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.

No comments:

Post a Comment