Monday, January 25, 2010

Republic Day Celebrations

We all watch the republic day celebrations telecasted live from New Delhi by Dooordarshan and other television channels year after year. Atleast few of us may not know about the actual procedure of the Republic Day Celebrations. In brief, it goes like this…

On the Republic Day, a grand parade is organized in New Delhi, which begins from Raisina Hill near the Rashtrapati Bhavan, along the Rajpath, beyond India Gate to the significant Red Fort.

The celebration begins with the Prime Minister of India along with chiefs of Army, Navy and Air Force, laying a wreath at the Amar Jawan Jyothi; an eternal flame that burns in memory of all the soldiers who sacrificed their lives for the country, at India Gate. A 21 gun salute is presented and the ‘Last Post’ is played.

["Last Post" is a bugle call used at Commonwealth military funerals and ceremonies commemorating those who have fallen in war. "The Last Post" is also the name of a poem by Robert Graves describing a soldier's funeral during World War I.]

The President of India
accompanied by a prominent foreign Head of State - who is the invited Chief Guest at the celebration; arrives escorted by the 'President's Body Guards) and they are received by the Chief officers of the Indian Armed Forces, the Prime Minister and other ministers to a specially arranged Saluting Base.

Ministers and other dignitaries occupy the seats on the sides of this Saluting base. The President hoists the National Flag and the National Anthem is played by the military bands.

The President honor the heroes of the Indian Armed Forces for their exceptional bravery with gallantry awards like Ashok Chakras, Kirti Chakras, Shaurya Chakras, and other awards like Visisht Seva Medal / Sena Medal / Nao Sena Medals / Vayu Sena Medal etc for the Distinguished or Meritorious Services.

The armed force’s helicopters fly above the parade area showering rose petals on the audience. The President of India, who is the Commander-in-Chief of the Indian Armed Forces, takes the salute from the marching contingents.

Our Armed Forces showcases its latest acquisitions and weapons such as the battle tanks (like Bhishma T-90), missiles (like BrahMos, Agni and Akash), advanced helicopter models (like Dhruv), striker aircrafts (like Takshak), warships / Aircraft Carriers models (like INS Viraat), radars, Network Operation models etc.

Colourful Marching Contingents :-The military marching columns include contingents of Army, -
Sikh Regiment, Rajput Regiment,
Kumaon Regiment, Madras Regiment,
Gorkha Rifles, Rajasthan Rifles,
Garhwal Rifles, J&K Rifles,
Maratha Light Infantry Regiment,
Assam Rifles, Territorial Army Punjab etc ; Navy, Air Force, the para-military and other civil forces’ marching contingents from Border Security Force,
Sashastra Seema Bal, Coast Guard,
Central Reserve Police Force,
Indo-Tibetan Border Police,
Central Industrial Security Force,
Railway Protection Force, Delhi Police,
National Cadet Corps senior division boys and girls,Bharath Scouts and Guides,
National Service Scheme and
the proud ex-servicemen marches along with the tunes of the magestic columns of Pipes and Drums from various regiments of the Indian military and para-military forces.

The Border Security Force's camel contingent is one of its kind in the world. The BSF camel riders are divided into two groups.
While the first group carries riffles and the second group carries musical instruments; the only camel-mounted music band in the world.
The uniform the troopers wear looks royal and has not changed since the camel contingent was raised by then king of Bikaner Ganga Singh before 1900 with the overcoats and saffron turbans.
Only men with long moustaches are selected for the parade.
The best available camels are selected and are decorated with items like gorband and ghungrus.
A real mix of past and present !

After the military parade comes the cultural parade. Tableaus from various states exhibit India's rich cultural heritage and unity in diversity. Boys and girls from different schools at Delhi add colour to the parade with their performances. A joyful moment indeed to witness !

The children,
who are the recipients of National Bravery Award also participates in this parade and crosses the saluting dais seated on elephants during yester years and riding on open jeeps recently, applauded heavily by the spectators.

The parade also displays skilful motor-cycle rides by the Armed Forces personnel and the Fly Past by the Indian Air Force. The fly past marks the end of the parade. while passing the dais, the fighter planes of the IAF symbolically salutes the President with their reverberating roar.

Celebrations are held in all state capitals, where the Governor of the state hoists the Tricolour and similarly at district headquarters, municipalities and panchayats.

