Why is Republic Day celebrated?
Republic Day commemorates the date on which the Constitution of India came into effect i.e. on 26 January 1950. The Constitution of India replaced the Government of India Act (1935) completing the transition of the country from dominion status to Independent republic.
10 Lesser known facts about Republic Day
1. On 26 January 1930 the Indian National Congress and the entire India observed the Purna Swaraj Day. Since then till India got official Independence, 26 January was celebrated as the Independence Day. But after India got Independence on 15 August 1947, Indian leaders wanted to maintain respect and importance of 26 January in the independent India. Therefore, India declared 26 January as the Republic Day of India.
2. First Republic Day of India was celebrated on 26 January 1950, 3 years after India got Independence.
3. Drafting the Constitution was a laborious and formidable task. Dr B.R. Ambedkar took 2 years 11 months and 18 days to draft the Indian Constitution. The assembly met for a total of 166 days spread over 2 years.
4. The Indian Constitution is the longest in the world. It has a total of 448 articles in 22 parts, 12 schedules and more than 100 amendments till date.
5. There are only two original hand-written copies of the Constitution of India written in English and Hindi each. These copies have been preserved in helium- filled cases in the Parliament of India. Also, only 1000 copies have been written till date.
6. Since 1950 India has the tradition to invite other country’s dignitaries as the Chief Guest for the R-Day ceremony. On January 26, 1950 when India celebrated its first Republic Day, the chief guest was south-east Asian strongman Sukarno. Sixty-eight years on, India has again invited an Indonesian President, Joko Widodo, to grace the occasion.
7. The first Republic Day parade was held in 1955 at Rajpath.
8. The celebration of the Republic day is a 3-day long affair. The celebration starts on 26 January with R-Day Parade and ends on 29 January with the Beating Retreat Ceremony.
9. A Christian song, Abide With Me, is played at the Republic Day Parade. It is believed to be one of Mahatma Gandhi's favourite songs.
10. During the Republic day celebration, the national awards such as Bharat Ratna (Highest Civilian Award), Padma Awards, Wartime Gallantry Awards and Peacetime Gallantry Awards are conferred.