An impressive display of India’s military prowess and cultural diversity, as well as many firsts, marked the 73rd Republic Day celebrations at the Rajpath on Wednesday (January 26).
The celebrations this year are as part of the government ‘Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav’ observed to mark the 75th anniversary of India’s Independence.
In adherence to COVID protocols, only 5,000 fully vaccinated people including adults and children above 15 years were allowed to attend the celebrations at Rajpath.
In a first, the Republic Day parade saw Swacchagrah, frontline workers, auto rickshaw drivers, construction workers and labourers being invited as special guests. Among the special guests were those who made exemplary contribution towards the society during the time of COVID like the auto rickshaw drivers who help one commute every day, construction workers of Republic Day arena who help enjoy the serenity at Rajpath and also the labourers who prepared the majestic tableaus to make the Republic day parade a grand event. Hundread “safaimitras” of New Delhi Municipal Council (NDMC) were also among the special invitees to watch Republic Day parade.
Ahead of the celebrations, Prime Minister Narendra Modi paid homage to martyrs at the National War memorial dedicated to India’s soldiers.
The parade, led by Lieutenant General Vijay Kumar Mishra, began at 10.30 am after President Ram Nath Kovind unfurled the tricolour to the accompaniment of the 21-gun salute. The recipients of Param Vir Chakra and Ashok Chakra, the country’s highest gallantry awards led the contingent in saluting the President, the commander of the armed forces.
The parade captured the evolution of Indian Army uniforms and rifles over the decades with soldiers of the three army contingents wearing uniforms and rifles from the earlier decades.
The Ashok Chakra, India’s highest peacetime gallantry award was posthumously awarded to assistant sub inspector Babu Ram, who died fighting terrorists.
The display by the armed forces was followed by the tableaux by states.
#RepublicDayParade | Depicting ‘Punjab’s contribution in freedom struggle’, the tableau of the state depicts Bhagat Singh, Rajguru & Sukhdev. It also depicts protest against the Simon Commission led by Lala Lajpat Rai and Udham Singh shooting Michael O’Dwyer.#RepublicDayIndia pic.twitter.com/xNy8Xs9J3B
— ANI (@ANI) January 26, 2022
This year’s parade saw the “grandest and largest” flypast ever with the participation of 75 aircraft to mark the celebrations. The
flypast concluded with 17 Jaguar fighter aircraft flying in the Amrit formation to commemorate the 75 years of Independence.
(Source: Ministry of Defence) pic.twitter.com/caNQTnNHoK
— ANI (@ANI) January 26, 2022
This year the viewers could also see the cockpit of the aircraft on the screens at the parade venue as well as during the broadcast. The flypast included Tangail formation which saw one Dakota and two Dornier flying in Vic formation. This was a tribute to the Tangail airdrop operations of the 1971 War. There was also a Meghna formation of 1 Chinook and four Mi-17s.
The flypast began with the Dhwaj formation with four Mi-17 aircraft, followed by Rudra and Rahat formations with four and five Advanced Light Helicopters (ALH), respectively. Among the other aircraft that displayed their might at the parade are Rafale, Indian Navy’s MiG29K, P-8I surveillance aircraft and Jaguar fighter jets.
(With inputs from agencies)