Republic Day (India)

Republic Day honours the date on which the Constitution of India came into effect on 26 January 1950 replacing the Government of India Act (1935) as the governing document of India.[1]

Republic Day
The original text of the Preamble to the Constitution of India. The Constitution of India came into force on 26 January 1950 (1950-01-26).
Observed byIndia
SignificanceInception of Constitution of India
CelebrationsParades, distribution of sweets in schools, speeches and cultural dances
Date26 January

The Constitution was adopted by the Indian Constituent Assembly on 26 January 1950, and came into effect on 26 January 1950 with a democratic government system, completing the country's transition towards becoming an independent republic. 26 January was chosen as the Republic day because it was on this day in 1929 when Declaration of Indian Independence (Purna Swaraj) was proclaimed by the Indian National Congress as opposed to the Dominion status offered by the British Regime.

History of Republic Day

India achieved independence from British Raj on 15 August 1947 following the Indian independence movement. The independence came through the Indian Independence Act 1947 (10 & 11 Geo 6 c 30), an Act of the Parliament of the United Kingdom that partitioned British India into the two new independent Dominions of the British Commonwealth (later Commonwealth of Nations).[2] India obtained its independence on 15 August 1947 as a constitutional monarchy with George VI as head of state and the Earl Mountbatten as governor-general. The country, though, did not yet have a permanent constitution; instead its laws were based on the modified colonial Government of India Act 1935. On 29th August 1947, a resolution was moved for the appointment of Drafting Committee, Drafting Committee was appointed to draft a permanent constitution, with Dr B R Ambedkar as chairman. While India's Independence Day celebrates its freedom from British Rule, the Republic Day celebrates the coming into force of its constitution. A draft constitution was prepared by the committee and submitted to the Constituent Assembly on 4 November 1947.[3] The Assembly met, in sessions open to public, for 166 days, spread over a period of two years, 11 months and 18 days before adopting the Constitution. After many deliberations and some modifications, the 308 members of the Assembly signed two hand-written copies of the document (one each in Hindi and English) on 24 January 1950. Two days later which was on 26 January 1950, it came into effect throughout the whole nation. On that day began Dr. Rajendra Prasad's first term of office as President of the Indian Union. The Constituent Assembly became the Parliament of India under the transitional provisions of the new Constitution.This date is celebrated in India as the Republic Day.


The main Republic Day celebration is held in the national capital, New Delhi, at the Rajpath before the President of India. On this day, ceremonious parades take place at the Rajpath, which are performed as a tribute to India; its unity in diversity and rich cultural heritage.

Delhi Republic Day parade

Delhi Republic Day parade is held in the capital, New Delhi organised by the Ministry of Defence. Commencing from the gates of the Rashtrapati Bhavan (the President's residence), Raisina Hill on Rajpath past the India Gate, this event is the main attraction of India's Republic Day Celebrations lasting three days. The parade showcases India's Defence Capability, Cultural and Social Heritage.[4]

Nine to twelve different regiments of the Indian Army in addition to the Navy, and Air Force with their bands march past in all their finery and official decorations. The President of India who is the Commander-in-Chief of the Indian Armed Forces, takes the salute. Twelve contingents of various para-military forces of India and other civil forces also take part in this parade.[5]

Beating Retreat

The Beating Retreat ceremony is held after officially denoting the end of Republic Day festivities. It is conducted on the evening of 29 January, the third day after the Republic Day. It is performed by the bands of the three wings of the military, the Indian Army, Indian Navy and Indian Air Force. The venue is Raisina Hill and an adjacent square, Vijay Chowk, flanked by the North and South block of the Rashtrapati Bhavan (President's Palace) towards the end of Rajpath.[6]

The Chief Guest of the function is the President of India who arrives escorted by the (PBG), a cavalry unit. When the President arrives, the PBG commander asks the unit to give the National Salute, which is followed by the playing of the Indian National Anthem, Jana Gana Mana, by the Army. The Army develops the ceremony of display by the massed bands in which Military Bands, Pipe and Drum Bands, Buglers and Trumpeters from various Army Regiments besides bands from the Navy and Air Force take part which play popular tunes like Abide With Me, Mahatma Gandhi's favourite hymn, and Saare Jahan Se Achcha at the end.[7][8][9]

Award Distribution

On the Eve of Republic Day the president of India distributed Padma Awards to Civilians of India Every Year which is the most important award after Bharat Ratna which is highest civilian award in India. This Award is given in three categories, viz. Padma Vibhushan, Padma Bhushan and Padma Shri, in the decreasing order of importance.

