India celebrated the 73rd republic day all over the nation on Wednesday. The annual parade was held at Rajpath and saw the showcasing of India’s cultural diversity and the military might of the nation with a series of tableaux and performances. Although the celebrations are held with huge bustling crowds of all age groups, the annual ceremony at Rajpath was scaled down in the wake of the rising number of cases of Coronavirus across the country.
For the second time in a row, the celebrations took off without a chief guest due to the rise in COVID-19 cases because of the Omicron variant which has taken over the world. The special guests this year were the sanitation and frontline workers, auto-rickshaw drivers, construction workers, and labourers who helped in the preparations of the massive tableaus. The celebration for the 73rd Republic day got delayed by a half-hour to ensure visibility to the audience. The biggest fly-past that comprised 75 aircraft in total was a sight to see in the celebrations. There was a limited live audience present at the premise of the celebrations but only those people who were fully vaccinated were allowed to spectate the grand celebrations.
The number of tableaus this year got reduced to 21 from 32 tableaux witnessed last year. This year the states presented 12 tableaus including Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, and Goa. Nine tableaux were featured by the Ministries and the Departments such as DRDO (Defence Research and Development Organisation). The Indian Navy and Air Force also showcased their tableaus like every year. The celebrations last year witnessed 32 tableaux. The tableaux left out of this year’s celebrations including Tamil Nadu and West Bengal have raised strong opposition.
The Param Vir Chakra and the Ashoka Chakra which are two of the highest gallantry awards were conferred to their recipients, following which the march past began with few Army contingents and indigenously developed battle tanks at Rajpath. It was followed by a fly-past of Advanced Light Helicopters that were developed by the Army Aviation Corps.
Several marching contingents then showed their mastery with the renowned Rajput Regiment that was led by Lt. Varun Pratap Singh of the 17 Rajput Regiment who was seen carrying the weapon 3 nought which was used in the 1947-48 war with Pakistan. For the first time ever, the nation’s first woman Rafale fighter jet pilot, Shivangi Singh was part of the tableaux of the Indian Air Force. She is the second woman fighter jet pilot to achieve this feat. The Lok Adalat tableaus were also seen for the first time at the celebrations. The theme by the National Legal Services Authority was “Ek Muthi Aasman” which means Inclusive legal system.
The celebrations were held with proper COVID-19 protocols in place, everyone was seen wearing a mask including the participants and the spectators. Social distancing was maintained and around 27,000 police personnel were deployed in the national capital for Republic day.