60 years back, a salute of 21 guns and the unfurling of the Indian National flag by Dr. Rajendra Prasad heralded the historic birth of the Indian Republic on January 26, 1950; 894 days after our country became a dominion following withdrawal of British Rule. Since then, every year the day is celebrated with great pride and happiness all over the nation.
The transition of India from a British colony to a sovereign, secular, and democratic nation was indeed historical. It was a long journey of around two decades that started with the conceptualisation of the dream in 1930 to its actual realization in 1950. A look into the journey that led to the birth of Indian Republic will make our celebrations more meaningful.
Lahore Session of the Indian National Congress
The seeds of a republican nation were sowed at the Lahore session of the Indian National Congress at the midnight of 31st December 1929. The session was held under the presidency of Pt. Jawarhar Lal Nehru. Those present in the meeting took a pledge to mark January 26 as “Independence Day” in order to march towards realizing the dream of complete independence from the British. The Lahore Session paved way to the Civil Disobedience movement. It was decided that January 26, 1930 would be observed as the Purna Swaraj (complete Independence) Day. Many Indian political parties and Indian revolutionaries from all over the country united to observe the day with honour and pride.
Indian Constituent Assembly Meetings
The Indian Constituent Assembly, which was constituted as a result of the negotiations between the Indian leaders and members of the British Cabinet Mission, had its first meeting on December 9, 1946. The Objective of the Assembly was to give India a constitution, which would serve a lasting purpose and hence appointed a number of committees to thoroughly research the various aspects of the proposed constitution. The recommendations were discussed, debated and revised many times before the Indian Constitution was finalized and officially adopted three years later on November 26, 1949.
Constitution came into force
Though India became a free nation on August 15, 1947, it enjoyed the true spirit of Independence on January 26, 1950 when the Constitution of India finally came into force. The Constitution gave the citizens of India the power to govern themselves by choosing their own government. Dr. Rajendra Prasad, took oath as the first President of India at the Durbar Hall in the Government House and this was followed by the Presidential drive along a five-mile route to the Irwin Stadium, where he unfurled the National Flag.
Ever since the historic day, January 26 is celebrated with festivities and patriotic fervor all around the country. The day owes its importance to the constitution of India that was adopted on this day. On this Republic Day, read what the great Constitution of India, that propounds liberal democracy, has in its store. Let’s also feel proud in pronouncing what the Preamble to our Constitution says.
Did you know?
With 395 Articles and eight Schedules, the Indian Constitution is the largest written constitution in the world.
Dr. Rajendra Prasad, the first President of Independent India, in his special message to his countrymen, on the birth of the Indian Republic, said:
“We must re-dedicate ourselves on this day to the peaceful but sure realization of the dream that had inspired the Father of our Nation and the other captains and soldiers of our freedom struggle, the dream of establishing a classless, co-operative, free and happy society in ‘his country’. We must remember that this is more a day of dedications than of rejoicing – dedication to the glorious task of making the peasants and workers the toilers and the thinkers fully free, happy and cultured.”
C. Rajagopalachari, His Excellency the Governor-General in a broadcast talk from the Delhi Station of All-India Radio on Jan 26, 1950 said:
“On the eve of my laying down office, with the inauguration of the Republic, I should like to tender my greetings and best wishes to the men and women of India who will henceforth be a citizen of a republic. I feel deeply thankful for the affection showered on me by all sections of the people, which alone enabled me to bear the burden of an office to the duties and conventions of which I had been an utter stranger.”