Preparations are in full swing for the upcoming 71st Republic Day celebrations this year. It is observed to mark the day when Constitution of India officially came into force on 26th January 1950. AIR correspondent takes a look at the evolution of Republic Day parade over the years.
The parade at Rajpath on 26th January is the main attraction of the Republic Day celebrations. The first Republic Day was celebrated on 1950 at Irwin Amphitheatre in Delhi which is currently known as Major Dhyan Chand National Stadium. In the following years, the parade was held at Kingsway, Red Fort and Ramleela Maidan. It was only in 1955 that Rajpath became the permanent venue for the parade.
Rajpath was known by the name ‘Kingsway’ at that time. In 1955, when the parade was held at Rajpath, the Governor-General of Pakistan Malik Ghulam Mohammad was invited as chief guest. ‘Beating Retreat’, the ceremony at Vijay Chowk on January 29 every year, marks the culmination of the Republic Day celebrations. It traces its origin to the early 1950s when Major Roberts of the Indian Army indigenously developed the unique ceremony of display by the massed bands. ‘Beating Retreat” marks a centuries-old military tradition, when the troops ceased fighting, and withdrew from battlefield at sunset at the sounding of the Retreat.