The Grand Military Parade at Rajpath

Kamal Baruah *

We survived, thrived with great enthusiasm and patriotism. It is a matter of pride in participating parade. The grand military parade is not just soldiers marching and tanks rolling down on Rajpath, it marks the highest levels of military discipline, cohesion, showcases India’s Armed Forces strength and displaying military might. Today I put aside those profound feelings of disquiet at camping while my memories reminisce with Republic Day.

India celebrates Republic Day in a very colourful fashion in order to make it memorable and special for every Indian Citizen. It exhibits India’s military might and its cultural and social heritage. Our joy knew no bounds as our Entry RT-152 had been selected for RD Parade 90. And soon after POP at Jalahali, we moved to Air Force Station Race Course in October 1989 after a month long Annual Leave. There were other contingents from Tambaram, Avadi and Sambra base. Since the billets were fully occupied by P Staff, we had been allocated military camping tents and sleeping bag to survive harsh winter in New Delhi.

The contingent set off at health run before it dawn. After a month of rigorous marching on the grass, IAF moved to Shanti Path. The squadrons drilled across the embassy, where traffic usually restricted in the wee hours. The boots and the bands went synchronised along with great coordination at close-order manoeuvring.

Very soon the place became a festive look; even passerby thronged our rehearsal that boosted our energy. The parade underwent gruelling schedule spanning nearly nine hours a day. But our dedication to the call of duty was salute-worthy for the nation. During breaks, a mug of chai and aloo poori appeased our hunger.

We were making progress, albeit rather slowly that made our instructors worried. But the energy of rehearsals was palpable. The final practices were at Mansingh Road. The entire Vijay Chowk had been occupied by hundred of Contingents for that great occasion. They were squadrons of coloured uniform personnel from armed forces to paramilitaries and NCCs. The boating at Boat Club was just incredible in the evening. We even climbed up India Gate to have an aerial view of surrounding Mantralaya from Rail to Udyog, Krishi, Seva, Sena and National Museum. Those days were simply unforgettable.

January was the month for serious drill at Rajpath. Our steps are measured for 30-inch and timing was synchronized digitally for 120 steps per minute. New ceremonial dresses arrived. The sole of combat boots were hobnailed to provide great sound. 12X12 formation went with the command of shoulder arms on one set of heel marching.

The French Bayonets were fitted underneath the muzzle of AK-47. Blanco and Bull for the webbing and boot were polished and shinned. After all, the men in blue took great pride in its unfirom. They were in the same height maintaining a steady heel beat and cadence. The other contingents felt a twinge of envy for our appearance.

And the final day had arrived. What concludes in a few hours took months of toil and determination! It was successfully done as per plan and well coordinated. The full dress rehearsal on 23 Jan was just another great day occasion where visitors got opportunity to watch parade for who failed to get a pass. We reached Rajpath for the final day at 6 o’clock morning on 26 January.

The patriotic songs were filling the air at the capital, which added to the nationalistic vibe. People stood in serpentine queue to their turn to precede India Gate. There was sense of patriotism to competition with other contingents that put in pressure and excitement. The Mauritius Prime Minister Aberiid Jugnauth was the Chief Guest. The parade looked festive from the Raisina Hill Rashtrapati Bhavan along with the Rajpath, past India Gate.

Then Prime Minister VP Singh laid a floral wreath at the war memorial Amar Jawan Jyoti followed by two minutes silence in the memory of fallen soldiers at India Gate. The President of India escorted on horseback by the cavalry unit of President’s Body Guard. The flag hoisted at 9 a.m. at Rajpath followed by the National anthem with 21-gun salute.

India’s highest military decoration Param Vir Chakra (war), Ashok Chakra (peace), Kirti Chakra are awarded for displaying distinguished acts of valour, courageous action or self-sacrifice away from the battlefield. National Bravery Award Children ride past the spectators on colourfully decorated elephants.

And the military parade had begun at 9.30 a.m. to showcase India’s Armed Forces strength and displaying military might. There are missiles, radars and huge weaponised system. The President R Venkataraman took the salutes to twelve different regiments of Indian Army in addition to Air Force, Navy and twelve contingents of Para Military Forces with their respective bands of official decorations that lasted for three hours.

