A nation earns the title of a "republic" when it hands over the power of state governance to the people through their elected representatives and frames a Constitution, cementing the rights of its citizens. The word takes its origin from the days of the Socratic dialogue, and was first coined by Plato in 380 BC. It dealt with justice, the character and the order of a just city-state. The modern tag of “republic” came into use in 1600 AD, when Niccolo di Bernardo Machiavelli, an Italian diplomat and politician, used it in Florence after the melting down of the Medici Era. In Latin, the word is a combination of “Res” and “Publica,” meaning a commonwealth in public interest– a government of the people, for the people and by the people.
Republic Day is celebrated in India every year on January 26. On this day in 1950, India adopted its Constitution, which was drafted by Dr B.R. Ambedkar, and so became a “sovereign democratic republic.”
Republic Day School Celebrations in Hyderabad
Sancta Maria International School, Serilingampally
“Humbled in veneration for the 90-year saga of sacrifices to realise a singular dream of free India and heralding the republic, I stand tall as an Indian today,” said Kavita Kalra, principal of Sancta Maria International School. “My role as an Indian mother, teacher, and citizen changes only in form; yet the mission to see a new India continues. A new India that emerges free from fear, pain or any grievance. Today, it is a nation which has reached its zenith of achievement. This is the result of the solidarity among its citizens who rise above all disparities. My journey today is to impact generations to come and cement a national resolve of seeing India to its true glory and at the summit of excellence.”
“Republic Day is an occasion where everyone acknowledges the hardships and the thoughts that our leaders have conquered for us,” said Tanishka Pasumarthi, head girl. “It is a memorial of the culture we have inherited today. As young leaders, we are the key to moulding our future. There is a responsibility we uphold to do something in our capacity for our country. Our school has established an effective leadership programme where every student has the freedom to voice their thoughts. Leadership is only achieved by students when they acknowledge a leader within them. The leadership programme our school has established has our own Constitution as its base, where rights and responsibilities created by us will pave the path for the birth of responsible citizens, future leaders, and an informed society.”
International School, Shaikpet
“Republic Day is celebrated when our students salute the National Flag and pledge to uphold the honour, integrity, diversity, and uniqueness of India,” said Prof. Kakarla Subba Rao, chairman of the school. “Forceful speeches are delivered by elected students in English, Hindi, and Telugu. They cite the great leaders who have sacrificed to achieve independent India. Beginning with the hoisting of the National Flag up until the singing of the National Anthem, as arranged by composer A.R. Rahman, the atmosphere in the school is vibrant, colourful, and picturesque. It makes an unforgettable impression on the students.”
“We make sure the children are exposed, as early as in the eighth standard, to the difference between Independence Day and Republic Day. We include a complete chapter on our Constitution, its framing, and its contents in the curriculum of history and civics, which falls under social studies,” said Sushrut, executive joint secretary.
Speaking about how she’s preparing for the occasion, grade IX student Alekhya Popuri says, “I will be taking part in skits on that day and preparing a speech on the significance of Republic Day in our lives.”
“This year, we are doing something very creative", said V. Lakshmi, the school’s principal. “We are introducing a `Mock-Parliament Drill’ in the programme, and our students are showing passionate interest in such proceedings.
“I thank God for being born in a country like India, the land of great scholars and philosophers,” said Anmol Panda, also a grade IX student. “My mother and I light a candle early in the morning on January 26, in honour of all those people who have sacrificed their lives for a noble cause in the country. It’s a cause that goes beyond the self and stretches to the nation’s good.
I have interacted with Prof. Abdul Kalam, our former (late) president when he visited our school. I will never forget the inspirational talk he gave us. He said, `When I was in fifth grade, my teacher took me to the seaside and pointed to an eagle in flight. He noted how the eagle always soars so high and is not afraid of falling from that height. I was so inspired by the talk that I decided to take up aeronautical engineering from that moment in my life’.”
“For me, the first thing that comes to mind when I think of Republic Day is watching the grand Republic Day parade at Rajpath in New Delhi,” said Shruti Khan, a parent of a student who studies in the school. “This is one event which I have never missed in my entire life, ever since I was a young kid. I have two sons studying in this school – Sohail Ullah Khan in grade IV and Samar Ullah Khan in grade I. After my children come back from school, I like to get their feedback on the school celebrations. I ask them to draw a picture and write about how they spent their morning. They are animated about their expressions and they are proud to display the National Flag pinups that are tagged to their shirts.”
“I always clear up the difference between Independence Day and Republic Day with my children,” said Arshiya Tabassum, a parent as well as a teacher in this school. “I teach here in Class IV and have a son, Habeeb-ul-Khaliq, studying in Class VI. I like to talk about how this day is so important in our lives, and how it has made India famous for its unity in diversity, and for its rich cultural heritage.”
Glendale Academy, Golkonda
“On patriotic occasions like Republic Day, our country looks like a bride draped in the beautiful colours of saffron, white and green,” said Yashi Shukla, a student of Grade XI. “I personally look forward to this day every year, because this is the day our country was reborn with its own Constitution and rules, free from the clutches of colonialism and imperialism.”
