Delhi Republic Day parade

The Delhi Republic Day parade is the largest and most important of the parades marking the Republic Day celebrations in India. The parade takes place every year on 26 January at Kartavya Path, New Delhi. It is the main attraction of India's Republic Day celebrations, which last for three days. The first parade was held in 1950, and it has been held every year since. The cultural pageant is a symbol of a diverse but united India.[2]

Delhi Republic Day parade
Republic day parade (India) montage.jpg
Clockwise from top left: CISF marching contingent (2017); tableau of Karnataka (2010); a C-17 Globemaster flanked by two Su-30 MKIs (2018); T-90 tanks (2016); daredevil riders of BSF (2014); bird’s eye view of Kartavya Path (2013).
GenreNational patriotic parade
Begins26 January
Ends26 January
FrequencyAnnual
Location(s)New Delhi, India
Inaugurated1950
Most recent2023
Previous event26 January 2023
Next event26 January 2024
Organised byMinistry of Defence[1]
Websiteindianrdc.mod.gov.in

The parade marches from the Rashtrapati Bhavan on the Kartvya Path to India Gate and from there to Red Fort. It opens with the unfurling of the national flag by the President of India. This is followed by marching from several regiments of the Army, Navy, and Air Force, along with their bands. tableaux from various states signifying their cultures are displayed. A beating retreat ceremony signifies the end of the parade.

HistoryEdit

 
President Rajendra Prasad (in the horse-drawn carriage) readies to take part in the first Republic Day parade on Rajpath, New Delhi, in 1950.

The first Republic Day Parade was held on 26 January 1950, led by then Brigadier Moti Sagar of the Gorkha Regiment, during which the President of Indonesia Sukarno was the chief guest. The flypast of that parade included aircraft such as Harvards, Consolidated B-24 Liberators, Dakotas, Hawker Tempest, Spitfires and jet planes comprising a total of more than a hundred aircraft.[3] The venue was Irwin Amphitheater, now known as Major Dhyan Chand National Stadium. The official swear-in of the first president Dr Rajendra Prasad also happened. The parades are the legacy of the British Raj, as a showcase of power to the rival States. Since time immemorial the parades have been a show of strength, mystical prowess of the empires and nation-state, legacy of triumph, and inspiring loyalty to the State. The Prussian State was the pioneer of modern military parades. Indian leaders attached military parades to the Republic Day to commemorate the triumph of a new sovereign strong republic against the colonial power. Consequently, among many other innovations, the unique and grand cultural tableux was included as an integral part of the parade symbolising a strong and diverse republic, replete with symbols of a larger nationalism incorporating massive regional diversity. With time the colonial symbols have been systematically pushed away, and an indianisation has happened. The latest being the renaming of 'Rajpath' to 'Kartavya Path'.[4]

ParadeEdit

 
The unique BSF Camel Contingent during the annual Republic Day Parade in 2015.

To mark the Republic Day, an annual parade is held in New Delhi, starting at the Rashtrapati Bhavan (the President's residence), and proceeding along the Kartavya Path, past the India Gate.[5] Prior to its commencement, the Prime Minister lays a floral wreath at the National War Memorial (previously at the Amar Jawan Jyoti memorial) at one end of Kartavya Path, which is followed by two minutes silence in the memory of fallen soldiers. Thereafter he/she reaches the main dais at Kartavya Path to join other dignitaries. Subsequently the President arrives along with the chief guest of the occasion. They are escorted on horseback by the President's Bodyguard.[citation needed]

First, the president unfurls the National flag, as the National Anthem Jana Gana Mana is played, and a 21-gun salute is fired by the Indian Army Regiment of Artillery as the PBG renders the National Salute and its standard is dipped. Next, as the PBG trots off the dais, important awards like the Ashok Chakra and Param Vir Chakra are given away by the President. The President comes forward to award the medals of bravery to the people from the armed forces for their exceptional courage in the field and also the civilians, who have distinguished themselves by their different acts of valour in different situations, either in military, civilian or disaster scenarios. This is followed by the regiments of Armed Forces starting their march past, led by the parade commander and his second in command, followed by living receipents of gallantry medals of the Republic. Following the march past of the armed forces follows the march of personnel belonging to the federal security organizations and the Delhi Police, which marches also on behalf of all territorial, state, city and municipal police forces. Children who are recipients of the National Bravery Award ride past the spectators on colourfully decorated elephants or vehicles.[6]

 
An overview of the 55th Republic Day Parade from India Gate in 2004.

