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Republic Day - 26th January

Delhi Republic Day parade is held in the capital, New Delhi, from the Raisina Hill near the Rashtrapati Bhavan (the Presidents residence), along the Rajpath, past India Gate. Prior to its commencement, the Prime Minister lays a floral wreath at the Amar Jawan Jyoti, a memorial to martyred soldiers at the India Gate at one end of Rajpath, which is followed by two minutes silence in the memory of them. It is a solemn reminder of the sacrifice of the martyrs who died for the country in the freedom movement and the succeeding wars for the defence of sovereignty of their country. Thereafter he/she reaches the main dais at Rajpath to join other dignitaries, subsequently the President arrives along with the chief guest of the occasion.

Each year, 26th January is a day on which every Indian heart fills with patriotic fervour and immense love for motherland. There are many significant memories as it was this day when the Indian Tricolour was first unfurled in January 1930 at Lahore, by Pt Jawaharlal Nehru and the declaration of an independent Indian National Congress was made. 26th January, 1950 was the day when the Indian republic and its constitution came into force. It was this day in history in 1965 when Hindi was declared as the official language of India.

On Republic Day, flag hoisting ceremonies and parades by armed forces and school children are held in different parts of the country. The grandest and most important of these parades is held at Rajpath in New Delhi, which showcases a multi-hued image of the country's rich cultural heritage and military prowess.

This parade is presided over by the President of India. One of the main functions of the Republic Day Parade is to pay tribute to the martyrs who have sacrificed their lives for the country and to confer bravery awards on military persons, citizenry and children for showing courage in the face of adversity. The Prime Minister of India first lays a wreath at the Amar Jawan Jyoti at India Gate, in memory of all members of the armed forces who gave up their life for the country. After that there is the 21 gun salute, unfurling of the National Flag and singing of the National Anthem. Next, awards such as the Paramvir Chakra, Ashok Chakra and Vir Chakra are presented to gallantry award winners.

Republic Day is celebrated every year with much enthusiasm all over the country and to mark the importance of this occasion, a grand parade is held in the capital, New Delhi, from Raisina Hill near the Rashtrapati Bhavan (President's House), along the Rajpath, past India Gate and on to the historic Red Fort.

The event begins with the Prime Minister of India laying a wreath at the Amar Jawan Jyoti at India Gate, commemorating all the soldiers who sacrificed their lives for the country. Soon, a 21 gun salute is presented, the President unfurls the National Flag and the National Anthem is played. This marks the beginning of the parade. The President is accompanied by a notable foreign Head of State - who is the invited Chief Guest at the celebration.

The Parade begins with winners of gallantry awards passing the President in open jeeps. President of India, who is the Commander-in-Chief of the Indian Armed Forces, takes the salute at the grand parade. The Indian Military also showcases its latest acquisitions such as tanks, missiles, radars, etc.

Soon after, awards and medals of bravery are given by the President to the people from the armed forces for their exceptional courage in the field and also to those civilians who have distinguished themselves by their different acts of valour in different situations. After this, helicopters from the armed forces fly past the parade area showering rose petals on the audience.

The military parade is followed by a colourful cultural parade. India's rich cultural heritage is depicted in the form of tableaus from various states. Each state depicts its unique festivals, historical locations and art. This exhibition of diversity and richness of the culture of India lends a festive air to the occasion.

Children who have won National Bravery Awards ride past the spectators on colourfully decorated elephants. These children are honoured and awarded by the Indian Council for Child Welfare for performing outstanding deeds of bravery and selfless sacrifice.

The Republic Day Parade is concluded by dare devil motor cycle riding and a flypast by Indian Air Force fighter jets over Rajpath, as spectators look on with their hearts filled with pride.

The ceremony at the Vijay Chowk on January 29 every year marks the culmination of the four-day-long Republic Day celebrations. The Chief Guest of the function is the President of India who arrives in a cavalry unit escorted by the 'President's Bodyguards' (PBG). When the President arrives, the PBG commander asks the unit to give the National Salute, which is followed by the playing of the Indian National Anthem, Jana Gana Mana, by the Massed Bands, and at the same time by the unfurling of the National Flag of India on the flagpole. Military Bands, Pipes and Drums Bands, Buglers and Trumpeters from various Army Regiments perform during the ceremony. Besides, there are bands from each of the Navy and Air Force. Most of the tunes being played by the Army's Military Bands are based on Indian tunes.

'Beating the Retreat' has emerged as an event of national pride when the Colours and Standards are paraded. The ceremony traces its origin to the early 1950s when Major Roberts of the Indian Army indigenously developed the unique ceremony of display by the massed bands. 'Beating Retreat' marks a centuries old military tradition, when the troops ceased fighting, sheathed their arms and withdrew from the battlefield and returned to the camps at sunset at the sounding of the Retreat. Colours and Standards are cased and flags lowered. The ceremony creates longing for the times gone by.

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Page last modified: 13-05-2018 17:50:53 ZULU