot of other leading shows of combat. IAF flight Lieutenant Swati Rathore lead the fly-past as the first female to lead a fly-past in a Republic Day parade and flight lieutenant Bhawan Kanth was a part of the IAF tableau. The newly inducted and controversial fighter jets from France, Rafale aircraft was also be featured in this Republic Day parade and joined the fly-past by carrying out the most renowned ‘Vertical Charlie’ formation. It was seen that a total of 38 aircrafts with 4 aircrafts from the Indian army marched for the country this year. The fly-past witnessed drills of light combat aircraft (LCA), light combat helicopter (LCH), and the Sukhoi-30 fighters. The 122 soldiers from Bangladesh armed forces who arrived in India earlier this year were also a part of this historical parade and Bangladesh became the 3rd nation to participate in the Republic day parade. The other two being France and UAE.
Moreover, this year also saw a tractor rally organized by farmers as a form of resistance against the Farm Bills that were passed in September 2020. Since the several talks with the Central Government did not lead to any viable solution, the farmers decided to take control of this situation themselves. Currently, caravans of more than 2 lakh tractors have clogged the highways entering Delhi near the Sindhu border. The rally that took place consisted of more than 5 lakhs farmers who were protesting against new farm laws for two months and streamed into the capital on Republic Day. This rally has been called by the Kisan Ekta Yojna and it was the biggest tractor rally that humanity has ever witnessed. The Delhi Police had also approved of the route for the rally and had it clear that the protest will only be held once the Republic Day Parade is over. The Delhi Police Commissioner, SN Srivastava also issued a circular that has all the security procedures that will be undertaken.
In conclusion, this year India witnessed a different Republic Day. However, the respect for our nation and the enthusiasm was still sky-high among the citizens. This year, despite the difficulties faced, the ardor related to the celebration of our nation and its constitution was the same as people from different parts of India watched the parade on television. In such a stressful time and with India’s continuing fight against Covid-19, this parade is an event that many looked forward to.