18 to 24 different regiments of the Indian Army in addition to the Navy, and Air Force (total nearly 55)) with their bands march past in all their finery and official decorations. The President of India who is the Commander-in-Chief of the Indian Armed Forces, takes the salute. Twelve contingents of various para-military forces of India and other civil forces also take part in this parade.[7] One of the unique sights of the parade is the camel mounted Border Security Force contingent, which is the only camel mounted military force in the world.[citation needed] The best NCC cadets, selected from all over the country consider it an honour to participate in this event, as do the school children from various schools in the capital. They spend many days preparing for the event and no expense is spared to see that every detail is taken care of, from their practice for the drills, the essential props and their uniforms. 22 to 30 floats exhibiting the cultures of the various states and union territories of India, including floats of union ministries and state enterprises are in the grand parade, which is broadcast nationwide on television and radio. These moving exhibits depict scenes of activities of people in those states and the music and songs of that particular state accompany each display. Each display brings out the diversity and richness of the culture of India and the whole show lends a festive air to the occasion.[8] People from different parts of the country enjoy watching the representation of their state rolling along in the parade.[2] Around 1200 schoolchildren present cultural dances as part of the parade.[9] The 2016 Republic Day marked the return of K-9 Dog Squad to the parade after 26 years.[10]

The parade traditionally ends with dare devil motor cycle riding display by motorcycle units of the Armed Forces and civil security services and a flypast by the Indian Air Force jets and helicopters.[11] In 2019, the flypast included aircraft such as Su 30 MKI, Jaguar, Mig 29, C-17 Globemaster and HAL Rudra.[12]

A full dress rehearsal parade is organised on 23 January every year.[13]

TableauxEdit

 
The tableau of Tamil Nadu passes through the Rajpath, on the occasion of the 68th Republic Day Parade 2017, in New Delhi on 26 January 2017

The selection process of the tableaux is conducted by the Ministry of Defence, which involves a number of guidelines. The ministry recommends that tableaux represent a historical event, heritage, culture, development programmes and environment. The tableaux must not carry any logos and should carry some animation and sound.[14]

Proposals are invited from union ministries and departments of the union government of India, and from states and union territories of India within a fixed deadline. The proposals are examined by a committee of experts from arts fields. The examination process involves 2 rounds. The first round provides suggestions for modifications, after evaluating the sketches and designs. The second round evaluates three-dimensional models, after which a final judgement is passed by the committee.[14]

Beating RetreatEdit

 
The Band performing at Beating Retreat ceremony at Vijay Chowk on 29 January 2018.

The Indian Beating Retreat ceremony officially denotes the end of Republic Day festivities. It is conducted on the evening of 29 January, the third day after the Republic Day. It is performed by the bands of the three wings of the military, the Indian Army, Indian Navy and Indian Air Force. The venue is Raisina Hill and an adjacent square, Vijay Chowk, flanked by the north and south block of the Rashtrapati Bhavan (President's Palace) towards the end of Kartavya Path.[citation needed]

The Chief Guest of the function is the President of India who arrives escorted by the Presidential Body Guard (PBG), a cavalry unit. When the President arrives, the PBG commander asks the unit to give the National Salute, which is followed by playing of the Indian National Anthem, Jana Gana Mana, by the Army developed the ceremony of display by the massed bands in which Military Bands, Pipe and Drum Bands, Buglers and Trumpeters from various Army Regiments besides bands from the Navy and Air Force take part which play popular tunes like the National Song of India Vande Mataram, Mahatma Gandhi's favourite hymn Vaishnava Jana To, Saare Jahan Se Achcha and Abide With Me at the end.[15][16][17]

Mostly, after Republic Day Celebrations Schools and Colleges Observe Holiday on 27 January.[citation needed]

Guest contingentsEdit

In 2016, French Army soldiers and a French Army Band took part in the 67th Republic Day parade. This marked the first time since the beginning of the parade in 1950, that a foreign army contingent marched down the Rajpath during the Republic Day parade.[citation needed]

Year Country Unit Contigent Details Photo
2016[18]   France   35th Infantry Regiment 76 soldiers

48-member band[19]

 
2017[20]   United Arab Emirates   United Arab Emirates Presidential Guard 149 soldiers

35-member band

 
2021[21]   Bangladesh   Bangladesh Armed Forces 122 soldiers [22]
2023[23]   Egypt   Egyptian Armed Forces 144 soldiers

12-member band

 

