It is Republic Day in India. Here are some things people are talking about.

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This Sunday, January 26, 2020, brings India her 71st Republic Day. India gained her Independence in 1947, it was three years later on January 26, 1950 that we adopted our Constitution and became a ‘republic’. It is marked every year by a magnificent parade that takes place in New Delhi.

Why did we choose January 26th as Republic Day? It is the same date on which, in 1930, twenty years before the adoption of the Constitution, that the Indian National Congress decided on complete independence or Purna Swaraj from the British empire. 

If you would like to read our Constitution, it’s going to take a while. The Indian Constitution is the longest in the world. At last count, it had 448 articles in 22 parts with 12 schedules and 97 amendments! No wonder it took Dr B.R. Ambedkar nearly three years to write it! 

Our Constitution is also one of the few to have a Preamble. The Preamble is an introduction to the Constitution and spells out its main purpose and philosophy. The word Fraternity was added at the last minute as the Drafting Committee thought it necessary to emphasise this after Partition in 1947. Another change was made in 1976, when the words’ Socialist, Secular and Integrity’ were added to the first line. Given all the protests that are taking place across the country, many people are talking about and raising awareness about the contents of the Preamble. 

Here’s the Preamble of Indian Constitution

WE, THE PEOPLE OF INDIA, having solemnly resolved to constitute India into a SOVEREIGN SOCIALIST SECULAR DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC and to secure to all its citizens:

JUSTICE, social, economic and political;

LIBERTY of thought, expression, belief, faith and worship;

EQUALITY of status and of opportunity;

and to promote among them all

FRATERNITY assuring the dignity of the individual and the unity and integrity of the Nation

Here are some of the things people are talking about on Republic Day 2020:

Tableaus: Every year, there are tableaus or ‘floats’ from various states on show during the Parade.  This year there is an exciting new one – a Start-Up tableau with the theme, ‘Reach for the Sky’. One of the highlights will be performers wearing AR and VR glasses! Look out for this one if you are there or watching on TV!

The Chief Guest at this year’s event is Brazilian President Jair Messias Bolsonaro. Brazil has spoken against India at the WTO (World Trade Organisation) in the past and so farmers are upset that he has been invited. Others are too, as Mr Bolsonaro has strong views against LGBTQ people, women and immigrants. He is also unpopular with environmentalists, having recently passed several policies (especially in the Brazilian Amazon rainforest) against the global climate change agenda.

Another tradition is the Beating Retreat Ceremony on January 29th, which marks the end of the Republic Day celebrations. Every year, the Christian hymn ‘Abide With Me’, one of Mahatma Gandhi’s favourite songs, plays towards the end of the ceremony. However this year, the Defence Ministry dropped it from the list of tunes. The move was severely criticised for being seen as ‘non-inclusive’. It has now been reintroduced and will be played, along with Vande Mataram.  


Written by: Pereena Lamba. Pereena is a freelance writer, editor and creative consultant. She is also co-author of Totally Mumbai.

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