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The 69th Republic Day celebrations, a bearer of many firsts, call for an emotional celebration

As 26th January dawned upon us, the nation geared up for the 69th Republic Day celebrations. Even though this wasn’t the first Republic Day, it was a Republic Day of many firsts.

This Republic Day marked the first time when 10 heads of states belonging to the ASEAN countries were invited as Chief Guests. The normal practice till date being inviting one head of state. These chief guests included, Myanmar’s state councillor Aung San Suu Kyi, Philippines’ President Rodrigo Duterte and Singapore’s Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong.

When it came to the celebration itself, these were a few new additions like a first time tableaux for All India Radio (AIR), which also featured PM Modi’s popular Maan Ki Baat program:

What created the biggest flutter was Maharashtra’s choice of Tableaux, which was dedicated towards honouring legendary Hindu King Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj. This Tableaux was themed around his coronation which took place at the Raigad fort in Maharashtra:

Not just this, what further garnished the Tableaux was the apt choice of “Jai Bhavani Jai Shivaji” reverberating around the Tableaux, which took one back, to one of the glorious periods of Hindu history.

Here’s a video of the Tableaux, as captured by @brakoo:

This predictably oozed emotions among many social media users:

What also set apart this Republic Day was the choice of recipients for the prestigious Padma awards, which were announced on Thursday. The winners included unsung heroes like:

  • Lentina Ao Thakkar, a Gandhian who has worked for the betterment of Naga hills since the 1950s.
  • Sulagatti Narsamma, a 97 year old lady who in the backward regions of Karnataka has performed over 15,000 traditional deliveries till date, all free of cost.
  • Sudhanshu Biswas, a 99 year old freedom fighter, who after ensuring independence for his country, kept working for its betterment by striving to provide Primary Education for children in rural India.
  • Professor Rajagopalan Vasudevan, who might have come up with one of the most important innovations in the 21st century, which is reusing our plastic waste to construct roads. These roads, may not only solve our recycling problems, they are also more durable and water resistant.

As mentioned at the start of the report, this Republic Day truly marked many firsts, which reaffirms the fact that there can be many positive accompaniments to an idea which holistically shall always remain constant.

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Hemant Bijapurkar
Contributor at OpIndia.com, Wish to write a great trilogy someday!

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