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Vasu Reddy from Chicago
India has two major days’ that celebrate its democracy with its Independence from the British on August 15th of each year and it’s Republic Day on the January 26th. Looking at why we have two holidays, and celebration of Independence Day having a clear definition, I felt appropriate to recap what information I could find to point out the significance of India’s Republic Day.
India became a Republic and the constitution came into force on January 26, 1950. The Constituent Assembly was convened and appointed a committee with Dr. B. R. Ambedkar as Chairman to draft the Constitution. India declared herself to be a Sovereign Democratic Republic. The Indian Constitution, the longest in the world, consist 397 articles and 12 schedules, which provides for a single citizenship for the whole of India.
It gives the
right to vote to all citizens of 18 years and above, unless they are
disqualified. Fundamental rights are guaranteed to the citizens, equality of
religion and so on. The Supreme Court, consisting of the Chief Justice of India
and other judges, is the guardian of the Constitution. It stands at the apex of
a single integrated judicial system for the whole country. This is where the
fundamental rights of the citizens are protected.
· Justice, social, economic and political
· Liberty of thought, expression, belief, faith and worship
· Equality of status and of opportunity and to promote among them all
· Fraternity assuring the dignity of the individual and the unity and integrity of the nation
About Republic Day
26th January 1950 is one of the most important days in Indian history as it was on this day the constitution of India came into force and India became a truly sovereign state. In this day India became a totally republican unit. The country finally realized the dream of Mahatma Gandhi and the numerous freedom fighters who, fought for and sacrificed their lives for the Independence of their country. So, the 26th of January was decreed a national holiday and has been recognized and celebrated as the Republic Day of India, ever since.
Today, the Republic Day is celebrated with much enthusiasm all over the country and especially in the capital, New Delhi where the celebrations start with the Presidential to the nation. The beginning of the occasion is always a solemn reminder of the sacrifice of the martyrs who died for the country in the freedom movement and the succeeding wars for the defense of sovereignty of their country. Then, the President comes forward to award the medals of bravery to the people from the armed forces for their exceptional courage in the field and also the civilians, who have distinguished themselves by their different acts of valor in different situations.
To mark the importance of this occasion, every year a grand parade is held in the capital, from the Rajghat, along the Vijaypath. The different regiments of the army, the Navy and the Air force march past in all their finery and official decorations even the horses of the cavalry are attractively caparisoned to suit the occasion. The crème of N.C.C cadets, selected from all over the country consider it an honor to participate in this event, as do the school children from various schools in the capital. They spend many days preparing for the event and no expense is spared to see that every detail is taken care of, from their practice for the drills, the essential props and their uniforms.
The parade is followed by a pageant of spectacular displays from the different states of the country. These moving exhibits depict scenes of activities of people in those states and the music and songs of that particular state accompany each display. Each display brings out the diversity and richness of the culture of India and the whole show lends a festive air to the occasion. The parade and the ensuing pageantry is telecast by the National Television and is watched by millions of viewers in every corner of the country.
The patriotic fervor of the people on this day brings the whole country together even in her essential diversity. Every part of the country is represented in occasion, which makes the Republic Day the most popular of all the national holidays of India.
Constitution of India
The Constitution of India, the world's lengthiest written constitution (with 395 articles and 8 schedules) was passed by the Constituent Assembly on November 26, 1949. It has been in effect since January 26, 1950.
The constitution of India draws extensively from Western legal traditions in its outline of the principles of liberal democracy. It is distinguished from many Western constitutions, however, in its elaboration of principles reflecting the aspirations to end the inequities of traditional social relations and enhance the social welfare of the population. According to constitutional scholar Granville Austin, probably no other nation's constitution "has provided so much impetus toward changing and rebuilding society for the common good." Since its enactment, the constitution has fostered a steady concentration of power in the central government--especially the Office of the Prime Minister. This centralization has occurred in the face of the increasing assertiveness of an array of ethnic and caste groups across Indian society. Increasingly, the government has responded to the resulting tensions by resorting to the formidable array of authoritarian powers provided by the constitution.
