January 26 has been celebrated annually by India as Republic Day since 1950. 2022 will see the 73rd edition, and like every year we will have the Republic Day Parade that the whole nation tunes in to watch live on TV. Some lucky people can attend the ceremony in person.
India’s constitution – the largest written constitution in the world, with 395 articles and 8 schedules, was implemented on January 26. However, the date of January 26 in India is remembered not only for the Republic Day but also for some of the other historical events of the past.
1. Death of Humayun – January 26, 1556
Mughal Emperor Humayun died on January 26, 1556. On the evening of January 24, 1556, King Humayun was sitting on the roof of his library in the building known as Din Panah also called Sher Mandal.
He conversed with his nobles and astrologers about holding a durbar at the time of the appearance of the planet Venus.
At that time, he heard the Muazzin’s call to prayer from the nearby mosque. So he got up to go down the stairs, to attend the evening prayer. He slipped, fell down the stairs and fractured his skull.
2. The first and last Governor General of Independent India Chakravarti Rajagopalachari resigned – 26 January 1950
Chakravarti Rajagopalachari popularly known as Rajaji was the first Indian Governor General of independent India. He was also the last. At the time of partition, Rajagopalachari was appointed Governor of West Bengal.
In June 1948, when Mountbatten was due to leave India, Rajagopalachari was given the post which he held until January 26, 1950, when the Indian Constitution was enacted and the country became a republic. On January 26, 1950, Chakravarti Rajagopalachari, the first and last Governor General of independent India, resigned from his post. After that, Dr. Rajendra Prasad became the country’s first president.
3. Declared Purna Swaraj Day – 26th January 1930
The father of the nation had declared him as Swatantrata Sankalp Divas after Jawaharlal Nehru demanded complete independence at the Lahore session on January 26, 1930. Mahatma Gandhi had appointed January 26 as ‘Swatantrata Sankalp Divas’. Beginning in 1931, every year, including 1947, January 26 was celebrated across the country as Independence Day.
After 190 years, the British were driven out of the country and power was transferred to Indian hands at midnight on August 15, 1947, which is celebrated as Independence Day.
4. Pillar of Ashoka adopted as ‘National Emblem’ – January 26, 1950
On January 26, 1950, a depiction of the lion capital of Ashoka placed above the motto, Satyameva Jayate, was adopted as the state emblem of India. The national emblem is an adaptation of the Lion Capital, originally found atop the Ashoka Column at Sarnath, established in 250 BC.
The national emblem of India is a seal representing the Republic of India.
5. National Memorial ‘Amar Jawan Jyoti’ set up at India Gate in Delhi – 26 January 1972
The Amar Jawan Jyoti was built as a memorial for Indian soldiers lost in battle during the Indo-Pakistani War of 1971, which India won and led to the formation of Bangladesh. On January 26, 1972, it was instituted by then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi.
It’s a memorial with an inverted bayonet and soldier’s helmet on it, and an eternal flame blazing beside it.
It should be noted that after 50 years, the Amar Jawan Jyoti flame at the India Gate was merged with the flame at the National War Memorial on January 21, 2022.
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