by Aruna Kamath
The spirit of patriotism was instilled in me when I was a kid of 4 years. Every year on 26th January, I would wake up early and run to the maidaan (playground) near our house for the flag hoisting function. The ceremony would start at 7 am sharp. As the flag was released and hoisted slowly, I would wait with bated breath for it to reach the top and unfurl. As soon as it reached the top, it would open up and a shower of petals would fall and the gathering would sing the national anthem in chorus – albeit in various pitches. As the flag fluttered grandly, my heart would swell with pride.
We all know that 26th January is one of the most important dates in the history of our nation. It was the day the Indian constitution came into force and our country declared as an independent republic. But do you know that the Republic Day has a lot more to this?
Today, on India’s 67th Republic Day, as I relive my childhood memories, I would like to share some interesting and little known facts about this historic day which our History lessons didn’t tell us about. Do read them and pass it on to your children.
1. Why 26th January?
In 1930, freedom fighters of India declared January 26 as Purna Swaraj Day, and therefore, this date was selected as the Republic Day.
2. Longest constitution in the world
India boasts of having the longest constitution in the world with presently 448 articles in 25 parts. In comparison, the American Constitution is the shortest in the world.
3. A Herculean task
The Constituent Assembly took close to three years – two years, eleven months and seventeen days to be precise – to draft the Indian Constitution after the Drafting Committee submitted it to them.
4. Calligraphed constitution
The entire constitution is hand-written/calligraphed and not printed. There are just two original copies in the country written in Hindi and English which have been preserved in helium-filled cases in the Parliament of India.
5. Honouring the Father of our Nation
Every year, the Christian hymn “Abide with Me” is played during the R-Day celebrations, as it was Mahatma Gandhi’s favourite song.
6. Even the rain Gods were impressed!
It was raining outside the Parliament on the day the Constitution was signed, and it was considered a good omen by the people who signed it.
7. A 3-day affair
Republic day celebrations last fir three days concluding with the Beating Retreat ceremony on January 29 which marks the end of the celebrations. This is a military ceremony dating back to 16th century in England.
8. A matter of pride!
With only 100 amendments till date, our constitution has been hailed as one of the best in the world! Isnt that something to boast about?
Happy Republic Day and Jai Hind!