“This day plays an important role not only in the life of a student, but in the life of every Indian, because those who don’t know history are destined to repeat it,” said Dr Anubhuti Shukla, parent and a holder of a Ph.D. in economics. “The fundamental rights and duties written in our Constitution enlighten or instruct us to respect our country and our fellow citizens, and thus bring out the real meaning of unity in diversity. I am reminded of a quotation by John C. Geikie on our Republic Day, which notes that ‘our character is but the stamp on our souls of the free choices of good and evil we have made through life’.”
Chirec International School
“Republic Day evokes feelings of great celebration in me,” said Maitri Rangarajan Paul, a Grade XII student. “It is a day when we respect our forefathers, of course. However, for me, it also represents the coming together of my school community for march-pasts or dance performances and is in essence what the day is all about. Coming together as a country and rejoicing in what we have created.”
“Republic Day celebrations are a reminder of the fact that India is a functioning democratic country and is united among its diverse communities,” said Radha Rangarajan, Maitri’s mother.
Pearson School, Kompally
“Our Constitution has come into force on this day with `Right to Equality’ and `Right to Education’ having a special meaning to students like us as our fundamental rights. Due to these rights, children across social strata in our country hold the potential of changing the face of our society,” said Hasmith Reddy, a Class X student.
“Republic Day is not just a holiday or a day for rituals; it means much more than that. It is the day on which we got one of the greatest Constitutions among all nations. It is a comprehensive guiding source for the governance of this vast and diverse country,” said Rajitha Reddy, mother of Hasmith Reddy.
Girls High School (Government-Aided) Shah Ali Banda
“This is the last year that I will be attending Republic Day celebrations in this school, as I complete my curriculum,” said Syeda Fatema Jabeen, a 10th standard student. “On this day, I will come prepared, in uniform, at 9 am for the flag-hoisting ceremony. Our head mistress, Umme Hani, and our secretary and correspondent, Faheem Unissa, will preside over this ceremony. Snacks will be served and speeches will be made by various administrators and teachers on the significance of Republic Day and what it means to us. This day is all about having the rights of citizens put together in one place in our Constitution. This document is like a crutch or a walking stick for the people of the nation, and it can be used in a just and fair manner for shaping, particularly, the lives of young students. As students, we take great pride in celebrating and glorifying the spirit of unity. To mark the importance of this day, a grand celebration is held in our school and several activities are planned on the premises. There is patriotic fervour as we celebrate by singing songs and making speeches.”
“As a mother, I am very happy, as this day marks the follow-up of our independence movement and the forming of the republic. It is a day to watch the parade that takes place in New Delhi on television and also to enjoy with the family after my daughter returns from her school,” said Mohammadi Botul, mother of Syeda Fatema Jabeen.
Some Republic Day Facts
- It was on this auspicious day that the country’s Constitution came into force. Prior to this day, India was following the Government of India Act of 1935.
- The Constitution was adopted by the Indian Constituent Assembly on November 26, 1949, but came into force on January 26, 1950. January 26 was chosen because it was on this day in 1930 that Purna Swaraj or the Declaration of Indian Independence was proclaimed by the Indian National Congress. January 26, 1930 was earlier celebrated as India’s Independence Day or Purna Swaraj Day. It’s the day India took up the fight for complete freedom. After the country achieved Independence on August 15 in 1947, leaders of the nation wanted January 26 to be remembered as an historic date. Hence, the day was made to coincide with the day of the Swaraj.
- The Chairman of the Constitution Drafting Committee was Dr Bhimrao Ramji Ambedkar. It was a gigantic task and it took two years and 11 months to complete the drafting of the document.
- On January 26, 1950, Dr Rajendra Prasad took a solemn oath as the first President of independent India. The event took place at Durbar Hall in Government House, New Delhi. The ceremony was followed by a presidential drive along a five-mile route to Irwin Stadium. Here the National Flag was hoisted, after which there was a 21-gun salute. The seeds for the annual tradition were sown. Since then, the hoisting of the flag and a parade displaying the military strength of the country, along with cultural presentations, have been observed.
- This year marks the 69th Republic Day.
- In Hindi, it is known as Gantantra Diwas.
- In this republic, elected representatives of the people govern, and citizens have the right to vote while being given the power to choose their government. Citizens’ fundamental rights are given significant importance. Democracy became a crucial part of the Indian Constitution along with an independent and a fair judicial system.
- India’s Constitution is regarded as the longest in the world, containing 448 articles. It is written both in English and Hindi.
- Our leaders have taken the best aspects from constitutions of other countries. The concepts of liberty, equality and fraternity were inspired by the French Constitution, while the Five-Year Plans came from the USSR constitution.
- National awards such as Bharat Ratna, Kirti Chakra, and Padma Bhushan are awarded during the Republic Day ceremony, whcih is held in the capital.
- This is the first gazette holiday in the calendar year, and is one of the three national holidays, along with August 15 (Independence Day) and October 2 (Gandhi Jayanti).
- Every student should re-dedicate this day to the realisation of a dream that inspired the Father of our Nation, and other contributors to the freedom struggle who worked to establish a cooperative, free and a classless society. Republic Day is more a day that is meant for dedications than for rejoicing; we must dedicate ourselves to the celebrated task of making all citizens free and cultured in the truest sense of these words. We need to realise the intrinsic significance of India becoming a republic – that we, the citizens of this nation, have the power and the will to govern ourselves by electing trusted representatives. --- Tahseen