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
|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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
6) The 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.
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.
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.
10) The first Republic Day was celebrated on January 26, 1950, three years after India became an independent nation.
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.
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.
15) For the first time, the peacock was declared as the National Bird in 1963 on the Republic Day.
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.
18) Copies of India’s constitutions (in Hindi and English) were signed by 308 members of the Assembly on January 24, 1950.
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.
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.
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.