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The grandeur of Republic Day 2022

Over seven decades of being a Republic; India showcases its defence, cultural, and developmental highlights around the theme of ‘Azadi ka Amrit Mahotsav’

January 27, 2022 By Ayushee Chaudhary Photo(s): By PIB
Marching contingents of the Indian Armed Forces at Republic Day PARADE 2022

India celebrated its 73rd republic day on January 26, 2022 in full grandeur, even if it was limited in number of people present to witness it, due to the pandemic. The national capital was beautifully decked up withtableaux from different states and ministries as well as the marching contingents. Usually, the Indian Republic Day’s highlight has also been the global leaders that have been invited as chief guests for the occasion. However, as per last year, this time too,no international leader was invited because of COVID-19. There were speculations of the top leadership of Central Asian countries were invited.

“It is an occasion to celebrate what is common to us all, our Indian-ness. It was on this day in 1950 that this sacred essence of us all assumed a formal shape. That day, India was established as the largest democratic republic and ‘we the people’ put into effect a constitution that is an inspired document of our collective vision,” said the President of India, during his Republic Day eve speech. He also touched upon the importance of freedom struggles and the role played by our freedom fighters and the bravery of our soldiers and security personnel. Additionally, he talked about the pandemic, the resilience shown by the country, the losses suffered by people and the economy, and the precautions still needed as new variants of the virus continue to surface. While narrating a personal story from his village, he also highlighted the development that is happening and will take place in the villages and cities and underlined that patriotism strengthens the sense of duty among citizens.

This year the celebrations were themed around “Azadi ka Amrit Mahotsav”, marking 75 years of India’s independence. In line with that, the most exciting moment and highlight of the show was the fly past towards the end.

As a tribute to the 75 years of independence, the Amrit formation caught the limelight as 17 Jaguar aircraft were seen making a figure of 75, glorifying Azadi ka Amrit Mahotsav in the highest manner.

The fascinating fly past

This time the Indian Air force (IAF) had prepared for the grandoccasion, a 75 aircraft display, the grandest fly past. While there were many formations, from Rudra to Rahat, Eklavya to Netra, Tiranga to Trishul, each equally showcasing the splendid prowess of our Air Force, the most special one was the Amrit formation as a tribute to the 75 years of Independence. In this formation, 17 Jaguar aircraft were seen making a figure of 75, glorifying Azadi ka Amrit Mahotsav in the highest manner.

The fly past saw the Indian Navy and the Indian Army also participating alongside the IAF, further displaying the solidarity and strength of the forces. What was more exclusive and exciting to this year’s Republic Day was the aerial and cockpit views of these formations that the IAF shared in coordination with Doordarshan.

Here are the formations that were witnessed over the skies in Delhi and the aircraft that took part:

  • Amrit formation comprising of 17 Jaguar aircraft making a figure of 75
  • The Rudra formation with National Flag comprising two Dhruv helicopters and two ALH Rudra Helicopters
  • The Rahat formation comprising five ALH aircraft flying in five aircraft‘Arrowhead’ formation.
  • The Baaz formation comprising 1 Rafale, 2 Jaguar, 2 MiG-29 UPG, 2 Su-30 MI aircraft in seven aircraft 'Arrowhead' formation.
  • The Meghna formation comprising CH-47 Chinook aircraft in lead and four Mi-17 1V aircraft in echelon, flying in five aircraft 'Arrowhead' formation.
  • The Eklavya formation comprising one Mi-35 aircraft in lead with four Apache helicopters in echelon flying in five aircraft 'Arrowhead" formation.
  • The Tangail formation comprising one Dakota aircraft in lead with two Dornier aircraft in echelon flying in ‘Vic' formation.
  • The Varuna formation comprising Indian Navy’s 1 P8i aircraft with 2 MiG-29K aircraft in echelon flying in ‘Vic’ formation.
  • Traan formation which included 1 C-17 with 2 x C-130 aircraft in echelon flying in 'Vic' formation.
  • Netra formation which comprised of 1 AEW & C aircraft with 2 MiG 29 UPGs + 2 Su-30 MKIs in echelon.
  • Tiranga formation which comprised of one Rafale flying in at 900 kmph.
  • Ladder formation which included Five Sarang (ALH) streaming the Tricolour.
  • Trishul formation which comprised of Su-30 MKI aircraft flying in Vic formation at 900 kmph.

Apart from this grand fly-past, the Republic Day showcased special cultural performances by 480 dancers selected through the nationwide VandeBharatam Nritya Utsav competition. Ten scrolls each of 75 metres in length and 15 feet in height were displayed along the Rajpath during the parade for the first time. These scrolls were prepared during the 'Kala Kumbh' event jointly organised by Ministries of Defence and Culture. The scrolls were painted by over 600 renowned artists and young aspirants from across the country.