The pipe and drum bands, buglers and trumpet are played with popular tunes like Abide with me, and Saare Jahan Se Achcha behind the marching contingent. There was low visibility, cold winds, tiresome schedules but nothing deters the spirit of our mind. Marching is an integral part of military life. We were marching along Raj Path. We saw nothing but our chin was up for marching.

The Daredevils Motorcycle Team, BSF Camel Contingent and performance of school children have always been the centre of attraction. Besides parades, there are flagship programmes of administration, and the most spectacular is the final flypast of IAF Aerobatics Team displaying tricolour – touch the sky with glory. The state tableaux highlighted cultural and religious heritage to attract visitors.

The parade concluded at historic Red Fort followed by a Bara Khana (big feast) at Airmen Mess. We had a mouthful of everything from the buffet and enjoyed every bite at banquet. They were sumptuous, luxurious meal indeed with our Chief of the Air Staff Air Chief Marshal Surinder Mehra.

We survived, thrived with great enthusiasm and patriotism. It is a matter of pride in participating parade. The grand military parade is not just soldiers marching and tanks rolling down on Rajpath, it marks the highest levels of military discipline, cohesion, showcases India’s Armed Forces strength and displaying military might.

Today I put aside those profound feelings of disquiet at camping while my memories reminisce with Republic day. We adjusted the best marching contingent for the first time that brought proud moments to Air Force. The celebration concludes with a Beating Retreat Ceremony performed by three Armed Forces at Vijay Chowk, the adjacent square of Raisana Hill on 29 Jan.

Now India is celebrating her 70th Republic Day. South African President Matamela Cyril Ramaphosa is the Chief Guest to celebrate the 150th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi. To honour our soldier, PM Narendra Modi is going to inaugurate the National War Memorial near India Gate. Besides safeguarding the Indian Skies by the Victory of IAF, Indian Army stands with guns and artilleries along with M777 Howitzer and K9 Vajra. The first ever all women contingent of Assam Rifles, will take part.

17 tableaux from states/UTs and 6 from the ministries have been shortlisted. January 26 is a day to honour our Constitution where India become Republic in 1949. It is the day to salute the Amar Jawan Jyoti to commemorate all the sacrifices of soldiers. It is the day to proudly fly the Tricolour and bring people together under it. It is a symbol of true spirit for the Independent India as well as love for our country.

Jai Hind.

* Kamal Baruah wrote this article for
The writer is a resident of Guwahati and can be reached at kamal(DOT)baruah(AT)yahoo(DOT)com
This article was webcasted on January 25 2019.

* Comments posted by users in this discussion thread and other parts of this site are opinions of the individuals posting them (whose user ID is displayed alongside) and not the views of We strongly recommend that users exercise responsibility, sensitivity and caution over language while writing your opinions which will be seen and read by other users. Please read a complete Guideline on using comments on this website.

