Republic Day celebrations began on January 23, with the central government marking the birth anniversary of Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose. Prime Minister Narendra Modi unveiled a hologram statue of Bose at the India Gate in the national capital.
Governors and Lieutenant Governors have been asked to invite a more diverse set of guests for their At Home functions, apart from the usual protocol-based invitees. This could include achievers in different fields; those who made exemplary contributions to society, including during the time of Covid; eco-warriors; sanitation workers; next of kin of soldiers; Olympic participants; exceptional educators; frontline health workers; children bravery awardees; and women sarpanches, etc.
In another change, as the Prime Minister lays a wreath at the National War Memorial on the morning on January 26, cadets from the National Cadet Corps will visit and provide a “plaque of gratitude” to the next of kin of around 5,000 soldiers who made the supreme sacrifice for the nation, and have their names mentioned on the National War Memorial.
The Beating the Retreat ceremony on January 29 will have a few new elements. There will be a projection mapping show to commemorate 75 years of Independence, around 3 to 4 minutes long, showcased on the walls of North and South blocks before the end of the ceremony.
The government has dropped Abide With Me — Mahatma Gandhi’s favourite hymn. This used to be played at the end of the ceremony on January 29, which marks the eve of Gandhi’s death anniversary. Its exclusion in 2020 had created a furore, following which it was reinstated last year.
The hymn has been replaced by Kavi Pradeep’s seminal piece Aye Mere Watan Ke Logon, which was written in the wake of the Sino-Indian War, and went on to become a tableau of Indian nationalism.
The floats of 12 states and nine ministries or government departments will be showcased in the parade. It was due to limited space and time that only 12 states were selected, according to Nampibou Marinmai, PRO (Defence).
The Chief Ministers of West Bengal, Tamil Nadu and Kerala had written to the Prime Minister after their tableaux were not selected for the parade.
In a first, the dancers who will perform the cultural programmes in the parade have been selected through a nation-wide competition, which began at the district level with over 3,800 participants, from which the final 480 dancers were selected to perform under the Vande Bharatam competition organised by the ministries of defence and culture.
The Indian Air Force and Doordarshan have tied up to bring in a new feature for the Republic Day celebrations broadcast. For the first time, there will be a live feed from cameras, providing the pilot’s view and cockpit’s view, in some of the 75 aircraft from the three services that will participate in the largest flypast this year.
On the ground, with 59 cameras, including one fixed on the dome of the Rashtrapati Bhavan, public broadcaster Doordarshan will be covering every bit of action of the Republic Day parade, news agency PTI reported.
Two 360-degree cameras have been installed, one at Rajpath and the other on the top of the India Gate, a statement by the Information and Broadcasting Ministry said. Visuals from both 360-degree cameras — which provide a bird’s eye view of the ceremony — will be continuously live-streamed through two separate streams on DD National YouTube channel, it said.
You can catch the live coverage on all channels of Doordarshan across India, starting from 9.15 am on January 26 till the end of events at Rajpath. Live coverage will also be available on DD National, DD News YouTube channels and on NewsOnAir app and website.
Meanwhile, the Indian Army on Monday tweeted that live coverage of R-Day events will be shown on the website of the Ministry of Defence (indianrdc.mod.gov.in) and the RepublicDayIndia mobile app.
A set of guidelines issued by the Delhi Police state that those attending the Republic Day parade must be fully vaccinated against Covid and children below 15 years of age will not be allowed to attend the function. Visitors must carry proof of vaccination.
Moreover, the attendees must adhere to all Covid-protocols, such as wearing face masks and maintaining social distancing.
The Delhi Traffic Police has introduced restrictions along the route of the Republic Day parade. According to its advisory, no traffic will be allowed on Vijay Chowk from 6 pm on January 25 till the parade is over.
Cross-traffic on Rajpath intersections, Rafi Marg, Janpath, Man Singh Road has been stopped from 11 pm on January 22 and will be allowed only after the parade is over. Similary, the C-Hexagon-India Gate will be closed for traffic from 9.15 am on January 23 till the parade and tableaux enter the National Stadium.
The Delhi Metro services will be partially curtailed on January 26. Four stations — Central Secretariat, Udyog Bhawan, Patel Chowk and Lok Kalyan Marg — in the vicinity of Rajpath will down shutters in the morning hours till 12 noon. In addition to that, all metro parking lots will also remain closed from 6 am on January 25 till 2 pm on January 26, the DMRC said on Monday.
On January 29, for the Beating Retreat ceremony, Metro services at Central Secretariat and Udyog Bhawan stations of the Yellow Line will not be available from 2 pm to 6.30 pm.
— With inputs from PTI