There were many firsts this Republic Day. For one, it’s the first time that there was no chief guest.
India had extended an invitation to Boris Johnson – Britain’s Prime Minister, but the UK is seeing a spike in a new variant (a type of) COVID virus and is in lockdown again, so he’s not going to attend. Just to refresh your memory – last year the President of Brazil Jair Bolsonaro was the chief guest.
Quick Trivia: Who was the chief guest of India’s first Republic Day? (scroll for the answer)
The other first is something to celebrate- Flight lieutenant Bhawana Kanth will become the first woman fighter pilot to be a part of the Republic Day parade this year.
What else is worth noting this Republic Day?
Some quick points to bring you up to speed:
- Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s vision of Aatma Nirbhar Bharat (self-reliant) India will be part of the celebrations.
- School children will present a programme on the theme ‘Hum Fit toh India Fit’. This is inspired by the Prime Minister’s Fit India Movement
- The Rafale fighter jets will participate in the parade for the first time.
- Uttar Pradesh’s tableau will feature a replica of the Ram Temple, which is currently under construction in the temple town of Ayodhya
- There will be no motorcycle stunts this year
- Children below the age of 15 will not be allowed at the India Gate lawns.
Now – some facts about Republic Day you should know.
First things first – we celebrate Republic Day to mark the day when the Constitution of India came into effect. As you know the British ruled India for more than 200 years. India finally became independent after a long freedom struggle.
But though India got its independence on August 14th, 1947, its constitution came into effect on January 26th, 1950.
- India’s constitution was created by members who were part of, what was called, the Constituent Assembly. Its chairman was Dr. B R Ambedkar.
- The Constituent Assembly took almost three to draft the constitution.
- The National Flag of India was adopted on 22 July 1947
- The Indian Constitution is the lengthiest written constitution in the world.
- On this day, many bravery awards – like Veer Chakra, Maha Veer Chakra, Param Veer Chakra, Kirti Chakra, and Ashoka Chakra are awarded.
Some facts about India’s national flag
- The current flag was designed by Pingali Venkayya of Macchilipatnam in 1916.
- However, the flag has gone through many versions and Pingali Venkayya is credited for its first, basic design.
But before this, our flag had other versions.
- The first Indian flag was hoisted on August 7, 1906, in Kolkata. This one was not the same as the one we have now. It had religious symbols and eight roses on it with Vande Matram written in the middle.
- Then another, second one with some changes was hoisted by Bhikaji Cama in Germany (want to know who she was – read here)
- A new flag with three colours – saffron, white and green, and a chakra in the middle was adopted in the year 1931.
- The final flag (as designed by Pingali Venkayya) was adopted by Indian National Congress on July 22, 1947.
- What the colours mean:
- Saffron signifies courage and sacrifice
- White is the symbol of truth, peace, and purity
- Green is for prosperity.
- The Ashoka Chakra in the middle symbolises righteousness
Answer: India had invited then Indonesian President Sukarno to grace its first Republic Day.