  • Heikru Hidongba #2 : Gallery
  • Attitude to life and family
  • Breaking the glass ceiling
  • 28th NAMA Convention at Chicago
  • Inpui Naga Karing Ngei 2018 : Book
  • Dr. Md. Hamidur Rahaman : AMP Award
  • World Patient Safety Day
  • The Killing Fields 2013-18 : News Timeline
  • Peace talk reportedly at final stage
  • Chayom Thupki (Meetei Philosophy) #11
  • 48th Foundation Day of RIMS : Gallery
  • Tarpon: Annual offerings to the dead
  • Licypriya : Climate change in Angola
  • World Ozone Day 2019
  • iKON 4th anniversary : Indian iKONIC
  • Gratitude to Dk. Korungthang
  • Xavier Board Higher Education Conference
  • Confusing announcement: ban on plastics
  • Nongpok Sanjenbam village #1: Gallery
  • Chaklam Khongchat Numit #4: Gallery
  • Ways of seeing Atiyagi Maya
  • National Lok Adalat at Lamphel Court
  • Take Me Home :: Poem
  • Money Lending business in Nagaland
  • Ambeshori : Gold at Jr Women Natl Boxing
  • Crime against nature deserve punishment
  • Khamba Thoibi Museum #1 : Gallery
  • Time- Is it an illusion? Certainly not
  • Can there really be peace without justice
  • Enrollment Program for PMJAY & CMHT
  • Heavy traffic fines, Harekrishna krishna
  • Jenil Khuman : Heroes of India award
  • Cracking the whip on driving by minors
  • ST demand: Is this a consensus decision..
  • Mukna - indigenous game : Gallery
  • Leikoiba, Lanhim, Khangjenlu :: eMing
  • An interaction with Dr. O.K. Singh #1
  • Cry of a Dying River - 92 :: Poem
  • Missing person : Dongminlian at Tirupati
  • Google Earth for ground & aerial survey
  • Mary Kom 1st woman athlete for Vibhushan
  • Delivering a point maturely
  • There should be a toll free grievance cell
  • Hiyang Tanaba @Lamlai #1: Gallery
  • Shrinking safe spaces
  • Child sexual abuse (CSA)
  • Demands: Flag for Naga & ST for Meitei
  • Proud of our scientists & ISRO
  • Daanveer Dutta Karna : 2nd best play
  • Inner Line Permit (ILP) Demand :: Timeline
  • Significance of Sept 11 to TSE
  • Climate Crisis, People, and the State
  • Ibudhou Marongkhong Haraoba #3: Gallery
  • Conundrum for Manipur govt over CAB
  • Violence against medical fraternity
  • Thongkhatabam Ankita : Governor's Award
  • The Enchantress :: Poem
  • Sunyata & Kenosis: Search of Ultimate Truth
  • Lim divide continues to run deep
  • Of nationalism, patriotism & against nature
  • Heikru Hidongba #1 : Gallery
  • Komrem Students Day @B'lore : Gallery
  • Protective Thinking: Village Nationalist #1
  • Haipou Jadonang: A Social reformer #3
  • Ungracious :: Poem
  • Naga Peace Process :: News Timeline
  • IAS Officer: Hero- Whipping boy- Villain
  • Petition CM to revoke breach order in Edn-S
  • Stand against illegal immigrants
  • September and Hijam Irabot
  • Impact of Christianity among Vaiphei #3
  • Kakching WW II Memorial Run : Gallery
  • Framework Agreement: Divide the state
  • Training Program for Remand Advocates
  • Hunt for North East designers & models
  • Kakching World War II Memorial Run: Report
  • Common Admission Test for IIMs
  • No school bags day for young students
  • GoI backtracking on Framework Agreement
  • Trekking to Dzukou #3 : Gallery
  • English as a Lingua Franca for NE
  • A Good Place to Spend the Night : Poem
  • The idea of Manipur
  • Vacancies at Hadron Techs, Imphal
  • 8th Convocation of Assam Don Bosco held
  • Yogurt based DIY packs to try
  • Big Bang Edge Test
  • Bhabananda was right; it was not only him ..
  • Chaklam Khongchat Numit #3: Gallery
  • Judicial administration under Bhagyachandra
  • Reena Bhavsar(Pebam ningon): Mrs India
  • Sick Education System should be blamed ...
  • Foundation Day of Physics Dept, MU
  • 26th World Congress of Political Science
  • DBC, Maram bags SBSI National award
  • Regulate pay of Pvt school teachers
  • Chingda Satpi Engellei #1 : eRang
  • The Endurers : a growing tribe
  • Swachh in Manipur
  • Khongoinaba & Kanglei Chanura Kanba
  • The ten in between :: Poem
  • Happy for no reason
  • Convocation: Assam Don Bosco University
  • Sounding the alert at the entry points:
  • Victims of greed
  • Folk Dance @Retreat ceremony #2: Gallery
  • Call for Papers : NACETER 2019 at Aizawl
  • Celebrating Teachers' Day 2019
  • Draft Bill on violence against healthcare
  • From the heart - Transcending fears
