#WhatTheFAQ: 74th Republic Day is here. How is it different this time, what's the theme?

For the first time, tanks, weaponry and soldiers marched down the ceremonial boulevard Kartavya Path in New Delhi, which was previously known as Rajpath
Pic credits: Edex Live
Pic credits: Edex Live

Today, January 26, marks the 74th Republic Day of India. This day is very proudly celebrated by the citizens of India as they host the India Flag and perform various cultural acts, recall the contributions of our national heroes and so on. From fancy dress competitions, group singing, group dance, essay-writing, elocution, paintings and a lot more, every educational institution indulges in various activities. Besides this, every year, millions of Indians witness the rich tradition, cultural heritage, spectacle of the nation's progress and achievements and airshows by the Indian Army, Indian Navy and Indian Air Force on television. 

To recollect the history and significance this day holds, Republic Day commemorates the adoption of the Constitution of India on January 26, 1950. Although India gained independence from the British Raj in 1947, it wasn't until January 26, 1950, that the Constitution of India came into effect, and the country became a sovereign state, a republic. 

Annually, the President of India unfurls the National Flag at the National Capital, New Delhi. This is followed by military and cultural pageantry, distribution of Padma Awards to the deserving civilians of the country and Paramvir Chakra, Ashok Chakra and Vir Chakra to brave soldiers. 

This year, President Droupadi Murmu unfurled the National Flag. Apart from this, how are this year's annual celebrations different? What else is the new addition? What The FAQ is here to disclose all details. 

What is the theme for R-Day 2023?

The theme is ‘Jan-Bhagidari (participation of people)'. As India celebrated 75 years of independence in 2022 as Azadi ka Amrit Mahotsav, the celebrations this year witnessed zeal, enthusiasm and patriotic fervour. Prime Minister Narendra Modi while greeting the nation said, “This Republic Day is special because we are celebrating it during the Amrit Mahotsav of Independence.”

Additionally, workers of the Central Vista redevelopment project and Kartavya Path are among the special invitees to Republic Day celebrations. A senior Defence Ministry official said that a special effort has been made to accommodate the people who never get a chance to see the Republic Day celebrations. This year again people from all walks of life have been invited to the Republic Day celebrations at Kartavya Path.

As many as 1,000 special invitees including workers of the Central Vista project, maintenance workers of Kartavya Path, vegetable vendors, rickshaw pullers, small grocery shop owners, milk booth workers and eight teams of school band competition finalists. Also, as per reports online, people from tribal communities, divyangjans, Veer Gatha winners, Egyptian and Japanese delegations, participants of the Interpol Young Global Police Leaders Programme, children from Delhi government schools and others are also invited to the Republic Day Parade.

Who is the chief guest?

This year, Egyptian President Abdel Fattah Al Sisi is the chief guest for Republic Day. To note this is the first time that any Egyptian president has been invited as a chief guest for Republic Day. Sisi is a retired military officer who served as the commander-in-chief of the Egyptian army till his incumbent as president in 2014, as stated in a report by Hindustan Times.

Additionally, Egypt is among the nine countries invited to the G20 Summit under India’s presidency in 2023. Both India and Egypt are celebrating the 75th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations this year.

How is it different this year? 

1. This is the first time that tanks, weaponry and soldiers marched down the ceremonial boulevard recently renamed Kartavya Path in New Delhi, which was previously known as Rajpath

2. It was the first time that the 21-gun salute to the President of India and the National Flag was given using indigenous-built 105-mm Indian Field Guns (IFG) as opposed to the previously used Army’s British-era 25-pounder guns. 

What is this 21-gun salute? It commences when the sword of the Commandant of President’s Body Guards (PBG) comes down at the shout of Rashtriya Salute for the President and the National Flag during the Republic Day parade and is carried out while the National Anthem is playing. The 21-gun salute is conducted by a specifically-designed cartridge or a blank round which is used to create the sound of firing as opposed to actual shells being fired, as stated in a report by WION.

3. Marching down the Kartavya Path for the first time was the combined Band and Marching contingent of the Egyptian Armed Forces, led by colonel Mahmoud Mohamed Abdel Fattah El Kharasawy. The contingent consisted of 144 soldiers, representing the main branches of the Egyptian Armed Forces, Hindustan Times reported. 

What about the R-Day parade?

The parade, which started at 10.30 am, has been a unique mix of the country's military prowess and cultural diversity, depicting the nation's growing indigenous capabilities, Nari Shakti and the emergence of a 'New India'. 

About 23 tableaux – 17 from states and union territories, and six from various ministries and departments, were a part of the grand parade. Additionally, as many as 503 dancers, showcasing the theme of Nari Shakti, put up a jubilant cultural show during the parade.

What are the other new events?

As the year has seen the celebration of 75 years of India's Independence, various programmes were scheduled as a part of Azadi ka Amrit Mahotsav. And for Republic Day, the celebrations started on January 23. Here are a few events which are planned as a part of the annual celebrations: 

Military Tattoo and Tribal Dance Festival: A two-day Military Tattoo and Tribal Dance Festival was organised to mark the 74th Republic Day and 126th birth anniversary of Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose at New Delhi's Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium on January 23 and 24. This saw the Indian Army showcase its prowess through horse show, hot air balloon, air warrior drill, motorcycle display and navy band. Traditional dance performances including Gatka, Kalaripayattu, Mallakhamb, Thangta and Khukuri Dance were performed by tribal artists from across the country.

Beating Retreat: The Beating Retreat ceremony is going to be held on January 29 at Vijay Chowk. This time, a 3D anamorphic projection will be displayed on the facades of the North Block and South Block.

Drone Show: A spectacular drone show is also scheduled for the day where 3,500 indigenous drones will illuminate the evening sky over Raisina Hill. This will also be India's largest drone display ever. 

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