“Today for the first time in our long and chequered history, we find the whole of this vast land brought together under the jurisdiction of one constitution and one union which takes over responsibility for the welfare of more than 320 million men and women who inhabit it.” – Dr Rajendra Prasad (26th January, 1950)
India gained its independence on August 15th, 1947 but it was on 26th of January, 1950 C. Rajagopalachari, the Governor General, announced India as a Sovereign Democratic Republic. Every year we watch Republic Day celebrations on our television but have you ever thought why Republic Day is celebrated on a bigger scale than Independence day? Do you want to know how the 1st Republic Day was celebrated? We bring 12 facts about India’s 1st Republic Day that will take you back to 1950s.
#1 National holiday for 2 Days
We love holidays and am sure we all want this to be true again. To celebrate the 1st Republic Day of India, citizens were not just give 1 day but 2 days off!
#2 The First Chief Guest
Indonesia’s first president, President Sukarno, was the first chief guest to attend Republic Day celebrations.
#3 All was ‘not‘ Well At 1st Republic Day
Not everyone was happy with the celebrations and in some states there was unrest. Police officers in Calcutta were attacked and an attempt on the life of the Hyderabad Nizam was reported.
#4 Tableau did not form part of the ceremony
The 1st Republic day celebration wasn’t the same like celebrations we watch today. Everything was different. For example- Only the armed forces honored the ceremony at that time. Our favorite colorful jhankis and school children performances were not part of the ceremony.
#5 Flag ceremony and Parade was held at Major Dhyan Chand National Stadium
The first parade was not at Rajpath but at Irwin Amphitheater. It was attended by 15,000 civilians.
#6 The Ashoka pillar replica was placed in the Durbar hall
The Ashoka pillar replica was set near the once used British Viceroys’ throne. A statue of Buddha was also placed behind the throne
#7 The President arrived on his state carriage
There were no bullet-proof cars or luxury cars such as Beamer or Mercedes. The president arrived on his state carriage along with his assistants.
#8 31-gun salute
A 31-gun salute on the 1st Republic Day, 1950 at 10:30 AM took place to celebrate India’s Republic status and to congratulate our first president.
#9 The first and only President Oath Ceremony on Republic Day
The swearing ceremony took place at Rashtrapati Bhawan’s Durbar Hall. Incidentally, this was the first and the last time that a swearing ceremony of a President on Republic Day took place.
#10 Christian Hymn was played
At the republic day , Christian Hymn “Abide With Me” was played. It is believed to be one of the Mahatma Gandhi’s favorite songs.
#11 Introduction To Indian Air Force
On this day, our Indian Air Force came into existence. Before this, it was known as Royal Indian Air Force and was a controlled body. But after this day along with people, our Indian Air Force too became an independent body.
#12 National Symbol
Peacock was declared as a national bird this day in 1963.
B) The lion head from Ashoka Pillar in Sarnath was officially adopted as national emblem on 1st Republic Day.
Don’t you just wish you were part of this historic event?
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