It’s Republic Day and a national holiday here. Everyone has the day off. Unusually that does mean everyone – including drivers, housekeepers, maids, cooks are all on holiday to celebrate. Republic Day is one of three national holidays in India, (the other two being Independence Day and Gandhi Jayanti) and all staff are on holiday to party with friends and family or to go and see the big parade in Bangalore city. There are sale discounts everywhere and TV heavily advertises special movies and programs starting on this day. It is a BIG deal here and rightly so – over 500,000 people died in the struggle for Indian Independence so it is only right and just they are remembered and celebrated.
The Constitution was adopted by the India Constituent Assembly on 26 November 1949, and came into effect on 26 January 1950 with a democratic government system, completing the country’s transition toward becoming an independent republic. A draft constitution was prepared and submitted to the Assembly on 4 November 1947. The Assembly met, in sessions open to public, for 166 days, spread over a period of nearly 3 years, before adopting the Constitution. After many deliberations and some modifications, the Assembly signed two hand-written copies of the document (one each in Hindi and English) on 24 January 1950. Two days later, it came into effect throughout the nation. 26 January was chosen as the Republic day because it was on this day in 1930 when the Declaration of Indian Independence (Purna Swaraj) was proclaimed by the Indian National Congress (as opposed to the Dominion status offered by the British Regime).
The main Republic Day celebration is held in 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. 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. In 1961 it was Queen Elizabeth II; 1993 Prime Minister John Major; 2015 President Barack Obama and in 2016 President Francois Hollande finally accepted (after 5 invitations!).
The TV is showing the film Gandhi with trailers voiced over with phrases such as “remembering the martyrs”.
We removed our Union Jacks from the front lawn out of respect.