India celebrates Republic Day on January 26, 2017, Thursday commemorating the 68th anniversary of our constitution’s existence. The celebrations this year saw UAE’s crown prince Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan witnessing the march past on Rajpath in the national capital along with Prime Minister Narendra Modi and President Pranab Mukherjee. The traditional march continued as it does every year showing the world a glimpse of India’s cultural diversity and its armed prowess.
But to understand the significance of this day for the country, we need to move past the march and take a peek into history.
Importance of ‘Republic’
Republic has its roots from ‘Res respublica’, a Latin word standing for ‘A state in which supreme power is held by the people and their elected representatives, and which has an elected or nominated president rather than a monarch’. This makes India the largest sovereign nation in the world, with respect to its population. A republican system is where the people become the true rules of the state by electing representatives to take control of the state through direct voting, a system that India has in place; from Panchayat to the Parliament.
History of Republic India
India won its independence from the British after nearly 2 centuries of subjugation on August 15, 1947. But the victory, although highly significant in its symbolism would have been baseless had we kept on following the archaic British constitution to rule our state. Hence, despite achieving Independence, India was ruling its people on the basis of British policies written to subjugate the countrymen. And therein, arrived the necessity of a constitution, independent in the true sense.
Following a series of meetings between political leaders, a drafting committee was set up under the leadership of Dr Bhim Rao Ambedkar, who later went to be known as the chief architect of the Constitution. The first draft of the constitution had been submitted to the Assembly in November 1947 but a few amendments and two years later, on January 26, 1950, the process was completed when the Constituent Assembly adopted the Constitution.
Some rare facts about constitution:
The constitution was originally handwritten by Prem Behari Narain Raizada with the beautiful of his skills as a calligrapher. Each page of the Indian constitution was decorated by the artists from Shantiniketan. A total number of 283 members of the constituent assembly signed the constitution. The Indian Constitution is the longest constitution in the world because of its handwritten uniqueness with 25 parts containing 448 articles and 12 schedules. On the day of the signing of the constitution, the weather deemed it fit to rain heavily outside the parliament, something which was taken as a good omen by the assembly members. The original copies of the Constitution are still preserved in helium-filled cases in the Library of Parliament House.