Prime Minister's Rally :
On the 27th January, a Prime Minister's Rally is held by the N.C.C cadets displaying various breath-taking performances and drill.

The Ministry of Culture, Government of India organizes the National Folk Dance Festival every year from 24th to 29th January.

Beating the Retreat :

Beating The Retreat ceremony officially denotes the end of Republic Day celebrations. The venue is Raisina Hills and an adjacent square, flanked by the north and south block of the Indian Parliament and The Chief Guest of the function is the President of India. On the evening of January 29, the efficient pipers and drummers from the Indian Armed Forces bands displays various formations playing the most popular marching tunes. The popular Christian hymn written by Henry Francis Lyte ‘Abide With Me’ which is said to be Gandhiji's favourite is also played by the combined bands.

At the end, after the bugle call for Retreat, the band master marches to the President and seeking permission to take the bands back. This concludes the closing ceremony. The bands march back playing a popular tune Saare Jahan Se Achcha.

Exactly at 6 pm, the buglers sound the retreat and the National Flag is lowered, and the National Anthem is sung, bringing the Republic Day celebrations to a formal end.

Republic Day Greetings To All Indians! Jai Hind.

Where it all began…..?

Where it all began…..?
We all know,
still it is worth recapturing…!

A brief compilation of the historical transition of India
from a British colony to a sovereign, secular Indian Republic.

Sepoy Mutiny - often described as "The First War of Indian Independence"

The East India Company had established the British rule over almost all parts of India by the middle of the 19th century. The Revolt of 1857, which was called a Sepoy Mutiny was unsuccessful but a valiant effort that disturbed the British authority.

On May 10, 1857, soldiers at Meerut refused to use the new Enfield rifle cartridges soldiers and along with groups of civilians broke jails, murdered European men, burnt their houses and marched to Delhi. The marching soldiers was just like a 'signal’ to the soldiers in Delhi, who too turned revolted, seized the city and proclaimed the 80-year old Bahadurshah Zafar, as Emperor of India.

Within a short span of time the Revolt spread to the different parts of the country. Even in the absence of a definite vision of the future Rani Lakshmi Bai at Jhansi, Begum Hazrat Mahal at Lucknow , Khan Bahadur at Bareilly, NanaSaheb, the adopted son of Baji Rao II (the last Peshwa) at Kanpur - led the forces to regain their lost sovereignty.

Government of India Act 1858

Bringing India under direct government of the Crown, Queen Victoria issued the 'Magna Carta of Indian Liberty', the Government of India Act on November 1,1858, which strengthened the British rule in India and the need of a freedom struggle intensified in every Indian soul.

Indian National Congress 1885

As a result of the growth in the political awareness in the country, Allan Octavian Hume, a retired civil servant in British India and other Indian patriots launched the Indian National Congress in December 1885 to bring together hands from the different parts of the country and to organize and train them to present the public opinion before the Government. The first President of the Congress was W.C. Banerjee.

'Divide and Rule' : Partition of Bengal October 16, 1905 and Swadeshi Movement

Lord Curzon, the Viceroy of India, partitioned the old province of Bengal through a Royal Proclamation that justified the tearing down of the most progressive region of the country at that time as an encouragement to the growth of undernourished eastern region of the Bengal.

The Banaras session of the Indian National Congress presided over by Gopalakrishna Gokhale took up the issue and decided to move ahead with the Swadeshi and Boycott of foreign goods movement. Bal Gangadhar Tilak, Bipin Chandra Pal, Lala Lajpat Rai and Aurobindo Ghosh were in the fore front of the full-fledged political mass struggle.

In 1915, Gandhiji returned from South Africa to India. Gopal Krishna Gokhale introduced Gandhiji to Indian politics and issues and he spoke at the gatherings of the Indian National Congress.

Lucknow Pact and the Home Rule Movement, 1915 – 1916

Indian National Congress and the Muslim League held talks at Lucknow and jointly signed up the famous Lucknow Pact, an important step to attain Hindu-Muslim unity which weakened the British attitude.

Dr. Annie Besant, started the Home Rule Movement in September 1916 that spread rapidly all over India.

