26 January Republic Day

With poor general knowledge, many Bollywood stars fail to differentiate between Republic Day and Independent Day of India. Media frequently report of such gaffes made by the brat pack; a famous blurt I recollect was made by one of the members of celebrated Kapoor family of B-Town; according to media reports, that member didn’t know who was the then prime minister and president of India.

If you think that such sorry state prevails in the glamour world only, you are wrong. Our commoners too often make some blunders regarding our constitution and national holidays.

Our jingoism leads us to believe and accept myths related to India as facts, but a real patriot knows the facts and history of this great nation. This Republic Day, get to know some facts related to the day and impress your close friends with a good amount of general knowledge.

First off, we would like to give a list of guests who attended the Republic Day of India since 1950. Surprisingly, leaders from France were invited for five times to be our guest; this includes 2016 event also. Next is Bhutan from where India received four guests in 2013, 2005, 1984 and 1954.

List of Chief Guests India Invited from 1950 to till date on Republic Day

Year Guest Name Country
1950 President Sukarno Indonesia
1951 King Tribhuvan Bir Bikram Shah Nepal
1954 King Jigme Dorji Wangchuck Bhutan
1955 Governor General Malik Ghulam Muhammad Pakistan
1958 Marshall Ye Jianying China
1960 Chairman Kliment Voroshilov Soviet Union
1961 Queen Elizabeth II United Kingdom
1963 King Norodom Sihanouk Cambodia
1965 Food and Agriculture Minister Rana Abdul Hamid Pakistan
1968 Chairman Alexei Kosygin Soviet Union
President Josip Broz Tito Yugoslavia
1969 Prime Minister Todor Zhivkov Bulgaria
1971 President Julius Nyerere Tanzania
1972 Prime Minister Seewoosagur Ramgoolam Mauritius
1973 President Mobutu Sese Seko Zaire
1974 President Josip Broz Tito Yugoslavia
Prime Minister Sirimavo Bandaranaike Sri Lanka
1975 President Kenneth Kaunda Zambia
1976 Prime Minister Jacques Chirac France
1977 First Secretary Edward Gierek Poland
1978 President Patrick Hillery Ireland
1979 Prime Minister Malcolm Fraser Australia
1980 President Valéry Giscard d’Estaing France
1981 President Jose Lopez Portillo Mexico
1982 King Juan Carlos I Spain
1983 President Shehu Shagari Nigeria
1984 King Jigme Singye Wangchuck Bhutan
1985 President Raúl Alfonsín Argentina
1986 Prime Minister Andreas Papandreou Greece
1987 President Alan Garcia Peru
1988 President Junius Jayewardene Sri Lanka
1989 General Secretary Nguyen Van Linh Vietnam
1990 Prime Minister Anerood Jugnauth Mauritius
1991 President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom Maldives
1992 President Mário Soares Portugal
1993 Prime Minister John Major United Kingdom
1994 Prime Minister Goh Chok Tong Singapore
1995 President Nelson Mandela South Africa
1996 President Fernando Henrique Cardoso Brazil
1997 Prime Minister Basdeo Panday Trinidad and Tobago
1998 President Jacques Chirac France
1999 King Birendra Bir Bikram Shah Dev Nepal
2000 President Olusegun Obasanjo Nigeria
2001 President Abdelaziz Bouteflika Algeria
2002 President Cassam Uteem Mauritius
2003 President Mohammed Khatami Iran
2004 President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva Brazil
2005 King Jigme Singye Wangchuck Bhutan
2006 King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz al-Saud Saudi Arabia
2007 President Vladimir Putin Russia
2008 President Nicolas Sarkozy France
2009 President Nursultan Nazarbayev Kazakhstan
2010 President Lee Myung Bak South Korea
2011 President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono Indonesia
2012 Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra Thailand
2013 King Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck Bhutan
2014 Prime Minister Shinzo Abe Japan
2015 President Barack Obama United States
2016 President François Hollande France

Some more interesting facts about Republic Day India

1) The first draft of India’s constitution was a handwritten copy in Hindi and English; it was not in print format. It has 448 articles divided in 22 Parts, 12 Schedules, and 97 Amendments.
First Constitution of India

2) The Republic Day parade, which takes place every year on Rajpath, was earlier performed at different venues. From 1950 to 1954, the parade venues were Irwin Stadium (presently known as National Stadium), Red Fort, Kingsway (Now Rajpath) and Ramlila Ground.

