On the occasion of India’s 67th Republic Day, here’s a look at the major headlines of Hindustan Times before and after January 26, 1950.
Last constituent assembly session
On 24th January 1950, the constituent assembly met at the constitution hall in New Delhi, for its last session, at 11 o’ clock on a Tuesday, with India’s first president Dr Rajendra Prasad in the chair.
Dr Prasad made the following statement with regard to the national anthem.
“The composition consisting of the words and music known as Jana Gana Mana is the National Anthem of India, subject to such alterations in the words as the Government may authorise as occasion arises; and the song Vande Mataram, which has played a historic part in the struggle for Indian freedom, shall be honoured equally with Jana Gana Mana and shall have equal status with it. (Applause). I hope this will satisfy the Members.”
Here is a news clipping of a front page article from Hindustan Times reporting the event on the next day - 25th January 1960.
Another news clipping published on the same day highlights the point that ‘Vande Mataram’ was given equal status with ‘Jana Gana Mana’.
Read moment by moment what happened in the constitution hall two before the first Republic Day here.
First chief guest
President Sukarno of Indonesia was guest of honour for India’s first Republic Day celebrations in 1950. The below article describes the rousing reception given to the Indonesian president and also jots down his itinerary in India.
President Sukarno of Indonesia was guest of honour for India’s first Republic Day celebrations in 1950 pic.twitter.com/adPnfXDTHF— President of India (@RashtrapatiBhvn) January 17, 2015
The following article, published on 25th January 1950, describes in detail, how Delhi prepared for the first Republic Day celebrations. According to The Hindu, in the beginning the parade did not start from Rajpath and proceed to Old Delhi but was held at the erstwhile Irwin Stadium, New Delhi, with a 21-gun salute.
Read more about the first parade here.
A HT photo shows Dr Rajendra Prasad being sworn in as the president of India at exactly 10.24 am on January 26, 1950, six minutes after India was declared a Sovereign Democratic Republic. This ceremony was held in a brilliantly lit and high domed Durbar Hall at the Government House.
Read more about what happened on the first Republic Day here.
A HT photo shows India’s first president Dr Rajendra Prasad in a chariot at the Parliament Street.
First Param Vir Chakra
“The enemy is only 50 yards from us. We are heavily outnumbered. We are under devastating fire. I shall not withdraw an inch but will fight to the last man and the last round.”
That was Major Somnath Sharma’s last message to brigade headquarters in November 1947.
Shortly afterwards, the young officer was killed while leading his men on a fighting patrol to Badgam village in Kashmir while evicting Pakistani raiders from Srinagar airport.
For his exceptional bravery under duress, the native of Dadh village in Himachal Pradesh was posthumously awarded the country’s first Param Vir Chakra, India’s highest gallantry award.
Here is a news item published on 27th January 1950 about the award.
Read more about the Martyr’s village here.
A set of eight photos published on 27th January 1950 depict how the national capital celebrated the first Republic Day.
Another set of eight photos show well lit fountains and clock towers in Delhi on the night of the first Republic Day.