AwardsEdit

Best marching contingentsEdit

Year Best Marching Contingent among the three services Best Marching Contingent among CAPFs/other auxiliary forces
1983 National Cadet Corps (Senior Under Officer Ubhay Bharti Trikha)
1991 Madras Engineer Group (Second Lieutenant Vivek Jaswal)
1994 Gorkha Regiment (Major J. S. Tanwar)
1995 Gorkha Regiment
1996 Brigade of the Guards (Captain Arun Malik)
1997 Madras Engineer Group (Lieutenant Pranay Dangwal) Border Security Force
1998 Bombay Engineer Group (Captain Atul Suryavanshi) Indo-Tibetan Border Police
1999 Bihar Regiment Indo-Tibetan Border Police
2000 Indian Air Force Indo-Tibetan Border Police
2001 Madras Regiment Delhi Police
2002 Indian Navy Delhi Police
2003 Madras Engineer Group Delhi Police
2004 Indian Navy Indo-Tibetan Border Police
2005[24] Sikh Regiment Delhi Police
2006 Bihar Regiment Delhi Police
2007 Jat Regiment Central Industrial Security Force
2008 Rajputana Rifles Central Industrial Security Force
2009[25] Territorial Army Central Reserve Police Force
2010[26] Dogra Regiment Central Reserve Police Force
2011 Indian Air Force Indo-Tibetan Border Police
2012[27] Indian Air Force Border Security Force
2013[28] Indian Air Force and Indian Navy Central Industrial Security Force
2014[29] Sikh Light Infantry Central Reserve Police Force
2015[30] Brigade of the Guards and Sikh Regiment Central Industrial Security Force
2016[31] Assam Regiment Border Security Force
2017[32] Bihar Regiment Central Industrial Security Force
2018[33] Punjab Regiment Indo-Tibetan Border Police
2019[34] Gorkha Regiment Central Reserve Police Force
2020[35][36] Indian Air Force Central Industrial Security Force
2021[37] Jat Regiment Delhi Police
2022[38] Indian Navy Central Industrial Security Force
2023[39] Punjab Regiment Central Reserve Police Force

Best three tableauxEdit

Year First Second Third
1980 Maharashtra[citation needed]
1981 Goa[40]
1983 Maharashtra[citation needed]
1988 Goa[40]
1989 Punjab[citation needed] Goa[40]
1990 Goa[40]
1991 Goa[40]
1993 Maharashtra[citation needed]
1994 Maharashtra[citation needed]
1995 Maharashtra[citation needed] Goa[40]
2000 Goa[40]
2001 Rajasthan Ministry of Railways Gujarat and Jammu and Kashmir
2002 Jammu and Kashmir
2003 Goa Assam Uttar Pradesh
2005[24] Karnataka Ministry of Law and Justice Uttar Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir and Ministry of Railways
2007[41] Odisha Ministry of Culture Maharashtra
2008 Kerala Karnataka Ministry of Human Resource Development
2009[25] Kerala Maharashtra Tamil Nadu and Jammu and Kashmir
2010[26] Ministry of Culture Goa Chhattisgarh
2011 Delhi Karnataka Rajasthan
2012[27] Ministry of Human Resource Development Goa Karnataka
2013[28] Kerala Rajasthan Chhattisgarh
2014[29] West Bengal Tamil Nadu Assam
2015[30] Maharashtra Jharkhand Karnataka
2016[31] West Bengal Tripura Assam
2017[32] Arunachal Pradesh Tripura Maharashtra and Tamil Nadu
2018[33] Maharashtra Assam Chhattisgarh
2019[34] Tripura Jammu and Kashmir Punjab
2020[42] Assam Odisha Uttar Pradesh
2021[43] Uttar Pradesh Tripura Uttarakhand
2022[38] Uttar Pradesh Karnataka Meghalaya
2023[44] Uttarakhand Maharashtra Uttar Pradesh

Best tableaux among the Union Ministries and DepartmentsEdit

Year Union Ministry / Department
2020[45] National Disaster Response Force and Ministry of Jal Shakti
2021[43] Department of Biotechnology
2022[38] Ministry of Education and Ministry of Civil Aviation
2023[44] Ministry of Tribal Affairs

Popular Choice AwardsEdit

In 2022, for the first time, the public were allowed to vote for their favourite floats and marching contingents using the MyGov app.[38] The floats with the most votes are declared the winners.[46]

Year State / Union Territory Military Forces Central Armed Police Forces Union Ministry / Department
2022 Maharashtra Indian Air Force Central Reserve Police Force Ministry of Communications and Department of Post
2023 Gujarat Indian Air Force Central Reserve Police Force Ministry of Home Affairs

See alsoEdit

NotesEdit

1.^ On each of these occasions, Lady Edwina Mountbatten from United Kingdom was also the official guest for the parade.[47][48]
2.^ Duke of Edinburgh Prince Philip also accompanied Queen Elizabeth II during the parade.[49]
3.^ Danish Prime Minister attended Republic Day in Madras (Chennai).[50]
4.^ No invitations were sent out possibly due to the demise of Prime Minister Lal Bahadur Shastri on 11 January 1966 in Tashkent. The new government headed by Indira Gandhi was sworn on 24 January 1966 (only two days before the Republic Day).[51]
5.^ For the first time, the President of India (Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan) could not take the salute at the Republic Day parade due to ill-health.[52] Zahir Shah arrived on 28 January.[53]
6.^ Attended only the Beating Retreat[54][55]


ReferencesEdit

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