National events like Republic Day are patriotic moments for every Indian. Celebrated on January 26 every year, Republic Day is the token of the establishment of India’s constitution and is a tribute to all the freedom fighters who struggled to make India an independent country.
As independence and the struggles associated with it are growing increasingly historic, the coming generations might treat it as yet another holiday. But as responsible Indians, we must understand the importance of what our forefathers dreamt of and fought for. On the occasion of India’s 68th Republic Day, here are 10 lesser-known facts about this historic day.
- The Indonesian President Sukarno was the first Guest of Honour in India for the Republic Day's celebration in 1950.
- Contrary to popular belief, the concept of Five Year Plans in the Indian Constitution has been borrowed from the Constitution of the USSR and not the UK.
- The idea of division of power between Union and State has been taken from the Canadian constitution, the concept of Fundamental Duty from the Soviet Union, the directorial elements from the Constitution of Ireland, the republican administration system from French Constitution, and the emergency carriage system from German Constitution.
- Two copies of the Indian Constitution were handwritten, one in English and one in Hindi.
- The original handwritten copies of the Constitution are kept in helium-filled cases in the Library of Parliament House.
- France has been the most special Republic Day guest in India. Last year, visiting President Francois Hollande was the fifth French leader to join R-Day celebrations as chief guest.
- The custom of offering the gallantry awards to children was started by the Government of India in 1957.
- 21 gun salutes are given every year when the President of India hoists the national flag on Republic Day.
- The Republic Day celebrations last for three days, ending with ‘Beating the Retreat’, a military ceremony held on January 29 every year. It was first started in the 1950s by Major Roberts of the Indian Army. The evening ends with the hymn Abide with Me, which was Mahatma Gandhi’s favourite.
- The Constitution of India is the longest written Constitution in the world. It has incorporated 448 Articles in 22 Parts, 12 Schedules, and 97 Amendments, and cannot be read in a single day.