India celebrates 70th R-Day; highlights Mahatma’s life

Source: The Hitavada      Date: 28 Jan 2019 09:06:53



INDIA on Saturday celebrated the 70th Republic Day with a grand military parade and exhibition of its history, cultural diversity and strategic weaponry at the Rajpath in the presence of thousands of spectators including foreign dignitaries and the country’s top political, military brass.

South African President Ramaphosa was the chief guest at the 90-minute celebrations marking the anniversary of the day when the world’s biggest democracy was declared a republic in 1950. A total of 22 tableaux, 16 from States and Union Territories and six from Central Government Ministries and Departments, were part of the cultural parade, the overall theme of which was “life and ideals” of Mahatma Gandhi.

Ramphosa’s presence at the event was significant as India is celebrating 150th birth anniversary of the father of the nation, who had spent 21 years in South Africa before returning to India to join the freedom struggle.

The parade began after President Ram Nath Kovind conferred the Ashoka Chakra -- India’s highest peacetime gallantry award to Lance Naik Nazir Ahmad Wani, a militant-turned-soldier who laid down his life fighting a group of terrorists in Shopian in Kashmir in November. Wani’s wife Mahajabeen and mother Raja Bano received the award. The Republic Day parade ceremony commenced with Prime Minister Narendra Modi, wearing a yellowish orange turban, leading the nation in paying homage to the fallen soldiers by laying a wreath at the Amar Jawan Jyoti under India Gate.