How tableaux for Republic Day parade are designed and chosen

The Defense Ministry every year around September, invites States and Union Territories, Central government departments etc to apply for participating in the Republic Day parade in January next year.

While choosing a theme for their tableau, the states need to showcase elements of their state

The central government recently rejected West Bengal’s tableau for the Republic Day parade causing much uproar in Bengal. Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee also expressed her profound shock at the decision of rejecting the tableau prepared to commemorate 125th birth anniversary of Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose and INA without assigning any reason or justification.

Even Kerala’s tableau featuring Sree Narayan Guru was also rejected. Before the government announces publicly the final selected tableaux for the parade from 12 states and Union Territories and nine Central Government departments and independent institutions, and the political row over rejecting and accepting state tableau continues here is how tableaux are designed and chosen by an expert committee of the Defense Ministry.

When does the selection process for tableaux start and who can participate?

The Defense Ministry every year around September, invites States and Union Territories, Central government departments etc to apply for participating in the Republic Day parade in January next year. The letter to the Union Ministries, Niti Aayog, Election Commission apart from states and UTs sent on September 16 this year mentioned ‘process of inviting tableau proposals for participation.”

The shortlisting of the proposals started on September 27.

What the states and central government departments can depict through their tableaux

While choosing a theme for their tableau, the states need to showcase elements of their state. A common theme given to them this year was 75 years of India’s Independence which could include freedom struggle, achievements, actions and resolve.

The guidelines stated that the young qualified designers from renowned institutions should be involved in designing the tableau that would have a bright display of images, 3D printing, moving elements using robotics, use of augmented reality and special effects to improve optics and visual effects of tableau. Two different states cannot showcase similar tableaux.

The tableaux should not have any writing like logos except for the name of the state. Eco-friendly materials should be used for designing the tableaux.

How are tableaux selected

The expert committee of the Defense Ministry consists of distinguished persons from fields of art and culture music, painting, architecture, choreography etc. The committee first scrutinizes the submitted sketches of the proposals. The sketches need to be simple, colourful and self-explanatory. The states should refrain from asking a firm to design their tableaux if they are creating another states or institutions tableaux.

Any dance included in the tableaux should be a folk dance performed with traditional consumed and musical instruments. The proposal should include a video clipping of the performance. Next the participants should also include a three-dimensional model for their proposals.

The committee takes care of a combination of factors, impact on the masses, degree of detail involved, visual appeal and accompanying music among others while making the decision. Those shortlisted are informed about the next round. Moreover, the shortlisted ones that were revisited following terms of the final approved version get to parade at Rajpath on R-Day.

Do the tableaux have to be of a particular size?

Every state is provided with one tractor and trailer and the tableaux should fit on that . Use of additional tractors or trailers or other vehicles is prohibited. The state can replace the tractor-trailer provided by the Defense Ministry with their own vehicle but should not be more than two.

The ministry sets out a distance of six feet between tractor and trailer for maneuvering and turning of the tableaux. The trailer provided is 24 feet, 8 inches long, eight feet wide and four feet high. The trailer can carry a load upto 10 tonnes. Hence the tableaux needs to be not more that 16 feet high, 45 feet long and 14 feet wide.

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