The Rowlatt Act, 1919

In March 1919, British passed the Rowlatt Act which authorised the government to arrest and imprison any person without trial. With Gandhiji, the humiliated indians went through a remarkable political awakening and powerful agitation against the Act.

Jallianwalla Bagh Massacre, 1919

The mass agitation was suppressed the in every way by the British. Gandhiji called for a harthal, the major demonstrations were fired or lathi-charged.

India witnessed one of the worst political crimes on 13th April, 1919 when General Dyer ordered his troops to open fire on an unarmed large crowd gathered in Jalianwala Bagh, Amritsar (Punjab) in an enclosed place without exit and without any warning.

Khilafath Movement, 1919 – 1920

A prominent Muslim journalist, Maulana Mohammad Ali Jouhar and his brother Maulana Shaukat Ali with other Muslim leaders such as Maulana Abul Kalam Azad, Dr. Mukhtar Ahmed Ansari and Dr. Hakim Ajmal Khan formed the All India Khilafath Committee.

In 1920, Khilafath leaders and the Indian National Congress agreed to work and fight together for the causes of Khilafath and Swaraj. Major nation wide mass campaign’s like Non-cooperation movement , peaceful civil disobedience etc increased the pressure on the British. Strong personal relationships between Gandhiji and Khilafat leaders such as Dr. Ansari, Maulana Azad and Hakim Ajmal Khan ensured Hindu-Muslim unity during the struggle.

Chauri Chaura Incident, 1922

On February 12, 1922, In Chauri Chaura, a town near Gorakhpur, Uttar Pradesh , an occupied police chowki was set to fire by a group of villagers that killed 22 policemen as the police opened fire on them. This compelled Gandhiji to call off the Civil Disobedience Movement.

Gandhiji, the Ali brothers and otherleaders were arrested and sentenced to six years imprisonment. Then, many Hindu and Muslim religious and political leaders came up with religious fundamentalism and the Congress-Khilafat alliance began cracking soon.

The Ali brothers criticised Gandhiji's decision to suspend all non-cooperation movements due to his commitment to non-violence and began distancing themselves from Gandhi and the Congress. The Khilafat struggle also weakened as Muslims were divided between working for the Congress, and for the Muslim League. The Ali brothers joined the Muslim League while other leaders such as Dr. Ansari, Maulana Abul Kalam Azad remained as supporters of Gandhiji and the Congress. This became a major step in the growth of the League's popularity and subsequent movement to establish a separate Muslim state.

Simon Commission, 1927

British Government appointed a commission of seven members of the British Parliament headed by Sir John Simon to study about the working of the government in the country and to recommend further reforms to be executed from 1929. They arrived in February 1928, was greeted with black flags and hostile demonstrations everywhere they went. Lala Lajpat Rai was seriously injured in one such demonstration at Lahore and died soon suffering from the wounds then received.

Indian National Congress session, Lahore, 31st December 1929

All those present at the Indian National Congress session, Lahore under the presidency of Pt. Jawaharlal Nehru took a pledge at the midnight of 31st December 1929 that January 26, 1930 would be observed as the Purna Swaraj (complete Independence) Day. Hundreds from all over the country united to realize the dream of complete independence from the British, observed the day with honour and pride thus strenghtening the Civil Disobedience Movement.

'Salt Satyagraha' 1930

Gandhiji started his famous march from Sabarmati Ashram on March 20,1930, to the small village Dandi with 79 followers. They reached Dandi on April 6, he broke the Salt Law by picking up salt from the seashore.

This Civil Disobedience Movement inspired even the Indian soldiers in the Army and Garhwal soldiers refused to fire on the people at Peshawar.

Gandhi-Irwin Pact, 1931

In 1931, Sir Tej Bahadur Sapru and M.R. Jayakar talked to Gandhiji in his Poona prison quarters and met Viceroy Lord Irwin. As Lord Irwin agreed to release most political prisoners, Gandhiji and other leaders were released from jail. Talks finally led to the signing of a pact between Gandhiji and Viceroy Lord Irwin, the Congress agreed to discontinue the Civil Disobedience Movement and to participate in the next Round Table Conference.

The Government of India Act,1935

As per the Simon Commission report, the new Government of India Act came into effect which was unanimously rejected by the Congress as it neglected nearly all Indian demands. The Congress demanded Constituent Assembly election to frame a constitution for an independent India.

Indian National Army,1939-1945.

