Two events are associated with India’s freedom from colonial rule. One is Independence Day(15th August) and the other, Republic Day (26th January). The former is a historical even when India gained independence in 1947 and freed herself from the foreign yoke after a protracted campaign for freedom, whereas the latter bestowed historicity on the day when India became a Sovereign Democratic Republic with a constitution to guide her destiny.
Republic Day reminds us of the fulfillment of the pledge that was made on the midnight of Independence as a “tryst with destiny”. It is future-oriented, a vision of India that we nourish, an acceptance of responsibility and making of promises as well as recapitulation of the achievements. The act of framing the Constitution puts a spotlight on B.R. Ambedkar whose indefatigable labour and sharp insights helped the preparation of the document.
The difference in significance marks the variation in the pattern of celebration of these two national days. On Independence Day, the past is recalled whereas, on Republic Day, the pledge is renewed. Independence Day has rhetoric built in the celebration; Republic Day is without speeches. It is the only ceremony in which rhetoric is in the background and visuals are given priority.
Republic Day is celebrated all over the country at all the administrative units like the capital cities, district headquarters, sub divisions, talukas, and panchayats. The major ceremonies at Delhi and the state capitals revolve around the parade in which all the defence services police contingents, Home guards and Civil Defence, NCC, school children and cultural troupes participate followed by a display of tableaux and folk dances.
The celebration mood lasts for one week. It consists of the ground preparations, rehearsals, the main display and spills over to the ‘Beating of Retreat’ on January 29, a day before Martyrs Day which marks the assassination of Mahatma Gandhi. The mass media,...