In a unique display of India’s cultural pluralism, Republic Day tableaux on Raj Path reaffirms our faith in the vibrant democracy of our nation
Republic Day is one of the most significant days in the lives of every Indian. It was on 26 January 1950 that the Constitution of India was brought into force as the ‘law of the land’ after herculean efforts by our founding fathers. It took the Constituent Assembly 2 years, 11 months and 18 days to finalise the Constitution. We celebrate India’s sovereignty every year with much fanfare on the regal Rajpath. The President of India unfurls the national flag and confers the gallantry awards like Ashok Chakra, Kirti Chakras, Param Vir Chakra and Shaurya Chakras. Children also receive bravery awards for their extraordinary deeds on this occasion. The day also witnesses parade, march-past along with school children’s cultural performance. This year NSG commandos will also debut on the Rajpath putting up their first ever participation in the Republic Day parade.
State tableaux are one of the most awaited events on Republic Day. India’s creativity can be seen at its best when the colourful tableaux skim past through the hordes of cheering people at Rajpath. Republic Day celebration, that marks every year the commemoration of adoption of the Indian constitution in 1950, is incomplete without these beautiful tableaux.
Their decoration and designs are based on different themes every year ranging from country’s rich cultural heritage and socio-economic development to nation’s progress in key areas like IT, Women empowerment, Environment protection, etc. A committee from the Union Ministry of Defense selects the tableaux worthy for Republic Day every year. For the 2017 Parade, it has selected 23 tableaux — 17 are from different states and six are from various ministries. In order to foster the competitive spirit, different prizes are also instituted for the best tableaux.
The 2017 Republic Day celebration will witness the return of Delhi tableau on Rajpath after being left out for last three consecutive years. The main theme of Delhi tableau will be education and schools as the AAP government in Delhi has done some outstanding work in the field of education. The model schools project, reading mela, teacher training programme and the mega parent-teacher meetings taken up by the AAP government are the major endeavors that will be on display. Odisha has decided to showcase Dola Melana on its tableau.
However the show will be bereft of the tableaux from the states of Bihar and Telangana as both the states have failed to impress the selection committee under the Ministry of Defense. The Bihar tableau was based on the ancient university of Vikramshila whereas the latter proposed for tableau based on festival of Bathukamma. Telangana tableau idea cleared six rounds of screening but failed the final seventh round.
In 2016 the Rajpath witnessed tableaux from 17 States and six ministries of the Central Government. First position had gone to West Bengal tableau, which depicted the famous Baul folk singers rendering the songs based on Bhakti and Sufi movement. While Tripura’s tableau on beautiful Unakoti sculptures, seen in a Shiva pilgrimage site was adjudged the second best, third position had gone in favour of Assam tableau showcasing the popular Rongali Bihu festival. Special prize was awarded to the tableau of Ministry of Communication and Information Technology on the theme ‘Digital India’.
In 2016 the tableaux that wowed the crowd on the majestic Rajpath were based on variety of themes such as Constitution architect Dr B R Ambedkar’s legacy to commemorate his 125th birth anniversary, Mahatma Gandhi’s crusade for freedom in Bihar’s Champaran, an art university in Chhattisgarh and Swachh Bharat and Digital India campaigns. Rajasthan’s vivid replicas of Hawa Mahal drew loud cheers as spectators were left in awe with the exquisite craftsmanship. While a few tableaux such as Goa, Sikkim and Jammu & Kashmir were based on Jagor Folk Dance, Saga Dawa and Mera Gaon Mera Jahan, Chandigarh showcased the beauty and architectural heritage of Le Corbusier.
Between1950 and1954, Republic Day was celebrated at different venues. It was in 1955, that parade in its present form was organized at Rajpath. The state of Maharashtra has won the best tableau award six times since 1980 whereas Goa has won it five times. Kerala is another state to win the title frequently.
Various ministries also add colour to the jubilant display of colours and craft. Ministry of Human Resource Development put the best tableau in the year 2012, and took the second prize in 2008. Ministry of Culture and Ministry of Railways are also regular contenders for the prizes.
Like every year, this year too Republic Day celebration will turn the Rajpath into a colourful panorama. Fortunate ones will be watching it right in front of their eyes, while millions will be glued to their TV sets to get a taste of the display.Along with bringing the best of the art in public discourse, these tableaux also appeal to our emotive senses. Get ready to be amazed.
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