Published On : Thu, Jan 26th, 2017

First Republic Day and guests down the years…

India celebrates its 68th Republic Day today. On January 26, 1950, the Constitution of India came into force, and Republic Day is celebrated to honour that day. On this day in 1950, the first President of India, Dr Rajendra Prasad took oath in the presence of First guest of honour President Sukarno of Indonesia.

In 1951, King Tribhuvan Bir Bikram Shah of Nepal, who was taking refuge from the Rana Oligarchy in his own country, became our second guest. He returned back to his country with honour after Nepal’s monarchy was returned to his family but he also swore to make it a democratic nation.

From 1950 till 1954, the Republic Day parade was held at different venues of Delhi. In 1955 Rajpath to Red fort was made the permanent venue.

Governor General Malik Ghulam of Pakistan was the guest of this year.

In 1958 Marshall Ye Jianying, was invited to do the honours, He was the Chinese communist general, Marshal of the People’s Liberation Army. As the chairman of the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress from 1978 to 1983, Ye was the head of state of the People’s Republic of China.

He became the first and last Chinese premiere to be chief guest since China attacked us in 1962.

But leaders of Pakistan have been invited thrice till now!

In 1961, Queen Elizabeth 2, who became the first UK monarch to be sworn in after India became independent from UK, was the chief guest.

In 1979, Prime Minister of Australia Malcolm Fraser was the guest. He was known to take a firm stand against apartheid in South Africa along with India’s P.M. Mrs. Indira Gandhi.

In 1995, probably one of the most distinguished guests President Nelson Mandela, who became ‘free’ S Africa’s first black President was the chief guest.

USSR/Russia and Bhutan seem to have been favorite nations to invite dignitaries from, as also Pakistan and Nepal.

But it was only in 2015 that President of USA, Barak Obama came for our parade.

But the most popular country has been France. We have invited their premiere five times!!!!!