Women empowerment and the display by the forces

This year’s Republic Day also showed special spotlight on women empowerment through tableaux and also the parade, as many female commanders and assistance commanders took the lead during the march past of the defence forces’ regiments. Lieutenant Manisha Bohra of the Army Ordnance Corps led an all-male contingent while Lieutenant Commander Aanchal Sharma, who is an observer officer posted at the Indian Naval Air Squadron (INAS) 314 led the naval contingent comprisingof 96 men, three platoon commanders and one contingent commander.

“It is an occasion to celebrate what is common to us all, our Indian-ness. It was on this day in 1950 that this sacred essence of us all assumed a formal shape. That day, India was established as the largest democratic republic and ‘we the people’ put into effect a Constitution that is an inspired document of our collective vision,” said President of India during his Republic Day eve speech.

“As the Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces, I am glad to note that it has been a water-shed year for women empowerment in the Armed Forces. Our daughters have broken a glass ceiling, and permanent commission has now been allowed for women officers in new areas. Also, the talent pipeline for the forces will be strengthened with women coming through Sainik Schools and the prestigious National Defence Academy. Consequently, our Armed Forces will benefit from better gender balance,” the President remarked during his speech.

The nation’s first woman Rafale fighter jet pilot Shivangi Singh also garnered a lot of attention as she stood tall as part of the IAF tableau which was was centered on the theme -- 'Indian Air Force transforming for the future', showcasing scaled down models of Rafale fighter jet, indigenously developed light combat helicopter (LCH) and 3D surveillance radar Aslesha MK-1. A scaled down model of MiG-21 aircraft as well as a model of India's first indigenously developed aircraft Gnat were also featured.

The Indian Navy's tableau on the other hand displayed the 1946 naval uprising. The tableau showed the navy's theme of 'Combat Ready, Credible and Cohesive'. The forward part of the tableau showcased the naval uprising while the rear section showed the 'Make in India' initiatives of the Indian Navy, particularly for the period 1983 to 2021, including the indigenous construction of naval platforms. The model of indigenous aircraft carrier Vikrant with Light Combat Aircraft in air, alongside models of the indigenous missile corvette Kora, destroyer Visakhapatnam, frigate Shivalik and P-75 submarine Kalvari, frigate Godavari and destroyer Delhi were also seen.

Lieutenant Manisha Bohra of the Army Ordnance Corps led an all-male contingent while Lieutenant Commander Aanchal Sharma led the naval contingent comprised 96 men, three platoon commanders and one contingent commander.

The Indian Army took the audience on a journey of the evolution that its uniforms and weaponry had gone through over the past decades.Three marching contingents of the Indian Army wore uniforms and carried rifles from previous decades, while one contingent had the new combat uniform and carried the latest Tavor rifles. A mounted column of cavalry, 14 mechanised columns, six marching contingents and a fly-past by advanced light helicopters of its aviation wing were the army’s representations.Given the COVID-19 protocol, each marching contingent will consisted of 96 soldiers instead of the usual 144.

The mood at the parade was peaked with patriotism and vigour through the bands of the forces that played heart-touching tunes. 16 marching contingents and 17 military bands fueled the capital’s air with the flavor of patriotism. While six marching contingents were of the Indian Army, the Indian Navy and the Indian Air Force had one each, four contingents were of Central Armed Police Forces (CAPFs), two of National Cadet Corps (NCC), one of Delhi Police, and one contingent of the National Service Scheme (NSS).

The nation’s first woman Rafale fighter jet pilot Shivangi Singh stood tall as part of the IAF tableau.

Defence Research and Development Organisation’s (DRDO) tableaux displayed ‘Suite of Indigenously Developed Sensors, Weapons and Electronic Warfare Systems for LCA Tejas’ and ‘Air Independent Propulsion System (AIP)’.Before the flying past nudged the excitement, the adrenaline rush was already set in motion by the motorcycle display. The motorcycle display’s highlight was the female team led by Seema Bhavani, of Border Security Officer (BSF), who did its second show at the parade. They were followed by the male team of Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP) displaying some breathtaking stunts on the bikes.

Creative showcase by the tableaux

This year’s parade included tableaux from 12 states and Union Territories, a number reduced this year, which featured a wide variety of themes. The following tableaux added colors and emotions to the Rajpath.