  • Padma Vibhushan for "exceptional and distinguished service". Padma Vibhushan is the second-highest civilian award in India.
  • Padma Bhushan for "distinguished service of a high order". Padma Bhushan is the third-highest civilian award in India .
  • Padma Shri is awarded for "distinguished service". Padma Shri is the fourth-highest civilian award in India.

While national honours, the Padma awards do not include cash allowances, benefits, or special concessions in rail/air travel.[10] Per a December 1995 judgment of the Supreme Court of India, no titles or honorifics are associated with the Bharat Ratna or any of the Padma awards; honorees cannot use them or their initials as suffixes, prefixes or pre- and post-nominals attached to the awardee's name. This includes any such use on letterheads, invitation cards, posters, books etc. In the case of any misuse, the awardee will forfeit the award, and he or she is cautioned against any such misuse upon receiving the honour.[11]

The decoration comprises a sanad (Certificate) issued under the hand and seal of the President and a Medallion. The recipients are also given a replica of the medallion, which they can wear during any ceremonial/State functions etc., if they desire. A commemorative brochure giving out brief details in respect of each award winner is also released on the day of the investiture ceremony.

Republic Day parade chief guest

Since 1950, India has been hosting head of state or government of another country as the state guest of honour for Republic Day celebrations in New Delhi. During 1950–1954, Republic Day celebrations were organised at different venues (like Irwin Stadium, Kingsway, Red Fort and Ramlila Grounds). It was only starting 1955 when the parade in its present form was organised at Rajpath.[12] The guest country is chosen after a deliberation of strategic, economic and political interests. During 1950s–1970s, a number of NAM and Eastern Bloc countries were hosted by India. In 1968 and 1974, India played host to two countries on the same Republic Day.

By region, the invitations break up as follows:

