The thing we must do is not be content with mere political democracy. We must note that our political democracy can not last unless there lies at the base of it social democracy. What does social democracy mean? It means a way of life which recognizes liberty, equality and fraternity as the principles of life" - Dr.B.R.Ambedkar
Every year we celebrate Independence Day and Republic Day as national holidays. Both are related to Indian Independence but still has a lot of difference between them. Independence Day is the Day India became Independent from the rule of British. Republic Day is the day when India was declared a sovereign, independent, self sustaining nation with its own government.
Today is the day we got our fundamental freedom, duties, right to vote and a working law to maintain our order and declare it to the world that We Indians are now not under any rule but our own.
In my opinion Republic Day is more important if not equal to Independence Day. You might wonder (I had wondered as kid) there is a 3 year gap between our Independence Day and Republic Day Or what is the importance of Constitution, Did Dr. Ambedkar alone wrote the constitution??. I imagined him in a dim room surrounded by books and papers and writing on his own.
So let me enlighten you today with some facts about our Republic Day and Constitution.
- Constitution was not written by a single person but a whole assembly was selected for it. It was called Constituent Assembly consisting of 385 members. This assembly took almost three years (two years, eleven months and seventeen days to be precise) to complete this momentous historic task of drafting the Constitution for Independent India. Interesting fact is among these 385 members 15 were women.
- It is universally accepted that Ambedkar has made an immense contribution to the philosophy of our Constitution and to the constitutional jurisprudence. He was the chief architect of the Constitution to define the will, goal and the vision of India. He is regarded as the father of the Constitution and the Constitution is his brainchild. Therefore, whatever principles have been incorporated in the constitution, Ambedkar is regarded as a source of it.
- Our constitution came into effect on January 26, 1950. But it was adopted on November 26, 1949. January 26th was specifically chosen to commemorate the Purna Swaraj declaration of Independence of 1930.
- Our constitution is the longest constitution in the world consisting of 448 Articles in 22 parts, 12 Schedules.
- Our constitution has borrowed many principles from the constitution of many countries. Separation of powers was from United States, Directive principle of state policy was adapted from Ireland, the idea of Nominal Head - President, Cabinet system of Ministers, PM post, Parliamentary type of government was from UK constitution. Suspension of Fundamental rights during emergency was from Weimer constitution of Germany. the concept of 5 year plans were taken from the USSR, the law on which the Supreme Court functions was taken from Japan, so on and so forth.
- Even with mix and match of ideas from many countries, it was blended so well that even today Indian constitution is hailed as one of the world's best constitution.
- Indian constitution was not typed or printed, it was hand written both in Hindi and English and signed by 308 members. These two original signed copies are preserved safely in the Library of Parliament house.
- India's motto "Satyamev Jayate" is taken from the Mundaka Upanishad from the Atharvaveda. It was translated into Hindi by Abid Ali in 1911.
- Many symbols of India were declared by the constitution like National Anthem - wrote by Rabindranath Tagore in Bengali, it was translated by Abid Ali into Hindi in 1911. Indian emblem is adapted from the Ashoka pillar at Sarnath, dating back to 250 BC. Indian flag was conceptualized and designed by Pingali venkayya a farmer from Machilipatnam.
- The right to vote, maybe one of the most important democratic right, the right to chose our government was given to us by The constitution of India, along with many such rights and freedoms to live a free life without stepping toes with anybody else.
- Dr.Rajendra Prasad was unanimously chosen to be the first president of our nation and he unfurled the Indian flag on this day and declared our nation to be a sovereign republic.
Republic Day celebrations
- Every year On the occasion of Republic Day, a parade is hosted in Delhi. To exhibit India's acheievements, strength, defense capability, cultural and social heritage. This parade is the soul of Republic Day celebrations.
- The festivity lasts for 3 days. The last day is known as the "Beating of Retreat", wherein drums are played and Mahatma Gandhi's favourite song, the hymn "Abide with me" is played to signify the end of Republic Day celebrations on January 29th.
- On this day, distinguished and brave people are recognised and awarded. The awards given today are Vir Chakra, Maha Vir Chakra, Param Vir Chakra, Kirti Chakra and Ashoka Chakra.
- Every year to strengthen our bond with other nations, the head of state or ruling govenment of other countries are invited as chief guests.
- President Sukarno of Indonesia was the chief guest in the first republic day. Last year, we had President Barack Obama, the first U.S. President to be ever invited ! This year President Francois Hollande of France will grace the occasion with his presence.
- For the first time a foreign army - a 76 member French Army contingent led by a French military band comprising 48 musicians, marched on Rajpath and presented a ceremonial salute to the President of India.
- Indian Army dogs marched down the Raj path after 26 long years. Reportedly, the Army has selected 36 dogs out of total 1200 Labradors and German Shepherds for the event.
- An all women stunt contingent also performed during the event.
With all those negative things you read about India in the recent times, there are so many reasons to be proud of our country and to say we are Indians. Today, The Republic day symbolizes the reason we have a voice to say what is wrong in our country, so rather than only berating it, lets hold up its idols and celebrate our country. Be proud to be Indians. Be proud to be part of heritage and country which the world celebrates. Jai hind.