Prime Minister Narendra Modi led the nation in paying homage to the brave soldiers who sacrificed their lives for the country at the National War Memorial in New Delhi on Friday. The solemn ceremony marked the 75th Republic Day, a day that celebrates the adoption of the Constitution of India in 1950.
National War Memorial: A Tribute to the Martyrs
The National War Memorial, inaugurated by Modi in 2019, is a sprawling complex that commemorates the valour and sacrifice of over 26,000 soldiers who laid down their lives in various conflicts since Independence. The memorial features four concentric circles – Amar Chakra, Veerta Chakra, Tyag Chakra, and Rakshak Chakra – with names of the martyrs inscribed in golden letters on granite tablets. It also has a central obelisk, an eternal flame, and six bronze murals depicting famous battles fought by the Indian Armed Forces.
The memorial is located in the India Gate complex, which was originally built as a war memorial by the British to honor the Indian soldiers who died in World War I and the Afghan Wars. The memorial also incorporates the Amar Jawan Jyoti, a symbol of the immortal soldier, which was lit by then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi in 1972 after the India-Pakistan War of 1971. The flame of the Amar Jawan Jyoti was merged with the flame of the National War Memorial in 2022, creating a unified memorial for all the fallen heroes of the nation.
Republic Day Celebrations: A Display of Cultural and Military Prowess
After paying tributes at the National War Memorial, Prime Minister Modi proceeded to the Rajpath, where he was received by President Droupadi Murmu and French President Emmanuel Macron, the chief guest of the Republic Day celebrations. The three leaders then witnessed the grand parade, which showcased the cultural and military prowess of the country.
The parade featured various contingents of the Army, Navy, Air Force, paramilitary forces, police, and NCC cadets, as well as tableaux from different states, union territories, and ministries. The parade also displayed some of the latest and indigenously developed weapons and equipment of the Indian Armed Forces, such as the BrahMos missile system, the Arjun main battle tank, the Tejas light combat aircraft, and the Rudra attack helicopter.
The parade was followed by a cultural program, which included performances by folk artists, school children, and the armed forces bands. The program also featured a flypast by the Indian Air Force, which included the Rafale fighter jets, the Surya Kiran aerobatic team, and the Akash Ganga skydiving team. The program culminated with the release of tricolour balloons in the air, symbolizing the spirit of unity and diversity of the country.
Republic Day Significance: A Reminder of the Constitutional Values
The Republic Day is celebrated every year on January 26, as it was on this day in 1950 that the Constitution of India came into effect, replacing the Government of India Act of 1935 as the governing document of the country. The Constitution, drafted by a constituent assembly chaired by Dr. B.R. Ambedkar, is the longest written constitution in the world, and embodies the principles of democracy, secularism, socialism, and justice.
The Republic Day is also an occasion to remember and honour the freedom fighters and the leaders of the Indian National Movement, who fought against the colonial rule and paved the way for the independence of the country. The Republic Day also reaffirms the commitment of the people and the government to uphold the constitutional values and the sovereignty and integrity of the nation.