Why is India Republic Day celebrated on January 26? (2024)

India celebrates Republic Day on January 26 every year to commemorate the adoption of the constitution in 1950, when the former South Asian British colony transformed into a sovereign, democratic and republic nation after gaining freedom in 1947.

The day is considered a significant moment in the modern history of the world’s largest democracy that witnessed the transfer of power from the post-independence monarchy to the Indian people.

It has become an occasion to celebrate the democratic traditions and military might of the South Asian powerhouse as well as its cultural and regional diversity.

Taking place on Thursday, this year's 74th Republic day, like before, will be marked with a grand military and cultural parade on Kartavya Path, the newly refurbished three-kilometre-long broadway, part of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s ambitious Central Vista project in the heart of the capital New Delhi.

The event is taking place after a two-year pause due to the pandemic and is set to be attended by India’s newly appointed President Droupadi Murmu, Mr Modi, his cabinet colleagues, opposition leaders, foreign diplomats and the Republic Day chief guest Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El Sisi.

Why is Republic Day celebrated?

India’s independence movement leaders, including Mahatma Gandhi, Jawarharlal Nehru among others, believed that the country should have a sovereign, democratic and republic government. But even after its independence, India remained under a monarchy as it was under British Commonwealth.

After Nehru became the first Prime minister of independent India and cobbled a cross ideological government, the country began drafting a new Constitution through a long and complex process that involved input from leaders of various political and social groups.

The Constitution took about three years of drafting and on January 26, 1950, it was officially adopted and India was declared a republic.

How is it celebrated in India?

India showcases its defence capacities on the day, displaying its state-of-the-art land, aerial and sea military equipment to the world.

It is a tradition to pay homage to the fallen soldiers at the war memorial.

The annual national event begins with a 21-gun salute. It is followed by the President hoisting the national flag and singing the national anthem in presence of thousands of citizens.

The celebrations begin with the winners of gallantry awards saluting the President in open military jeeps, followed by the display of fighter jets, missiles and military gadgets that roll down the broadway amid public cheers and jubilation.

A march-past of different regiments of the armed forces, police and paramilitary is followed. The President, who is also the Commander-in-Chief of the Indian Armed Forces, takes the salute.

For decades, soldiers wielding assault rifles and mounted on decorated camels have become a highlight of the parade.

The camel mounted soldiers guard the hostile Thar desert along the Pakistan border. Other military contingents showcase acrobatic skills and daredevils, the Indian Army perform stunts on motorbikes such as making human pyramids and riding bikes over fire rings.

Why is India Republic Day celebrated on January 26? (1)

The military display gives way to cultural and regional floats representing various states and cultural groups, as well as performances by musicians and dancers.

A vibrant parade comprising tableaux from different states showcases cultural diversity and history of various Indian states.

Thousands of schoolchildren perform dance and exhibit cultural activities on the broadway that connects the Iconic India Gate to the President’s House.

Smaller events, including paramilitary and police parades are organised in the state capitals where the state governors hoist the Indian flag and take the salute.

Who attends the Republic Day celebrations?

Over the last 74 years, many high profile global dignitaries have become part of India's republic day celebrations. The chief guest is usually the head of state or government of a country. The invitation is considered a great honour, as it is seen as an opportunity for the country to strengthen its relationship with New Delhi.

Indonesian President Sukarno was the first chief guest at the 1950 Republic Day. It was followed by King Tribhuvan Bir Bikram Shah of Nepal.

New Delhi invited Pakistan’s Governor-General Malik Ghulam Muhammad in 1955. Duke of Edinburgh Prince Philip attended the 1959 Republic day followed by Queen Elizabeth II in 1961.

Chief of Defence Staff Lord Louis Mountbatten, who was the viceroy of colonial India in 1947 and later its governor-general until 1948, returned as chief guest at the Republic Day in 1964.

Why is India Republic Day celebrated on January 26? (2)

King Mohammed Zahir Shah of Afghanistan was the chief guest in 1967.

Nelson Mandela, the first South African President was the chief guest in 1995. Saudi King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz Al Saud in 2006, Russian President Vladimir Putin in 2007 and French President Nicolas Sarkozy in 2008.

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in 2014 and US President Barack Obama in 2015. The UAE's President Sheikh Mohamed, who was Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces at the time, visited in 2017.

Former Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro was the chief guest at the 2020 Republic Day. British Prime Minister Boris Johnson cancelled his visit due to Covid in 2021.