Together with the public's perception of pervasive corruption among India's politicians, the state's centralization of authority and increasing resort to coercive power have eroded its legitimacy. However, a new assertiveness shown by the Supreme Court and the Election Commission suggests that the remaining checks and balances among the country's political institutions continue to support the resilience of Indian democracy. Also, regional parties are increasingly gaining popularity at the expense of national parties which has led to coalition governments at the centre. As a consequence, the power is getting more decentralised.
Adopted after some two and one-half years of deliberation by the Constituent Assembly that also acted as India's first legislature, the constitution was put into effect on January 26, 1950. Bhimrao Ramji Ambedkar, a Dalit who earned a law degree from Columbia University, chaired the drafting committee of the constitution and shepherded it through Constituent Assembly debates. Supporters of independent India's founding father, Mohandas K. Gandhi, backed measures that would form a decentralized polity with strong local administration — known as panchayat — in a system known as panchayati raj, that is rule by panchayats. However, the support of more modernist leaders, such as Jawaharlal Nehru, ultimately led to a parliamentary government and a federal system with a strong central government. Following a British parliamentary pattern, the constitution embodies the Fundamental Rights, which are similar to the United States Bill of Rights, and a Supreme Court similar to that of the United States. It creates a "sovereign democratic republic" called India, or Bhārat (after the legendary king of the Bharat, son of king Dushyant), which "shall be a Union of States." India is a federal system in which residual powers of legislation remain with the central government, similar to that in Canada. The constitution provides detailed lists dividing up powers between central and state governments as in Australia, and it elaborates a set of Directive Principles of State Policy as does the Irish constitution.
Schedules can be added to the constitution by amendment. The ten schedules in force cover the designations of the states and union territories; the emoluments for high-level officials; forms of oaths; allocation of the number of seats in the Rajya Sabha (Council of States--the upper house of Parliament) per state or territory; provisions for the administration and control of Scheduled Areas and Scheduled Tribes (tribes and areas needing special protection due to disadvantageous conditions); provisions for the administration of tribal areas in Assam; the union (meaning central government), state, and concurrent (dual) lists of responsibilities; the official languages; land and tenure reforms; and the association of Sikkim with India.
A review of the constitution is taken very seriously, and needs at least two-thirds of the Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha to pass it. The Indian constitution is also one of the most frequently amended constitutions in the world. The first amendment came only a year after the adoption of the constitution and instituted numerous minor changes. Many more amendments followed, a rate of almost two amendments per year since 1950. Most of the constitution can be amended after a quorum of more than half of the members of each house in Parliament passes an amendment with a two-thirds majority vote. Articles pertaining to the distribution of legislative authority between the central and state governments must also be approved by 50 percent of the state legislatures.
Preamble to Indian Constitution
WE, THE PEOPLE OF INDIA, having solemnly resolved to constitute India into a SOVEREIGN SOCIALIST SECULAR DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC and to secure to all its citizens:
JUSTICE, social, economic and political;
LIBERTY of thought, expression, belief, faith and worship;
EQUALITY of status and of opportunity;
and to promote among them all
FRATERNITY assuring the dignity of the individual and the unity and integrity of the Nation;
IN OUR CONSTITUENT ASSEMBLY this twenty-sixth day of November, 1949, do HEREBY ADOPT, ENACT AND GIVE TO OURSELVES THIS CONSTITUTION.
My Continued Wishes for My Motherland
Let our great nation be self sufficient and independent forever. Let our nation be democratic and secular forever. Let our nation relive its gloried past, while creating a future of prosperity and peace for all it’s people. Let our great nation be tolerant of all and free at will. Jai Hind.
Research on Republic Day and Indian Constitution is from the Internet.
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