Region Invitations Countries
South and Central Asia 14 Afghanistan, Bhutan (4 times), Kazakhstan, Maldives, Myanmar, Nepal (twice), Pakistan (twice), Sri Lanka (twice)
East and South-East Asia 19 Brunei, Cambodia (twice), China, Indonesia (thrice), Japan (twice), Laos, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore (twice), South Korea, Thailand (twice), Vietnam (twice)
West Asia and Saharan Africa 4 Algeria, Iran, Saudi Arabia, UAE
West Africa 2 Nigeria (twice)
Central and Southern Africa 3 Democratic Republic of the Congo, South Africa (twice)
East Africa 5 Mauritius (thrice), Tanzania, Zambia
Eastern Europe 8 Bulgaria, Poland, Yugoslavia (twice), USSR/Russia (4 times)
Western Europe and North America 17 Belgium, Denmark, France (5 times), Greece, Ireland, Portugal, Spain, United Kingdom (5 times), USA (once)
Latin America and Caribbean 2 Mexico, Trinidad and Tobago
South America 5 Argentina, Brazil (thrice), Peru
Oceania 1 Australia
Year Guest name Country Note
1950 President Sukarno[13]  Indonesia
1951 King Tribhuvan Bir Bikram Shah[14]    Nepal
1952 No Invitation
1953 No Invitation
1954 King Jigme Dorji Wangchuck[15]  Bhutan
1955 Governor General Malik Ghulam Muhammad[16]  Pakistan First guest for parade at Rajpath[17]
1956 Chancellor of the Exchequer R. A. Butler  United Kingdom Note Two guests[18]
Chief Justice Kōtarō Tanaka  Japan
1957 Minister of Defence Georgy Zhukov[19]  Soviet Union
1958 Marshall Ye Jianying[20]  China
1959 Duke of Edinburgh Prince Philip[21][22][23]  United Kingdom 2nd invitation
1960 Chairman Kliment Voroshilov[24]  Soviet Union 2nd invitation
1961 Queen Elizabeth II[25]  United Kingdom 3rd invitation, Note
1962 Prime Minister Viggo Kampmann[26]  Denmark Note
1963 King Norodom Sihanouk[27]  Cambodia
1964 Chief of Defence Staff Lord Louis Mountbatten[28]  United Kingdom 4th invitation, Note
1965 Food and Agriculture Minister Rana Abdul Hamid  Pakistan 2nd invitation
1966 No invitation No invitation Note
1967 King Mohammed Zahir Shah[29]  Afghanistan Note
1968 Chairman Alexei Kosygin  Soviet Union 3rd invitation Two guests[30]
President Josip Broz Tito  Yugoslavia
1969 Prime Minister Todor Zhivkov[31]  Bulgaria
1970 King of the Belgians Baudouin[32][33]  Belgium Note
1971 President Julius Nyerere[34]  Tanzania
1972 Prime Minister Seewoosagur Ramgoolam[35]  Mauritius
1973 President Mobutu Sese Seko[36]  Zaire
1974 President Josip Broz Tito  Yugoslavia 2nd invitation Two guests[37]
Prime Minister Sirimavo Bandaranaike  Sri Lanka
1975 President Kenneth Kaunda[38]  Zambia
1976 Prime Minister Jacques Chirac[39]  France
1977 First Secretary Edward Gierek[40]  Poland
1978 President Patrick Hillery[41]  Ireland
1979 Prime Minister Malcolm Fraser[42]  Australia
1980 President Valéry Giscard d'Estaing  France 2nd invitation
1981 President Jose Lopez Portillo[43]  Mexico
1982 King Juan Carlos I[44]  Spain
1983 President Shehu Shagari[45]  Nigeria
1984 King Jigme Singye Wangchuck[46]  Bhutan 2nd invitation
1985 President Raúl Alfonsín[47]  Argentina
1986 Prime Minister Andreas Papandreou[48]  Greece
1987 President Alan Garcia[49]  Peru
1988 President J. R. Jayewardene[50]  Sri Lanka 2nd invitation
1989 General Secretary Nguyen Van Linh[51]  Vietnam
1990 Prime Minister Anerood Jugnauth[52]  Mauritius 2nd invitation
1991 President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom[53]  Maldives
1992 President Mário Soares[53]  Portugal
1993 Prime Minister John Major[53]  United Kingdom 5th invitation
1994 Prime Minister Goh Chok Tong[53]  Singapore
1995 President Nelson Mandela[54]  South Africa
1996 President Fernando Henrique Cardoso[53]  Brazil
1997 Prime Minister Basdeo Panday[53]  Trinidad and Tobago
1998 President Jacques Chirac[53]  France 3rd invitation
1999 King Birendra Bir Bikram Shah Dev[53]    Nepal 2nd invitation
2000 President Olusegun Obasanjo[53]  Nigeria 2nd invitation
2001 President Abdelaziz Bouteflika[53]  Algeria
2002 President Cassam Uteem[53]  Mauritius 3rd invitation
2003 President Mohammed Khatami[53]  Iran
2004 President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva[53]  Brazil 2nd invitation
2005 King Jigme Singye Wangchuck[53]  Bhutan 3rd invitation
2006 King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz al-Saud[53]  Saudi Arabia
2007 President Vladimir Putin[53]  Russia 4th invitation
2008 President Nicolas Sarkozy[53]  France 4th invitation
2009 President Nursultan Nazarbayev[53]  Kazakhstan
2010 President Lee Myung Bak[55]  South Korea
2011 President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono[56][57]  Indonesia 2nd invitation
2012 Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra[58]  Thailand
2013 King Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck[59]  Bhutan 4th invitation
2014 Prime Minister Shinzo Abe[60]  Japan 2nd invitation
2015 President Barack Obama[61]  United States
2016 President François Hollande  France 5th invitation[62]
2017 Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan[63]  United Arab Emirates
2018 Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah  Brunei Ten guests (Heads of ASEAN states)[64]
Prime Minister Hun Sen  Cambodia 2nd invitation
President Joko Widodo  Indonesia 3rd invitation
Prime Minister Thongloun Sisoulith  Laos
Prime Minister Najib Razak  Malaysia
State Counsellor Daw Aung San Suu Kyi  Myanmar
President Rodrigo Roa Duterte  Philippines
Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong  Singapore 2nd invitation
Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha  Thailand 2nd invitation
Prime Minister Nguyễn Xuân Phúc  Vietnam 2nd invitation
2019 President Cyril Ramaphosa[65][66]  South Africa 2nd invitation
2020 President Jair Bolsonaro  Brazil 3rd invitation


