India celebrates its 69th Republic Day on 26 January 2018.
The country won independence from the British on 15 August 1947 and its Constitution came into effect on 26 January 1950 – the country’s first Republic Day. 26 January was chosen as the day to celebrate Republic Day as it was the date on which the Indian National Congress had declared ‘Purna Swaraj’ or complete independence from the British in 1930.
Today, let’s rewind the clock and take you through India’s first Republic Day.
Dr Rajendra Prasad was the country’s first president, who was sworn in at 10:24 am on the first Republic Day, as he took the baton from the country’s last Governor General, C Rajagopalachari in a ceremony at the Durbar Hall in the Government House.
On the Republic Day, there was a 31-gun salute at the Irwin Stadium in Delhi.
Unlike now when the president comes in a car, President Dr Rajendra Prasad was escorted in an open buggy.
The first Indonesian President Dr Sukarno was the chief guest at the Republic Day celebrations.
There were no jhankis or performances on India’s first Republic Day, only the Army Band performed, the flag was hoisted and the national anthem was sung.
A two-day national holiday was declared to celebrate the country’s complete freedom from the British.
President Rajendra Prasad greeting the citizens of the country on the first Republic Day.
Here is the video of India’s first Republic Day celebrations on 26 January, 1950.
Video Editor: Purnendu Pritam
(We Indians have much to talk about these days. But what would you tell India if you had the chance? Pick up the phone and write or record your Letter To India. Don’t be silent, tell her how you feel. Mail us your letter at email@example.com. We’ll make sure India gets your message.)