Republic Day, 26th January 2018
“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”
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.
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.
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.