Fluttering flags, colorful uniforms, military vehicles, melodious bands, dancing children, a variety of tableaux—all these and more mark India’s Republic Day. On January 26 every year, Republic Day is celebrated with great fanfare in every part of the country. It is an occasion to commemorate the acceptance of the constitution by the people of India—a statute that not only guarantees a democratic rule of the majority but pledges inalienable rights to its people. It is also an occasion to give away gallantry awards and announce recipients of civilian awards. Republic Day is celebrated with great fervor. A grand parade is held at Raj Path in New Delhi, displaying the cultural diversity and military might of India. Thousands of spectators, from India and abroad, view the spectacle. The President, the Vice President, the Prime Minister, the Defence Minister, and the three chiefs of armed forces attend the function, which is graced by a visiting foreign dignitary as the chief guest .Nationwide Celebrations A ceremonial parade is held by the local military and paramilitary units in the state capitals, which is usually presided by the Governor or the Chief Minister. The day is marked by hoisting of the National Flag at government buildings, which are also illuminated with decorative lights in the evenings. Schools and colleges hold functions in their campuses. Citizens organize flag-hoisting in their respective localities, followed by the singing of National Anthem and patriotic songs. Sweets are distributed on the occasion. A week or two prior to Republic Day, there is a mood of gaiety in the air as the National Flag—comprising rectangular bands of saffron, white and green, with the Ashok Chakra adorning the middle band—is sold in street corners and shops. Khadi Bhandar outlets are favoured for buying the tricolor of various sizes, made of the right cloth material. One can see a flurry of activities early morning as children and adults head to schools and public grounds to take part in the celebrations. Vehicle owners proudly sport the flags on their cars and two-wheelers. Miniature flags adorn people’s dresses as lapel pins.
Republic Day, A Grand Ceremony the spectacle in New Delhi lasts a little over two hours, with participants from across India. It is a huge logistic exercise (around 6000 marchers, 5000 artistes, 1200 students, 1.11 lakh seats, 1.4 lakh bulbs and many months of preparation) coordinated by the armed forces to make the ceremony a success. The event is watched live on television by millions across India.On behalf of a grateful nation, the Prime Minister pays homage to martyred soldiers at the Amar Jawan Jyoti at India Gate (Vijay Chowk) by laying a wreath. The President arrives escorted by the President’s Bodyguard, an elite cavalry regiment of the Army. He then inspects the guard of honour and unfurls the National Flag to the background of the National Anthem and a 21-gun salute.He addresses the nation before presenting the gallantry awards. While the Param Vir Chakra is the highest honor awarded for exceptional bravery during war-time, the Ashok Chakra leads the military honours for peace-time efforts.The march past starts at Raisina Hill and moves along Raj Path towards Red Fort. Leading the march past is the General Officer Commanding-in-Chief (Delhi area) in an open vehicle, followed by the battle tanks and armoured vehicles. The parade consists of about 45 contingents of military and paramilitary units, cadets of the National Cadet Corps (NCC), school children, and music bands. The marching contingents give salute to the President (the commander-in-chief of the armed forces).Following the contingents are floats or tableaux from different states of India. The participants are dressed in colorful attire.Through the tableaux, different states compete to display their folk art and culture, besides strides in science and technology, and progress of government schemes.The last contingent is of the motorcycle-borne acrobats of Indian Army’s ‘Daredevils Team’, who pass the saluting dais in an awe-inspiring formation of men and machines. The final part of the parade is the fly-past and acrobatics display by aircraft of the Indian Air Force. The fighter jets move in a formation and manoeuvre at high speed. Balloons in the three colours of the National Flag are released to mark the end of the parade.
Tricolor Sandwich Ingredients
- 4 slices white bread
- 3 tbsp mayonnaise
- 2-3 tbsp tomato ketchup
- 2 tbsp butter
- Fresh coriander and mint leaves
Cut off the edges of the bread slices and butter equally on one side of each slice. Put the coriander and mint leaves in a mixer and blend into a thick green paste using little water.Mix the ketchup with the mayonnaise thoroughly. Take a single slice and put tomato ketchup and cover it a second sliceMake another sandwich with the mayonnaise between the other two slices. Make a sandwich with a thick layer of green paste in between two slices with the buttered sides on the inside.Put the mayonnaise sandwich on top of the green one. Cut diagonally in two portions. Garnish with fresh coriander and serve.