The Republic Day parade

3) The prime minister of India pays homage to Indian soldiers who sacrificed their lives for the freedom of India; prime minister places a wreath at Amar Jawan Jyoti, India Gate.

Prime minister of India at Amar Jawan Jyoti, India Gate

4) On the Republic Day, president of India confers National Bravery Awards to deserving candidates. The list of awards includes Maha Veer Chakra, Veer Chakra, Param Veer Chakra, Kirti Chakra and Ashoka Chakra.

National Bravery Awards

5) Armed forces of India fire 21 gun shots to give honor to India’s navy and army at the time when the president hosts National Flag.

21 gun shots to give honour to Indian navy

6) The Republic Day celebration lasts for three days.

Republic Day celebration lasts for three days

7) On 29th January, the celebration concludes with Beating Retreat. Bands of Indian Army, Indian Navy, and Indian Air Force gave an outstanding performance.

Bands of Indian Army

8) India’s constitution came into effect on this day in 1950; Dr. B R Ambedkar took leadership of 299 representatives for the drafting of the constitution. Entire task took two years and 11 months to complete.

Dr B R Ambedkar

9) Dr. Rajendra Prasad was the first president of India; before this day, India’s head of state was an appointed governor-general. Dr. Prasad took oath as India’s first President on 26th January 1950.

Dr Rajendra Prasad was the first president of India

10) The first Republic Day was celebrated on January 26, 1950, three years after India became an independent nation.

The first Republic Day was celebrated on January 26, 1950

11) On the first Republic Day, four Param Vir Chakras were conferred on Army Jawans for their heroism during Jammy and Kashmir clashes. Major Somnath Sharma, India’s first Param Veer Chakra winner, and Naik Jadunath Singh was the second winner; the award was conferred posthumously. Other soldiers, who received PVC personally were, Capt Rama Raghoba Rane and Hawaldar Karam Singh.

12) In the fly past, more than 100 aircraft of Indian Air Force flew over the parade; the planes included Harvard, Dakotas, Liberators, Tempests, Spitfires and jet planes.

more than 100 aircraft of Indian Air Force flew over the parade; the planes included Harvards, Dakotas, Liberators, Tempests, Spitfires and jet planes.

13) India dropped the word Royal from Royal Air Force and adopted Indian Air Force on January 26, 1950.

14) First Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru addressed the country on the radio on the eve of the first Republic Day.

Jawaharlal Nehru addressed the nation on the radio

15) For the first time, the peacock was declared as the National Bird in 1963 on the Republic Day.

National Bird Peacock

16) India adopted lion head from Ashoka pillar in Sarnath as our national emblem on her Republic Day.

17) In 1930, freedom fighters of India declared January 26 as Purna Swaraj Day, and therefore, this date was selected as the Republic Day.

Purna Swaraj Day

18) Copies of India’s constitutions (in Hindi and English) were signed by 308 members of the Assembly on January 24, 1950.

Copies of India’s constitutions were signed by 308 members

19) Even today, people can see the original hand-written copies of India’s constitution safely stored in helium-filled cases in the Library of Parliament House.

The Constitution of India

20) The First Republic Day parade was held in 1955 at Rajpath

21) As a tradition, on every Republic Day, a song ‘Abide With Me’ is played during the parade. The song was one of the favourites of Mahatma Gandhi.

22) First Time after 26 years armed force dogs will come back to India’s Republic Day parade.The armed force has chosen 36 dogs, including 24 Labradors and 12 German Shepherds, who will effortlessness the parade alongside their mentors.

Indian Army Dogs in Republic Day

We have presented an exhausting list of facts related to the Republic Day; if you have any other information related to our national holidays, please share with us in comments.

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Jayesh is a writer by design. Alphabets create same impact on him as cheese would create on Jerry the Mouse. His romance with words dates back to the twilight years of 20th century when he lost his heart to Miss British Lingo. He loves to write on Digital Marketing, Advertising, Branding, Language, and Entertainment.