  • Her Richness :: Poem
  • Beauty benefits of mint
  • Return of the power struggle
  • 'We Dont, So Shouldnt You' of Mayangs
  • Licypriya: Peace Prize : Gallery
  • Haipou Jadonang: A Social reformer #2
  • Licypriya : World Children Peace Prize
  • Champions at 5th Intl Thang-Ta C'ship
  • International Geological Congress 2020
  • Manipur Tourism: Best cultural Award at TTF
  • 46th AMWJU Foundation Day
  • NDPP leaders called on Nagaland Governor
  • Condemns UP Govt for case against Journo
  • Looking to CBI to deliver: The trust deficit
  • Mockery of the legislation
  • Hinduism in Manipur # 2
  • No mee should disturb peace in Kuki Hills
  • Cry of a Dying River - 91 :: Poem
  • Human service demands need to save river
  • Aromatherapy as career option
  • Khelen Thokchom Media Fellowship
  • Rejoinder to Yanthungo Patton
  • New traffic rules and regulations
  • Myopic leaders and misplaced priorities
  • Over 19 lakhs excluded in Assam NRC
  • Chaklam Khongchat Numit #2: Gallery
  • Sangai Fest: Maibi Jagoi : Gallery
  • FMGE -Foreign Medical Graduates Exam
  • Referendum in Catalonia
  • Allergen-specific blood test for allergies
  • Better investment climate: Challenge of Govt
  • AMWJU Identity Card
  • Chayom Thupki (Meetei Philosophy) #10
  • September Calendar for Year 2019 : Tools
  • Freshers Meet/Musical Night at Bangalore
  • Surgery over Healthcare
  • Discussion: Identity at India-Myanmar Border
  • A Euphoric Day Of Freedom :: Poem
  • Remembering the past famine...
  • Stalls- Hathei Phanit, Ukhrul #1: Gallery
  • AMSU & Naga Peace Talk
  • Hypocrisy of 'The Federation Of Haomee'
  • Introspecting renewed Hydropower push #2
  • Enrolment Program for PMJAY & CMHT
  • Martyrdom of Haipou Jadonang: Gallery
  • The traffic maze
  • Haipou Jadonang: A Social reformer #1
  • Chinglensana Kangujam : Arjuna Award
  • A Rainy Morning in Summer :: Poem
  • Apple Farmer Mayengbam Shyamchandra
  • The idea of a book club Imphal
  • Condemns act of locals in ICFAI Univ
  • Free medical camp at Ithai Barrage
  • Attacker on Childline must be arrested
  • Computer Courses at IP Infotech
  • Dead men or dead girls tell no tale
  • Going beyond people's expectations
  • Chaklam Khongchat Numit #1: Gallery
  • Wainu Chara : An indigenous rice breed
  • The sugarcane crisis
  • Positive Teachers-Students relation
  • NDPP & BJP met with Bishop of Nagaland
  • Zero budget natural farming
  • Helmet drive with sweets at CCpur
  • Responsibility matters
  • Manipur Independence Day : Gallery
  • Manipur Heli Service : Gallery
  • Kariang nuna sip eh :: Poem
  • River Rights as legal person
  • Athokpam Right: Kalams Book of Record
  • Be Educated; Be Empowered 0.02 Edition
  • Separate flag and separate Constitution
  • Manipur on a high: Drug menace
  • Impact of Christianity among Vaiphei #2
  • Introspecting renewed Hydropower push #1
  • Jhulon @ Imphal #2 : Gallery
  • Climate variability in Phalee khul, Ukhrul
  • What vows does a catholic priest take ?
  • Leg Pain : What to do ?
  • Convention: Defense of Democratic Rights
  • Transit route to manufacturing unit
  • Khangkhui Cave, Ukhrul #5 : Gallery
  • Meeting on Road project at Phalong
  • The road that halted us by earthfall
  • National Entrepreneurship Awards 2019
  • Strategies to adopt for IAS Exam
  • Discussion: Issues of Legal Services
  • Irregularities of Non-NET Fellowship in MU
  • Threatened democracy
  • Nagas await historic day: NSCN (I-M)
  • Hathei Phanit @Ukhrul #1 : Gallery
  • Dr Ak Priyokumar : Golden Achiever Award
  • Lai-Harouba @JNMDA #2 : Gallery
  • Sangai fest: Dance Drama : Gallery
  • N'Jang-Ngi Thangal fest : Gallery
  • Jhulon @ Nabadwip, WB : Gallery
  • School Fagathanshi Mission : Gallery
  • Healthy & active lifestyle: A healthy Manipur
  • Heikat-Leikat [13 Aug] #2 : Gallery
  • Babysana: Student - Aug 10 #2: Gallery
  • Jhulon @ Imphal #1 : Gallery
  • Eyek Tamba :: Learn Manipuri script
  • Chayom Thupki (Meetei Philosophy) #9
  • Patriots' Day @ Pune : Gallery
  • Babysana: State bandh - Aug 9 #2: Gallery
  • Folklore of Hao communities #3
  • Aliyah #2 (Film Scenes) :: eRang
  • Babysana's last rites performed: Gallery
  • Featured Front Page Photo 2019 #3: Gallery
  • Tolloi, Ukhrul :: 360 Panorama View
  • Manipuri Calendar for 2019 : Download