1.^ On each of these occasions, Lady Edwina Mountbatten from United Kingdom was also the official guest for the parade.[18][28]
2.^ Duke of Edinburgh Prince Philip also accompanied Queen Elizabeth II during the parade.[25]
3.^ Danish Prime Minister attended Republic Day in Madras (Chennai).[67]
4.^ No invitations were sent out possibly due to the demise of Prime Minister Lal Bahadur Shastri on 11 January 1966 in Tashkent. The new government headed by Indira Gandhi was sworn on 24 January 1966 (only two days before the Republic Day).[68]
5.^ For the first time, the President of India (S. Radhakrishnan) could not take the salute at the Republic Day parade due to ill-health.[69] Zahir Shah arrived on 28 January.[70]
6.^ Attended only the Beating Retreat[32][33]

See also


  1. "Introduction to Constitution of India". Ministry of Law and Justice of India. 29 July 2008. Archived from the original on 22 October 2014. Retrieved 14 October 2008.
  2. "Indian Independence Act 1947". The National Archives, Her Majesty's Government. Retrieved 17 July 2012.
  3. "Constituent Assembly DEBATES (PROCEEDINGS)". Archived from the original on 29 September 2007. Retrieved 25 January 2014.
  4. "India Celebrates 63rd Republic Day". Eastern Fare. 26 January 2012. Archived from the original on 15 May 2012.
  5. "Chap". Archived from the original on 7 March 2011. Retrieved 22 July 2012.
  6. "Republic Day Beating Retreat Ceremony 2017 at Vijay Chowk, New Delhi". DNA India. 29 January 2017. Retrieved 24 January 2018.
  7. "Curtain Raiser – Beating Retreat Ceremony 2011". Ministry of Defence. 28 January 2011.
  8. "Beating Retreat weaves soul-stirring musical evening". The Times of India. 29 January 2011. Archived from the original on 1 February 2011.
  9. "Martial music rings down the curtain". The Times of India. 30 January 2011.
  10. "Lok Sabha Unstarred Question No. 1219: Padma Awards (2015)"
  11. "Lok Sabha Unstarred Question No. 2536: Use of Title of Awards (2016)"
  12. "National Gallantry Awards and Honors in India". Govt Jobs Portal. Retrieved 23 February 2019.
  13. "Republic Day celebrations: President Pranab Mukherjee tweets images from 1950 onwards". 25 July 2017 via The Economic Times.
  14. India, President of (18 January 2015). "King Tribhuvan of Nepal was the guest of honour for the Republic Day in 1951".
  15. "Selected works of Jawaharlal Nehru" (PDF).
  17. Rajan, Mannaraswamighala Sreeranga (1964). "India in world affairs, 1954–56". Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  18. The Times of India,News Service. (1956, Jan 22). REPUBLIC DAY IN DELHI. The Times of India (1861-Current) Retrieved from
  19. British Pathé (13 April 2014). "Zhukov At India's National Day Aka Zhukov – India (1957)" via YouTube.
  20. Deepak, B. R (1 January 2005). India & China, 1904–2004: A century of peace and conflict. ISBN 9788178271125.
  21. "In India, they have been celebrating Republic Day. After the parade..."
  22. British Pathé (13 April 2014). "Duke Popular Everywhere (1959)" via YouTube.
  23. Prasad, Rajendra (1984). Dr. Rajendra Prasad: Correspondence and Select Documents. ISBN 9788170230021.
  24. "Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru, News Photo, Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth be". 26 January 1961. Retrieved 24 January 2014.
  25. Indian Information. 1962.
  26. British Pathé (13 April 2014). "Republic Celebration (1964)" via YouTube.
  27. "visit to New Delhi of Mr Kosygin on the occasion of Republic Day – Google zoeken". 2 November 2013. Retrieved 24 January 2014.
