A historic moment for India
President Droupadi Murmu unfurled the national flag at Kartavya Path on Friday, marking the 75th anniversary of India’s Republic Day. The event was attended by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh, Chief of Defence Staff General Bipin Rawat, and other dignitaries. The flag-hoisting ceremony was followed by the national anthem and a 21-gun salute, using the indigenous 105-mm Indian Field Guns.
Kartavya Path, which means the path of duty, is a newly constructed boulevard that connects the Rashtrapati Bhavan and the India Gate. It was inaugurated by President Murmu on January 15, 2024, as part of the celebrations of the 75th year of India’s independence. The boulevard showcases various cultural and historical aspects of India, such as the Constitution, the freedom struggle, the diversity, and the achievements of the nation.
A grand spectacle of culture and valour
The Republic Day celebrations continued with a mesmerizing band performance called “Aavaahan,” featuring over 100 talented women artists showcasing their skills on various percussion instruments, symbolizing the power of women, or ‘Nari Shakti.’ The performance was choreographed by renowned dancer and Padma Shri awardee Shovana Narayan.
Adding to the grandeur of the event, four Mi-17 IV helicopters from the 105 Helicopter Unit showered flower petals on the audience gathered at Kartavya Path. The helicopters also displayed the national flag and the flags of the three defence services.
The highlight of the event was the parade of the armed forces and the paramilitary forces, which displayed their strength and prowess. The parade included marching contingents, mechanized columns, and tableaux from various states and union territories, depicting their culture and development. The parade also featured some of the latest and indigenous defence equipment, such as the Arjun Main Battle Tank, the BrahMos missile system, the Akash air defence system, and the Advanced Light Helicopter.
The parade was followed by a spectacular flypast by the Indian Air Force, which showcased its aerial capabilities and formations. The flypast included fighter jets, transport aircraft, helicopters, and aerobatic teams. The finale of the flypast was the ‘Trishul’ formation, comprising three Rafale aircraft flying in a ‘Vic’ formation, leaving behind a trail of saffron, white and green smoke.
A message of unity and progress
President Murmu addressed the nation from the ramparts of the Red Fort, after the Republic Day celebrations at Kartavya Path. She congratulated the people of India on the occasion of the 75th Republic Day and paid tribute to the martyrs and freedom fighters who sacrificed their lives for the nation. She also lauded the efforts of the frontline workers, the scientists, and the citizens who fought against the Covid-19 pandemic and helped India emerge as a global leader in vaccine production and distribution.
President Murmu highlighted the achievements of the government in various fields, such as infrastructure, agriculture, education, health, digitalization, and social welfare. She also emphasized the importance of the constitutional values, the democratic principles, and the secular ethos of India. She urged the people to uphold the unity and diversity of the nation and to work together for the progress and prosperity of the country.
President Murmu also conveyed her greetings and best wishes to the friendly countries and the international community. She expressed India’s commitment to peace, stability, and cooperation in the region and the world. She also reiterated India’s support for the global efforts to combat climate change, terrorism, and other challenges.
President Murmu concluded her speech by quoting the famous lines of poet Ramdhari Singh Dinkar: “Singhasan hil uthey raajvanshon ney bhrukuti tani thi, budhey Bharat mein bhi aayee phir se nayi jawani thi” (The thrones of the dynasties trembled and their brows were furrowed, but in old India, there was a new youthfulness again).