It is another year where Republic Day would be celebrated under the shadow of evil Covid gods. Much like the last year, the celebrations at the Rajpath, New Delhi will be toned down amid the sharp rise in Covid-19, witnessed across the nation. While in 2021, the Republic Day hosted around 25,000 people as the audiences, this year the celebrations are low-scaled and would not have any foreign dignitary as Chief Guest. 

Rubbing further salt to the wounds from last year, the defense ministry is also likely to curtail the numbers of attendees from 25,000 to a mere 5,000 to 8,000 guests this year with no children below the age of 15 years. The parade is to be conducted under strict Covid-protocols along with the attendees to present their double-vaccination certificates before entering at the Rajpath. Any attendee found with even mild temperature would be prohibited from entering, as only asymptomatic people would be allowed.  Furthermore, if anyone with symptoms arrives, then he or she will be isolated in separate Covid Booths, especially to cater to such situations. 

Details of this year’s Chief Guest

As stated above, there will not be any kind of participation from a foreign dignitary as chief guest at the Republic Day parade. However, earlier India did invite the leaders of five Central Asian nations – Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan as chief guests. Although, the recent surge in cases fueled by the Omicron curtained the envisioned plans. Therefore, much like the last year when the Prime Minister of the UK, Boris Johnson was to grace the event as Chief guest but had to pull out due to the advent of the second wave, a long-standing tradition is now broken for two consecutive years.

 The Tableaux

A total of 12 states and Union territories and nine ministries have been selected to display their unique tableaux at the parade. The states are – Arunachal Pradesh, Haryana, Chhattisgarh, Goa, Gujarat, Karnataka, Meghalaya, Punjab, Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand. However, the selection of states has sparked a new controversy. As the center rejected the applications of presenting tableaux from West Bengal, Kerala and Tamil Nadu, the states, which are governed by non-BJP parties, condemned their exclusion and sought PM Modi’s intervention. The government has however insisted that the selection of tableaux was fair.

Special Features

This Republic Day would pay special respects to the frontline workers for their tireless efforts in the wake of Covid. Hence, a significant number of vaccinated sanitation workers, construction laborers, auto-rickshaw drivers, and others are invited as attendees for the day. Furthermore, The Republic Day, Beating the Retreat will serve an eco-friendly initiative. The invitation for the beating of the retreat will have seeds of medicinal plants like Ashwagandha, Aloe Vera, Amla embedded in it to encourage the invitees to plant them later in their gardens or flower pots. In addition, Republic Day would also encourage fresh start-ups and in furtherance of that, IIT-Delhi will perform a drone show with 1000 drones during the Retreat.  

The Republic Day celebrations are to begin from 23rd January to mark the 125th birth anniversary of Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose and would conclude on January 30th to commemorate Martyrs Day.