Republic Day: Did you know these facts about the parade?
The Republic Day parade this year would be a low-key affair due to the pandemic and health threats. But the R-Day parade holds its own importance in the history of our celebrations when the country adopted its Constitution. On January 26, we officially became a constitutional country and every year we celebrate this achievement with much fanfare. Let’s read about some interesting facts about this celebration…
- Though the parade on 26th January is held on Rajpath in New Delhi, it was not always the organising centre for the parade. During 1950-54, the 26th January parade was held at Irwin Stadium (now National Stadium), Kingsway, Red Fort, and Ramleela Maidan too.
- Rajpath became the permanent venue for the parade of 26th January since 1955. Rajpath was known by the name ‘Kingsway’ at that time.
- For the first parade held on 26th January 1950, President of Indonesia Dr. Sukarno was invited as a chief guest.
- At the first parade in Rajpath in 1955, the chief guest was Malik Ghulam Mohammad, the Governor-General of Pakistan.
- In 2018, heads of 10 countries graced the Republic Day Parade. These were Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam, all members of ASEAN (Association of SouthEast Asian Nations), with whom India shares warm relations.
- The parade begins with the arrival of the President. First of all, the cavalier bodyguards of the President salute the National Flag. As the National Anthem is played, 21 Guns Salute is also given. But While it is 21 shots that are heard, it is only seven guns that are actually fired, each 3 times.
- The time of gun salute firing matches with the time at which the National Anthem is played. First firing occurs at the start of the National Anthem and the last firing occurs right after 52 seconds. These cannons were made in 1941 and are involved in all the formal programmes of the army.
- All the participants of the parade are supposed to reach Rajpath by 3 AM. But the preparations for the parade begin in July of the previous year, where all the participants are formally informed about their participation. Till August, they practice parades at their related regiment centres and reach Delhi by December. The participants have already practiced for 600 hours before performing on the 26th January formally!
- A special camp near the premises of the India Gate is organised for all the Tanks, Armored vehicles and modern equipment showing military power of India.
- The most fascinating part of the event is “flypast” which is organised by the Western Airforce Command and involves participation of 41 Aircrafts. The Aircrafts take-off from different centres of the Airforce and reach the Rajpath at a fixed time.
- Every year more than 2 lakh people turn up to witness the event.
- The entire celebration is a musical affair, with several songs played throughout the parade. Most songs change, but one, which remains constant year after year, is Abide With Me. It is a Christian hymn, which was apparently the favourite song of Mahatma Gandhi.
- Did you know that Indian soldiers march significantly faster than those from other countries.