  28. "Asian Recorder". 1969. Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  29. Link: Indian Newsmagazine. 25 July 1970.
  30. "India". 1971. Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  31. "Foreign Affairs Record". 1972. Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  32. Reed, Sir Stanley (1974). "The Times of India Directory and Year Book Including Who's who". Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  33. "Indian and Foreign Review". 1973. Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  34. Lok Sabha (1975). "Lok Sabha Debates". Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  36. "The Eastern Economist". 1977. Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  37. "Patrick J. Hillery". Retrieved 24 January 2014.
  38. "Bilateral Visits". Retrieved 24 January 2014.
  39. "MEA | MEA Links : Indian Missions Abroad". 23 September 2013. Retrieved 24 January 2014.
  40. "MEA | MEA Links : Indian Missions Abroad". 23 September 2013. Retrieved 24 January 2014.
  41. "MEA | MEA Links : Indian Missions Abroad". 23 September 2013. Retrieved 24 January 2014.
  42. "MEA | MEA Links : Indian Missions Abroad". 23 September 2013. Retrieved 24 January 2014.
  43. "India Argentina Relations" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 26 November 2010. Retrieved 24 January 2014.
  44. "Annual Report 2000–2001" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 21 December 2010. Retrieved 24 January 2014.
  45. "". Retrieved 24 January 2014.
  46. "". Retrieved 24 January 2014.
  47. "". Retrieved 24 January 2014.
  48. "Choosing R-Day chief guest: Behind the warm welcome, a cold strategy". Indian Express. 25 January 2010. Retrieved 24 January 2014.
  49. "General South African History timeline" Accessed on 13 June 2008.
  50. "Choosing R-Day chief guest: Behind the warm welcome, a cold strategy". Indian Express. 25 January 2010. Retrieved 24 January 2014.
  51. "Indonesian President next R-Day parade chief guest – India News". Retrieved 24 January 2014.
  52. "Indonesian President next R-Day parade chief guest – India News". Retrieved 25 January 2012.
  53. New Delhi, 2 Dec (IANS) (20 January 2012). "Thai PM to be chief guest on India's Republic Day". Deccan Herald. Retrieved 25 January 2012.
  54. "India invites King of Bhutan as chief guest at Republic Day celebrations". 26 January 2013. Retrieved 24 January 2014.
  55. "India likely to Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe as Republic Day chief guest : India, News – India Today". Retrieved 24 January 2014.
  56. "Obama in India joins Modi at Delhi Republic Day parade". 26 January 2015 via
  57. "French President Hollande invited as Republic Day guest". 22 November 2015.
  58. "Abu Dhabi Crown Prince to be chief guest on Republic Day".
  59. "India to invite heads of 10 Asean nations for Republic Day celebrations – Times of India".
  60. "South Africa President Cyril Ramaphosa accepts PM Modi's invite, to be 2019 Republic Day chief guest". 1 December 2018.
  61. "Foreign Secretary Vijay Gokhale: PM had a number of bilateral engagements this morning.Argentina PM is keen to make a visit to India in 2019. PM extended South Africa Pres Cyril Ramaphosa invitation to be chief guest for India's Republic Day in 2019& Ramaphosa". 1 December 2018.
  62. "Danish Premier to Visit India" (4 January 1962). The Times of India
  63. Pranay Gupte (15 February 2012). "Mother India: A Political Biography of Indira Gandhi". Retrieved 1 August 2018.
  64. "Asian Recorder". 25 July 1967 via Google Books.
  65. "Asian Almanac". V.T. Sambandan. 25 July 1967 via Google Books.
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