Republic Day, 26th January 2018: History and Significance of This Important Day

Republic Day, 26th January 2018

Republic Day, 26th January 2018: History and significance of this important day




“Long years ago we made a tryst with destiny, and now the time comes when we shall redeem our pledge, not wholly or in full measure, but very substantially. At the stroke of the midnight hour, when the world sleeps, India will awake to life and freedom”

 With his famous ‘Tryst with Destiny’ speech, which Pt. Jawaharlal Nehru delivered to the Indian Constituent Assembly on the eve of India’s Independence, the first Prime Minister of the independent country welcomed the freedom that every Indian had earned after a long struggle of independence. Sadly, with freedom did not come democracy. India was still a constitutional monarchy under King George VI. We still did not have the rights to elect our leaders to run the country since we still did not have a Constitution.
However, almost two and a half years later after gaining independence, the Constitution of India came into effect on 26th January, 1950, making India one of the most populous democracies of the world; on this day India ceased to be a constitutional monarchy and became the Republic of India. To honour this historic day, we celebrate 26th January as Republic Day every year.
History

India gained independence through the historic Indian Independence Act of 1947, an Act of the Parliament of the United Kingdom that divided British India into two dominions. On 15th August 1947, India became independent but it was still a constitutional monarchy with King George VI as the head and Earl Mountbatten as the Governor General. The country did not have it’s own constitution and laws that ruled the land were still based on the colonial Government of India Act of 1935It was then that the importance of having an Constitution became very evident, following which the Drafting Committee, with Dr B R Ambedkar as a chairman, was appointed with the objective to draft a permanent constitution. Dr Ambedkar, who had once famously said that “If I find the constitution being misused, I shall be the first to burn it,” was not only a great leader but also an inspiration for everyone. The committee then worked tirelessly for months and on 4th November 1947, they submitted the first draft of the Constitution to the Assembly, which took over two years (precisely 2 years, 11 months and 18 days) to finally adopt the Constitution.



If you have ever wondered why January 26 was the chosen day to bring the Constitution into force, there is an interesting reason behind it. During the Lahore Session of the INC (Indian National Congress) in 1929, it was for the first time in the history of the Indian Struggle of Independence that the demand for complete independence was made. Following this, 26th January 1930 was declared as Purna Swaraj Diwas (meaning Independence Day). So when the Assembly was finalising the day on which the Constitution should come into effect, 26th January was the preferred choice to honour the wish of the freedom fighters who were the first to demand complete independence.

Significance

It is the day when monarchy was demolished from the country. On 26th January 1950, India was declared a sovereign, socialist, secular, democratic republic and the Constitution assured the citizens of India justice, equality and liberty.

In the words of Bhagat Singh, “The sanctity of law can be maintained only so as long as it is the expression of the will of the people”. When the Constitution came into effect from 26th January 1950, people were assured that could enjoy their ‘Fundamental Rights’ and had freedom of speech; it was the freedom in real sense as people could express their will and enjoyed equal law.

 “January 26 plays a significant role in the lives of every Indian citizen. This day gave us the power to elect our own representatives to run the democracy. We were freed from the trailing clutches of the British rule,” said Bhargav Prasad, a teacher.
While we celebrate Republic day with grandeur, we should also remember the struggle of the freedom fighters who had made this day possible. Like Lal Bahadur Shastri had once said. “We believe in peace and peaceful development, not only for ourselves but for people all over the world,” we should not stop working for the development of the Republic of India.
A nation is what its people wants it to be. We should be grateful that our forefathers struggled hard and sacrificed their lives to earn independence. Today India is counted as one of the biggest republic countries, and this has been made possible because many decades back our leaders spent sleepless nights to draft and adopt a Constitution. It is now our duty to take it forward and work towards making India a bigger and better county.



Source – Times of India

News Reporter