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70th Republic Day

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Topic: Indian Constitution- historical underpinnings, evolution, features, amendments, significant provisions and basic structure.

 

70th Republic Day

 

Context: India is celebrating 70th Republic Day.

Theme: ‘life of Gandhi’ which is a tribute to the father of the nation Mahatma Gandhi on his 150th birth anniversary.

Chief guest: President Cyril Ramaphosa, President of the Republic of South Africa. This is the second time a South African leader is Chief Guest at Republic Day — Nelson Mandela was the chief guest in 1995.

Significance: Republic day in India is celebrated every year on 26th of January to honour the Constitution of India as it came into force on the same day in the year 1950.

 

Highlights of the republic day- key facts relevant for Prelims and Mains:

  1. The 70th Republic Day parade will have the highest number of women officers participating in the celebrations with Lt. Bhavana Kasturi leading a contingent of 144 male personnel. This is the first time in the history of Indian Army that a woman will lead the Army services corps.
  2. An all-women contingent of Assam Rifles, India’s oldest paramilitary force, will be participating for the first time. The contingent was opened for women in 2012.
  3. The weapons which will be showcased for the first time in a Republic day parade are M777 and K-9 Vajra ultra light howitzers along with the Medium-Range Surface-to-Air Missile (MRSAM) missile of the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO).
  4. For the first time in the Republic Day parade, An-32 aircraft will be flying using a mix of traditional and biofuel.
  5. Four former Indian National Army (INA) soldiers will participate for the first time in the parade. INA was an armed force formed by Indian nationalist Rash Behari Bose in 1942 in Southeast Asia during World War II.
  6. `Sankhnaad’, a martial tune created for the Indian armed forces, will be played for the first time on the 70th Republic Day parade. Since Independence, the Indian defence forces have been playing ‘martial tune’ created by the Britishers. `Sankhnaad’ is based on Indian classical music.

 

Why January 26th?

The Constitution came into effect on January 26, 1950, a date specially chosen to coincide with the anniversary of ‘Purna Swaraj Diwas’. January 26, 1930 was marked as ‘Purna Swaraj Diwas’, or the day the nation would attain complete freedom from its colonisers by the Congress.

  • The members of the drafting committee felt that the birth of the constitution should be observed on a day that held some significance in their fight for independence. When India was ultimately granted freedom by the British in 1947, but on August 15 and not January 26, the date was instead assigned to celebrating India’s Republic Day.
  • This was the day the Indian Independence Act was consequently repealed and India was established as a democratic republic, no longer a dominion of the British Crown.

 

Sources: the hindu.