January 26, 1950 is one of the most important days in the history of independent India. On this special day, the constitution of India came into force and a truly sovereign state was born. Attaining independence and becoming a republic nation was the biggest challenge that India had to face in the 20th century. The people of India sacrificed their life for the sake of nation's freedom and stood firmly along with political leaders to drive away the British. At last, on August 15, 1947, a century long freedom struggle came to an end and India became independent after 200 years of slavery. Although India became independent on August 5, 1947, it was still under the governance of British Empire. Until the constitution of India came into force, King George VI headed the government of independent India.
The seeds of republic were sown by Pt Jawaharlal Nehru in the Lahore session of Indian National Congress, held in the midnight hour of December 31, 1930. In the meeting, the tri-color flag was unfurled and a pledge of celebrating Republic Day on January 26th of every year was taken by the nationalists. Political leaders namely, Mahatma Gandhi, Maulana Abdul Kalam Azad, Sardar Vallabh Bhai Patel, and Mohammad Ali Jinnah openly challenged the British Empire to stop the people of India in getting their right of freedom. INC started working towards sovereign republic of India. Nationalist who were present in the meeting rejected the proposal of British Government for “Dominion Status”.
The professed pledge was finally redeemed on January 26, 1950, when the constitution of India came into force. Immediately after the independence of India, on August 2, 1947, the drafting body was appointed by the Constituent Assembly, with Dr Bheem Rao Ambedkar as the Chairman along with six other members as constitutional advisor. It took around 2 years, 11 month and 18 days to build the constitution of India. At the time of commencement, the constitution had 395 articles in 22 parts and 8 schedules consisting almost 80,000 words. Indian Constituent Assembly adopted nation's Constitution on November 26, 1949 and the January 26 of the following year was chosen as the Republic Day of India. The adoption of Constitution made India a sovereign, secular and democratic republic and the rights of its citizens brought to a concrete form.
The constitution of India follows the basic principles of British Constitution except a provision that constitution is the superior body, not the Parliament. Due to its resemblance with the British constitution, legal experts criticize the Constitution of India. But, it has all the aspects and provisions the people of India needed at the time of Independence. Also, the constitution gives right to the Indian judiciary to adjudicate the amendment passed by the Parliament. Every year, January 26 is celebrated with great zest to honor the sacrifice and struggles of India's freedom activist and those who participated in making the country's constitution. On this auspicious occasion, President of India hoists the tri-color national flag at the Red Fort and addresses the nation from its rampart. Republic Day had a remarkable history, has a tremendous present and will have bright future.
The history of Republic Day is closely associated with India's judicial and legislative development.