NEW DELHI – January 26, 2018, marks the 69th annual celebration of Republic Day in India. The date commemorates the ratification of the country’s constitution in 1950 when it gained independence from Great Britain. The Constitution of India superseded the Government of India Act under which the nation had been governed since 1935.
One of the day’s main attractions is the Republic Day Parade which begins at the President’s residence and continues past the India Gate. Although Republic Day has been observed since 1950, the parade in New Delhi did not commence until 1955.
The official parade and others pay homage to India’s diverse cultural heritage.
Each year the President invites high ranking dignitaries of other nations as honored guests for the parade and three days of celebration. Dignitaries have included U.S. President Barak Obama (2015), French Presidents Francois Hollande (2016), Jacques Chirac (1998) and Nicholas Sarkozy (2008), King Saud of Saudi Arabia (2006), King Juan Carlos of Spain (1982), Prime Minister Andreas Papandreao of Greece (1986), and British Prime Minister John Major (1993).
This year, the country invited leaders of 10 ASEAN nations to be the distinguished guests, including the Sultan of Brunei; the Prime Ministers of Singapore, Thailand, Cambodia, Laos, Malaysia, and Vietnam; the Presidents of Indonesia and the Philippines: and the State Counsellor of Myanmar.
This year Dr. K.P. Yohannan Metropolitan of Believers Eastern Church, a church founded and based in India, shared his thoughts on the need to keep our culture on Republic Day, stating, “…one of the reasons I have great respect for our Honourable Prime Minster is because of the passion that he holds for the development of the country and especially his concern for the poor. And I am glad much progress has been made on many fronts. That will continue to make India into one of the most powerful nations in the world.
The question is, can we travel on the highway of economic prosperity and not abandon the values that held our country as one nation and one people for thousands of years? Republic Day should be an occasion for all of us fellow Indians to ponder about the small things that made our nation unique.”
Times of India, Republic Day honours for 22 from Delhi Police
Photo Source: By Srvkumar09 (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0], via Wikimedia Commons