How India welcomed its first Republic Day

AS India celebrates its 72nd Republic Day, the Tricolour will be paraded at the Delhi’s Rajpath and will be followed by the display of the strength of India’s army and will include a flypast by fighter planes, a march by troops from the Armed Forces and a parade of cultural tableaus by various state and government departments.

It’s a tradition that began on the 26th of January 1950, when India was declared as a republic. The Indian constitution was adopted on the 26th of January. This article explains the way in which Indian’s very initial Republic Day unfolded on January 26th, 1950.

At 18:18 minutes past 10 in day of the Thursday January 26 1950 C. Rajagopalachari, the Governor-General in transition of the Dominion of India, declared India as a ‘Sovereign Democratic Republic and read the proclamation. “It is hereby proclaimed that from this, the twenty sixth day of January, 1950, India, that is Bharat, shall be a Sovereign Democratic Republic, and the Union and its component units, the States, shall exercise all powers and functions of government and administration in accordance with the provisions of the said Constitution.”


The government is sworn in

Six minutes after Six minutes later, six minutes later, Dr Rajendra Prasad was sworn in as the president of India by the Chief Judiciary of India Harilal Kania in the Durbar Hall of Government House (Later Rashtrapati Bhavan).

President Rajendra Prasad

Following the time that President India was inaugurated the flag of the Governor General was dispersed and the President’s banner was hoisted over the Rashtrapati Bhavan. It was the National Anthem followed this as 31 guns rang out, signalling the birth of the republic.

at 10.38 a.m. The Union Cabinet was sworn in by the President Rajendra Prasad – led by the Prime Secretary Jawahar Lal Nehru. Speaker of the House of the House, the chief justice of India and Judges of the Supreme Court and the Auditor General of India.

Tricolour hoisted

The President awarded three gallantry awards that were named as the Param Vir Chakra, the Maha Vir Chakra and the Vir Chakra for the Armed Forces. These awards were scheduled to be effective from August 15th in 1947.

After lunch, President took a drive to the Irwin Stadium (Dhyan Chand Stadium) in a lengthy procession . The principal guest of India’s inaugural Republic Day was Indonesian President Sukarno. Sukarno, along with the President of India were taken by a six-horse coach to the stadium, with crowds of thousands of people welcoming the two.

The ceremony of hoisting the flag was held at the stadium. The event’s host was India’s first defence minister , Baldev Singh. It was attended by the Union Cabinet, foreign dignitaries ambassadors, and around 15,000 people from the general public were also present in the stadium.

Awards and celebrations

The President also presented honorary awards for gallantry which included the most prestigious Param Vir Chakra awarded to Major Somnath Sharma and Lance Naik Karam Singh (both posthumously) for their courage and sacrifice during the conflict with Pakistan in 1948.

This was followed by an inspection of the troops during the parade. The most viewed attractions in the Republic Day parade, the camels in caparison of the Border Security Force (BSF) was part of the parade in 1950. It was the Indian Army was in charge of the camel contingent at the time. (From 1951 the parade was moved to Kingsway which was later called Rajpath).

At night, President held a banquet to commemorate the emergence of the republic. One of the guests was the Governor-General who resigned, Rajagopalachari.

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