The Indian National Army (INA) is also called 'Azad Hind Fauz' was formed under the initiative of leaders like Subhash Chandra Bose, Ras Behari bose, Pritam Singh etc. Indians residing in south east Asia were much inspired at the victory of Japan against British and capture of Singapore, Burma (Myanmar) and Rangoon (Yangoon). The famous revolutionary Rash Behari Bose arranged a meeting of the leading Indians residing in Tokyo in March 1942 and an Association of 'Free Indians' and a National Indian Army under the command of Indian officers were decided to be formed and that Subhas Chandra Bose would be invited to Southeast Asia. Pritam Singh another leader and Major Fujihara, a Japanese officer, requested Captain Mohan Singh to form an Indian Army, Major Fujihara, a Japanese officer, handed over about 40,000 captured Indian soldiers, who had surrendered to him, to Captain Mohan Singh. With Rash Behari Bose as its president, the formation of the INA was formally declared. Subhash Bose was in Germany then. Indians in Germany gave him the title of 'Netaji' and the slogan of 'Jai-Hind' was initiated here during this time. He used to broadcast his aims and objectives over Radio Berlin which aroused tremendous enthusiasm in India. He arrived in Japan in a German submarine. Japan extended all sorts of help to India in its fight for independence. In July 1943 Rash Behari Bose resigned and Netaji formally took the leadership of INA and declared war on Britain for an Azad Hind. The spirit of nationalism aroused by the INA greatly influenced the India's independence struggle.

Quit India Movement, 1942

On August 8, 1942, Congress Meeting ay Bombay passed a resolution known as 'Quit India' resolution which asked the British to quit India. Gandhiji gave a call for 'Do or die' to every Indian. On August 9 Gandhiji was arrested but the other leaders continued the revolutionary struggle.

Cabinet Mission Plan, Interim Government and
Formation of IndianConstituent Assembly, 1946

The freedom struggle entered its final phase during 1945-46.

A British Cabinet Mission represented by Lord Lawrence, Sir Stafford Cripps and A.V. Alexander met the representatives of different political parties talked about the establishment of a Constituent Assembly to frame the Constitution as well as an interim government. The Muslim League was striving to get the rights for a separate Muslim state and the Congress too partially accepted the plan so a satisfactory solution could not be found.

On September 2, 1946, an inter¬im government was formed. Congress members led by Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru joined it but the Muslim League withdrew its earlier acceptance of the Cabinet Mission Plan.

The Constituent Assembly met on December 9, 1946, and Dr. Rajendra Prasad was elected as its President. The Muslim League did not join the Assembly. The Assembly appointed different committees to study the various aspects of the proposed constitution.

Upon India's independence on August 15, 1947, the new Congress-led government invited B.R.Ambedkar to serve as the nation's first law minister, which he accepted. On August 29, Ambedkar was appointed Chairman of the Constitution Drafting Committee, charged by the Assembly to write free India's new Constitution. The recommendations were discussed, debated and revised and the Indian Constitution was finalized and officially adopted three years later on November 26, 1949.

The Indian Independence Act, 1947

On June 3, 1947 Lord Mountbatten announced that The Bill containing the provisions of the Mountbatten Plan was passed by the British Parliament as The Indian Independence Act.

The Act paved way for the partition of India and handing over of political powers to the new governments of India and Pakistan.

India was partitioned on August 15, 1947 into India and Pakistan, two independent nations. Lord Mountbatten was appointed the Governor-General of free1ndia and M.A. Jinnah the first Governor-General of Pakistan.

Constitution into force

on January 26, 1950 the Constitution of India finally came into force giving the citizens of India the power to govern themselves by choosing their own government.

Dr. Rajendra Prasad, took oath as the first President of India at the Durbar Hall in the Government House and this was followed by the Presidential drive along a five-mile route to the Irwin Stadium, where he unfurled the National Flag.

History says :

Dr. Rajendra Prasad, took oath as the first President of India at the Durbar Hall in the Government House and this was followed by the Presidential drive along a five-mile route to the Irwin Stadium, where he hoisted the National Flag.

Ever since the historic day, January 26 is celebrated with great pride and happiness all around the country.

On this Republic Day,
let’s read what our great history has in its store.
Let's also feel proud about it.

Jai Hind.