Updated: January 26, 2023, 4:15 AM

Why is India Republic Day celebrated on January 26? (2024)


Why is India Republic Day celebrated on January 26? ›

The constitution, adopted on January 26, 1950, laid the foundation for the nation's governance and heralded the birth of the Republic of India. This date was chosen with purpose, aligning the celebration with the historical resonance of the 'Purna Swaraj' declaration.

What is the significance of 26 January in India? ›

Republic Day of India: A Historical Perspective

Led by Dr. B.R. Ambedkar, a dedicated drafting committee worked tirelessly, and on January 26, 1950, the Constitution of India was officially adopted, signifying a transformative moment as India became a sovereign, socialist, secular, and democratic republic.

What do the Republic Day celebrations in India signify? ›

Republic Day is celebrated on January 26th in India to commemorate the adoption of the Constitution. The day signifies India's struggle for independence and the establishment of a self-governing nation. It showcases democratic values, cultural richness, and unity in diversity.

What is the difference between 15 August and 26 January? ›

Republic Day is celebrated on 26 January and Independence Day on 15th August. India gained Independence on 15 August 1947 but it was not a republic until 1950 when the Constitution of the country was finally adopted.

Why is India called a republic? ›

A republic country is where the head of a particular state is an elected person and not someone from a hereditary monarch. India is known as a republic country because the people of India elect the head of the state government. It is also incorporated in the Constitution of India.

What is the history of January 26? ›

Australia Day, holiday (January 26) honouring the establishment of the first permanent European settlement on the continent of Australia. On January 26, 1788, Arthur Phillip, who had sailed into what is now Sydney Cove with a shipload of convicts, hoisted the British flag at the site.

What happened on 26 January 1947 in India? ›

Rajendra Prasad heralded the historic birth of the Indian Republic on that day. Thereafter 26th of January was decreed a national holiday and was recognised as the Republic Day of India. The Constitution gave the citizens of India the power to choose their own government and paved the way for democracy.

What does the Indian republic signify? ›

India is called a republic because its head is an elected one. In India the representatives are elected by the people of the country. The representatives elected by citizens have the power to take decisions on our behalf. In India there exist an elected head of state, i.e., the President.

When did India get independence? ›

It was on 15th August 1947 that India was declared independent from British colonialism, and the reins of control were handed over to the leaders of the Country.

What are the symbols of Republic Day in India? ›

List of national and official symbols
National flagFlag of India
National emblemState Emblem of India
National mottoSatyameva Jayate ("Truth Alone Triumphs")
National anthemJana Gana Mana ("Thou Art the Ruler of the Minds of All People")
19 more rows

What country did India and Pakistan gain independence from? ›

The long-awaited agreement ended 200 years of British rule and was hailed by Indian independence leader Mohandas Gandhi as the 'noblest act of the British nation.

Is India republic or democratic? ›

India is a Sovereign Socialist Secular Democratic Republic with a Parliamentary form of government which is federal in structure with unitary features.

Which Independence Day is 2024 in India? ›

15th August 2024 Special Day

On the 15th of August 2024, India reverberates with pride and patriotic fervor, celebrating Independence Day. This momentous day, rooted in the historic year of 1947, marks the culmination of a two-century-long struggle against British rule.

Is India a republic or a Monarchy? ›

India has been a federal republic since 1950, governed through a democratic parliamentary system.

Why is India called a secular country? ›

India is called a secular state because it does not have any state religion and people are free to practice any religion of their choice.

Who is the head of the Indian republic? ›

Droupadi Murmu was sworn in as the 15th President of India on 25 July, 2022. Previously, she was the Governor of Jharkhand from 2015 to 2021.

What is the significance of 26 January 1930 in India? ›

One hundred seventy-two Indian members of central and provincial legislatures resigned in support of the resolution and in accordance with Indian public sentiment. The Declaration of Independence was officially promulgated on 26 January 1930.

What is the importance of 26 January 1950 in Indian history? ›

On 26 January 1950, India became a republic when the Constitution of India came into effect.

What is the importance of 27 January in India? ›

Every year on January 27, National Geographic Day is observed all across the country. It is a day set aside to honour the "National Geographic Magazine," which has been published continuously for more than a century. Lala Lajpat Rai was born on 28 January, 1865 in Punjab.

Why is January 25th important in India? ›

National Voters' Day is celebrated annually in India on 25 January to mark the foundation day of Election Commission of India. It established by the Government of India in order to encourage more young voters to take part in the political process, and first celebrated 25 January 2011.

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