Republic Day 2021: 15 interesting lesser-known facts about this day
As the unfurling of the Indian National Flag fills every Indian heart with pride, here are some lesser-known facts about the Republic Day of India.
India celebrates Republic Day every year on 26 January to commemorate the date on which the Constitution of India came into force, in 1950. Imbued with patriotism and fervour, the entire nation marks the day with magnificent parades, beautiful tableaus, and cultural performances, displaying the uniqueness of India. As the unfurling of the Indian National Flag fills every Indian heart with pride, here are some lesser-known facts about the Republic Day of India.
- 26 January held great importance for India even before it was marked as Republic Day. January 26, 1930, was the day India decided to fight for complete freedom, and the day was celebrated as India's Independence Day or Purna Swaraj Day.
- India celebrated its first Republic Day on January 26, 1950, three years after the nation attained independence.
- Rajpath was not the first venue for the Republic Day parade. Before Rajpath, the first few venues were National Stadium, Red Fort, and Ramlila Maidan.
- The first Republic Day parade at Rajpath was held in 1955, and Malik Ghulam Mohammad, the Governor-General of Pakistan, attended the ceremony as the chief guest.
- India has received the President of France as the Republic Day chief guest the most number of times, i.e. five, and did not have a chief guest for the republic day parade in 1952, 1953, and 1966.
- The first Guest of Honour in India for the Republic Day celebration in 1950 was Indonesian President Sukarno.
- The Republic Day celebrations are a three-day-long affair. At the end of the third day on 29th January, the ‘Beating the Retreat’ is held, indicating the end of Republic Day celebrations.
- The Indian soldiers march significantly faster than the soldiers of other countries. When in 2016, the French soldiers practised marching for the Republic Day parade of India they marched at the rate of 106 beats per minute as against 120 beats per minute of the Indian soldiers. The French soldiers were asked to increase their speed.
- Consisting of 448 articles, the Indian Constitution is the longest in the world. Dr B R Ambedkar took 2 years 11 months and 18 days to draft the Constitution.
- The Constitution is written in Hindi and English and has only two handwritten copies. It has been preserved in helium-filled cases in the Parliament of India.
- 308 Assembly members signed the copies of the handwritten Constitution on January 24, 1950.
- The Indian leaders incorporated the best aspects from other countries’ constitutions in the Indian constitution. The concept of five-year plans was adopted from the USSR constitution, and the concept of liberty, equality, and fraternity came from the French constitution
- Before the Indian Constitution came into effect, India followed the British Government's Government of India Act 1935.
- On January 26, 1950, Dr Rajendra Prasad was sworn in as the first President of India.
- An important part of the Republic Day ceremony are the national awards such as Bharat Ratna, Padma Bhushan and Kirti Chakra, which are awarded on the day.