Growing up, every 26th January was filled with excitement for every Indian. Be it the day-before celebrations at school and getting those Indian flag stickers that made us feel proud of being Indians or the Republic Day parade for which children used to wake up early on a holiday!
But these are things that have changed and been added on over the years… so do you ever think how different our first ever Republic Day celebration was? Also Read: Cinematographer Vikcee Blessed With A Baby Boy!
It was on 26 January 1950 at 10:18 am when the then Governor-General C. Rajagopalchari declared India as a Sovereign Democratic Republic, thereby bringing the Indian constitution into effect! Here is a list of things that our people experienced during the first-ever Republic Day Celebrations:
Dr Rajendra Prasad swore in as the First President Of India
Six minutes after India was declared as a Sovereign Democratic Republic, Dr Rajendra Prasad took his oath as the First President of India. After that, he even gave a speech, first in Hindi and then in English. All this took place in the Durbar Hall of the Rashtrapati Bhawan. Also Read: Yuvraj Singh And Wife Blessed With Baby Boy!
31- Gun Salute
After the oath-taking ceremony, at 10:30 am India’s status as a Republic and Dr Rajendra Prasad’s position was declared with a 31-gun salute!
The way the President was escorted
Unlike today, in 1950 we didn’t have bulletproof cars filled with safety equipment and a boatload of security personnel. Instead, the President was escorted in an open baggi with just his ADCs by his side.
How the ceremony was initiated
The first-ever Republic day ceremony was very different to the one we see now. During that time the President saluted the armed forces of India while taking a round and even unfurled the Indian flag at Irwin stadium, which is now called the National stadium. After opening the flag, the ceremony began. Also Read: Korala Maan Is Now Hitched!
Who was the Chief Guest?
Before the pandemic hit, it was tradition to invite a foreign dignitary to the Republic Day parade. The first person to begin this tradition, aka the first-ever Republic day Chief Guest in 1950 was also coincidentally the first President of Indonesia, Sukarno.
Multiple holidays were declared
In 1950, the celebrations were much greater than now and to honour the victory, a two-day nationwide holiday was declared instead of the one-day off we get now.
No Parade at Rajpath?
The parade that Indians watch so religiously on every 26th January did not start at the location we see it at now! Instead of the customary parade at Rajpath, the ceremony was held at the Irwin Amphitheatre where around 15,000 people came to witness the ceremony. Also Read: Which Is The Song Sung By Virat Kohli And Anushka Sharma In Google Duo Advertisement?
No special Jhankiyan even!?
The main attractions to Parades in today’s time are the colourful and bright Jhankis which portray different parts of a country. However, during the first parade, only the armed forces put up a show to honour the day.
There were Anti-Republic Day demonstrations?
But not all was happy and jolly during the celebrations, on the other side of the country there were reports of Anti-Republic day demonstrations. Reports included attacks on police officers in Calcutta and assassination attempts on the Nizam of Hyderabad!
The four lions and Buddha's statue were placed next to the British Viceroy’s throne
Along with the entire hubbub, this day also marks the first time that Indians finally felt free as the replica of Ashoka pillar was placed next to the throne which was once occupied by the British viceroys and a statue of Buddha was put up behind the throne. Also Read: Who Is The Female Model In Sandeep Brar’s ‘Chaar Din’ Song?
Not just this, there were any other significant changes made to India and its working which affect us till date! On this day the President even honoured army personnel with gallantry awards, including the Param Vir Chakra to Major Somnath Sharma and Lance Naik Karam Singh (both posthumously) for their bravery and sacrifice in the war with Pakistan in 1948.
What do you think about all the alterations our country has faced be it in terms of political, economical or societal shifts but first and foremost about the way we celebrate our nation.