  • Meghalaya tableaux showed the importance of women-led cooperative societies and self-help groups, with bamboo and cane handicrafts, as it celebrated its 50th year of statehood.
  • Karnataka highlighted the traditional handicrafts from the state with 16 artefacts on inlay carving, lacquerware toys and bronze statues possessing the Global Indicator tag.
  • Gujarat displayed the freedom movement, but through the role of the tribal population.
  • Punjab showcased the state’s “immense contribution” during the freedom movement with Bhagat Singh, Sukhdev and Rajguru leading from the front.
  • Goa put the symbols of its heritage on display
  • Haryana’s tableau had various sportsmen from the state on a “victory chariot” carrying the national flag.
  • Uttarakhand portrayed the development through increasing connectivity between the various religious sites
  • Jammu and Kashmir also displayed the fast pace of development in the UT, with the new IIT, IIM, AIIMS and an airport that are coming up there.
  • Arunachal Pradesh portrayed the four Anglo-Abor Wars between 1858 and 1912 during which the indigenous tribal people of the state, particularly the Adis from the Siang area, fought against the colonial expansion of the British.
  • Chhattisgarh depicted the state’s GodhanNyay Yojana
  • Uttar Pradesh’ tableau put forth the One District One Product scheme of the government and the development of the Kashi Vishwanath Dham in Varanasi
  • Maharashtra displayed the rich biodiversity of the state, with 15 animals and 22 plants as a part of the tableau

The creativity and richness of culture, tradition, development and heritage that the tableaux show adds to the Republic Day parade is always a delight to look forward to. Tableaux were also presented by various ministries from the Central government.

  • The Education and Skill Development ministries showcased the National Education Policy
  • The Civil Aviation Ministry highlighted the UDAN scheme
  • Department of Posts, symbolising Indian post at 75 years of Indian Independence
  • Home Affairs displayed the CRPF jawans and their bravery
  • Central Public Works Department under Housing and Development Ministry focused on Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose
  • Department of Justice showed the Lok Adalat and inclusive legal system
  • Department Drinking Water and Sanitation depicted the Har GharNal under Jal Jeevan Mission
  • The Culture Ministry brought to focus, 150 years of Aurobindo Ghosh.
In addition to the tableaux of the armed forces, adding to the attraction at the parade were tableaux from different government departments like DRDO, Ministry of Civil Aviation and CPWD

The Republic Day parade usually starts from Raisina Hills and goes through Rajpath, India Gate up till Red Fort. However, RDP-2022 marched from Vijay Chowk through the traditional route of Rajpath but went only go up to the National Stadium in view of COVID this time.

Prior to the tableaux, the march past on Republic Day started with Param Vir Chakra and Ashok Chakra gallantry award winners following the parade commander in their jeeps. President Kovind honoured the winners of the highest gallantry. Marking Subhash Chandra Bose’s 125th birth anniversary, this year’s Republic Day celebrations began on January 23.

Another unique moment at this year’s parade was when President Ram Nath Kovind, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Defence Minister Rajnath Singh bid farewell toone of the President’s Bodyguards (PBG), an elite dark-bay coloured horse named Virat.

The beautifully lit up Rashtrapati Bhavan still has the laser and 1000 drones show in store for the Beating the Retreat ceremony. The drones are indigenously made in India by the students of IIT Delhi with BOTLAB start-up. The drones beautifully lighted up the Vijay Chowk during the Republic Day eveand the final show is scheduled for January 29 during the Beating the Retreat Ceremony.

Another unique moment at this year’s parade was when President Ram Nath Kovind, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Defence Minister Rajnath Singh bid farewell toone of the President’s Bodyguards (PBG). The guard was an elite dark-bay coloured horse named Virat, who retired soon after the parade. Virat notably has been at the top of the PBG team, considered the most senior regiment of the Indian Army and had attended 13 Republic Day parades. Virat reportedly is the first horse to receive a COAS commendation which was accepted by Commandant Colonel Anup Tiwari on its behalf.

The national flag was unfurled at Rajpath followed by the National Anthem with a booming 21-gun salute on Wednesday. Following the tradition, the 21-gun salute was presented by the ceremonial battery of 871 field regiment. Prior to this the Prime Minister visited the National War memorial to pay homage to those who have sacrificed their lives while protecting the nation. While PM Modi placed the wreath, NCC cadets provided a “plaque of gratitude” to the next of kin of around 5000 soldiers who sacrificed their lives for the nation, and have their names mentioned on the Memorial.

The day indeed revived the nation’s journey and imbibed a spirit of responsibility towards the nation that each citizen should inculcate as the country continues on its path towards growth.Even though reduced in number due to COVID-19 restrictions, the enthusiasm was at the same high as the celebrations spread across the country.

In President Kovind’s words, “India is an ancient civilisation but a young republic. For us, nation-building is a constant endeavour. As in a family, so in a nation; one generation works hard to ensure a better future for the next generation.”