Published: 19th January 2022
What The FAQ: Tableaux trivia and controversy, changes and all you need to know about Republic Day 2022
Soon, Republic Day 2022 celebrations will be underway and before we plunge into it, here's what is creating all the right, and the wrong, noise about the day
It's almost that time of the year again when the patriotic fervour might just set your heart fluttering — January 26, which is Republic Day of India, is around the corner. But, controversy seems to have preceded this year's national celebrations and made a few hearts bitter too.
So, what's the big deal about the procession that marches down New Delhi's Rajpath and what is the whole process behind the selection of tableaux for these processions? Let's find out
So, first of all, what happens on January 26?
January 26 is the celebration of the fact that the Constitution of India came into force on this day many years ago. Apart from the unfurling of the Tricolour flag at New Delhi's Rajpath, a foreign dignitary is invited as the chief guest. The Republic Day parade is conducted and the main attraction is the display of tableaux (a display of state, union territories or ministries culture, achievements or whatever they chose).
READ ALSO : What the FAQ: The flag hoisted by protesting farmers was NOT a Khalistan flag. What is its significance?
When does the process of selecting the tableaux begin and by whom is it done?
It was on September 16, 2021, that the centre sent out letters to all states, union territories and 80 union ministries, inviting them to propose their ideas for Republic Day 2022 tableaux. Under the Ministry of Defence, an expert committee comprising of experts from fields like art, sculpture, music and so on, is constituted to make the selection.
What's the process of selection?
There are many stages of evaluation and it all begins with scrutiny of the design. Once these are approved and suggestions, if any, are incorporated, three-dimensional models of the designs are to be presented to the committee and only after this, the tableaux are selected. The selection process usually takes six to seven rounds.
Were there any specific guidelines issued with regards to the tableaux?
- In view of the 75th year of Independence, the themes allotted were India @75 - Freedom Struggle, Ideas @ 75, Actions @ 75, and Resolve @ 75
- Electronic display walls and using special effects for better visual appeal
- Using mechatronics or robotics, LED lights, using augmented reality/virtual reality was encouraged
- Engaging qualified and young designers for the whole process and keeping it eco-friendly
Why have controversies erupted this year?
To be fair, every year regional politics play out when it comes to the selection of Tableau. This year, Tamil Nadu's tableaux was rejected. Regarding the same TN's Chief Minister MK Stalin sought the Prime Minister's intervention and that's when Defence minister Rajnath Singh wrote to him about how the tableaux couldn't make it to the top 12. Now, the CM says that the rejected tableaux will be displayed at the Republic Day parade in Chennai and will be taken across the state. Founder-President of political party Puthiya Tamilagam K Krishnasamy has implored the state government to reveal what the theme of the rejected tableaux was.
Even West Bengal's CM Mamata Banerjee sought the intervention of the PM and Singh wrote a separate letter to her as well. Banerjee stated that the rejection of their tableaux, which featured icons like Subhas Chandra Bose on the occasion of his 125th birth anniversary and a few others, would cause "pain" to the people of West Bengal.
Also, Kerala protested that its tableaux featuring social reformer and anti-caste crusader Sree Narayana Guru was rejected. Allegedly, the centre suggested that the statue of Adi Shankara's statue be depicted instead, which was, respectfully, not acceptable to the state.
Despite all the protests, senior officials of the Defence Ministry have made it clear that their tableaux won't be reconsidered.
What else can we expect from Republic Day this time?
First of all, the celebrations will be held at a new-looking part of Central Vista, with new British-style chairs, lights and pathways. Plus, there will be no chief guest this time. The celebrations will begin on January 23, which is the birth anniversary of Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose, as opposed to January 24 because this is the 125th year of Netaji's anniversary celebrations.
The National Gallery of Modern Art will display 750-metre-long scrolls depicting the freedom struggle, IIT Delhi will showcase 1,000 drones plus, the celebrations will begin at 10.30 am as opposed to 10 am so that visibility will improve during the flypast. Apart from all this, as many as 75 military aircraft and 600 specially selected performers will be a part of the celebrations along with 12 tableaux of states, union territories as well as ministries.