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Pride of leading that first parade

Pride engulfs Maj Gen (Retd) Dubey when he remembers the first parade of sovereign India, reports Rahul Singh.

india Updated: Jan 26, 2007 03:39 IST

The Republic Day parade stirs pride in a billion hearts. It does a little more than that for Major General (retired) Uday Chand Dubey - the army officer who led sovereign India’s first military parade in 1948. He went on to command five RD parades in the 1950s.

He is 98 today, but memories of that first parade are still fresh in his mind: coaching Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru on how to take the military salute, riding a grey steed as the parade commander, and the spectators.

Defence Minister Baldev Singh made sure that Dubey visited the PM’s house daily for a week to help him perfect the salute.

Dubey told Hindustan Times: "The trauma of partition and the violence that followed had hit people’s morale. Pandit Nehru believed a parade would lift their spirits. In his speech, he announced that the parade would be held every year. It became the RD parade from January 26, 1950 onwards."

Dubey, a product of the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst, said: "It was a great challenge. Soldiers were selected from units scattered across the country and brought to Delhi. They rehearsed for two months."

E-mail Rahul Singh: rahulsingh@hindustantimes.com