The 67th Republic Day of India is almost here, and the entire nation will be witnessing the impressive Republic Day Parade that is held at Rajpath every year. Over the years, ever since the Constitution’s inception, memorable speeches have been made by not only important dignitaries but by common folk alike, all in the spirit of the Republic Day. So here are 5 Republic Day speeches that will remind you of the importance of this day.
1. APJ Abdul Kalam (2007)
Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam served as the 11th president of India, and in his Republic Day speech, he spoke about eradication of poverty, scientific progress and development of society.
“In the eighties, children always used to ask me questions such as “When can I sing the Song of India?” Today, the youth are asking me, “What I can give to India?” This shows that the nation is on a positive growth trajectory…”
“In Indian history, our nation has come across a situation, all at a time, an ascending economic trajectory, continuously rising foreign exchange reserves, increasing domestic investment with investors’ confidence rising steadily, global successes of Indian managerial and entrepreneurial talents, global recognition of technological competence, energy of 540 million youth, umbilical connectivities of more than 25 million people of Indian origin in various parts of the planet and the interest shown by many developed countries to invest in our engineers and scientists through setting up of new Research and Development Centres in India…”
2. B.R. Ambedkar (1950)
Considered the founding father of the Indian Constitution, Dr. B.R. Ambedkar was the first to lay out the guidelines of the Constitution.
“On 26th January 1950, we are going to enter into a life of contradictions. In politics, we will have equality and in social and economic structure, continue to deny the principle of one man one value.
How long shall we continue to live this life of contradictions? How long shall we continue to deny equality in our social and economic life? If we continue to deny it for long, we will do so only by putting our political democracy in peril. We must remove this contradiction at the earliest possible moment else those who suffer from inequality will blow up the structure of democracy which this Constituent Assembly has so laboriously built up…”
“Our object in framing the Constitution is rally two-fold: (1) To lay down the form of political democracy, and (2) To lay down that our ideal is economic democracy and also to prescribe that every Government whatever is in power shall strive to bring about economic democracy. The directive principles have a great value, for they lay down that our ideal is economic democracy.”
3. Pranab Mukherjee (2013)
The current president stressed on the importance of safety for women in his 2013 Republic Day speech.
“My Fellow Citizens
On the eve of our 64th Republic Day, I extend warm greetings to all of you in India and abroad. I convey my special greetings to members of our armed forces, paramilitary forces and internal security forces.India has changed more in last six decades than in six previous centuries. This is neither accidental nor providential; history shifts its pace when touched by vision. The great dream of raising a new India from the ashes of colonialism reached a historic denouement in 1947; more important, independence became a turning point for an equally dramatic narrative, nation-building. The foundations were laid through our Constitution, adopted on 26 January 1950, which we celebrate each year as Republic Day. Its driving principle was a compact between state and citizen, a powerful public-private partnership nourished by justice, liberty and equality…”
“The time has now come to ensure gender equality for every Indian woman. We can neither evade nor abandon this national commitment, for the price of neglect will be high. Vested interests do not surrender easily. The civil society and the government must work together to fulfill this national goal.
I speak to you when a grave tragedy has shattered complacency. The brutal rape and murder of a young woman, a woman who was symbol of all that new India strives to be, has left our hearts empty and our minds in turmoil. We lost more than a valuable life; we lost a dream.
If today young Indians feel outraged, can we blame our youth?
There is a law of the land. But there is also a higher law. The sanctity of a woman is a directive principle of that larger edifice called Indian civilization. The Vedas say that there is more than one kind of mother: birth mother, a guru’s wife, a king’s wife, a priest’s wife, she who nurses us, and our motherland. Mother is our protection from evil and oppression, our symbol of life and prosperity. When we brutalise a woman, we wound the soul of our civilization…”
“…Even the British sensed that they were leaving a land which was very different from the one they had occupied. At the base of the Jaipur Column in Rashtrapati Bhavan there is an inscription:
“In thought faith…
In word wisdom…
In deed courage…
In life service…
So may India be great
The spirit of India is written in stone.”
4. Shankar Dayal Sharma (1997)
Dr. Sharma recalled the inspiring words of Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose, who wanted, through India’s liberation, Asia and the world to move forward towards the larger goal of human emancipation.
“I pray for India’s advancement from strength to strength, rising and powerful nation, leading the world in the years to come, to a higher level of civilisation.
Indeed, this has been the dream, the vision, of the great stalwarts in our struggle for freedom. In India’s emancipation they saw a new hope for humanity…”
I recall the inspiring words of Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose, whose birth centenary we are celebrating this year. In a broadcast over the Azad Hind Radio on the 19th of February, 1942, Netaji had said: ”through India’s liberation, will Asia and the world move forward towards the larger goal of human emancipation.”
Almost fifty years have passed since India became free. Half a century may not seem much to us Indians as citizens of a nation whose history spans several thousands of years. Yet this period is special, as our ancient nation renews itself, recreates itself, and rediscovers, absorbs and assimilates the essentials of the democratic way of life…”
“…Tomorrow when we unfurl the national tricolour, let us salute our flag of freedom, reiterate our national resolve and rededicate ourselves to our motherland. The greatest democracy in the world must prove herself as a powerful force striving for universal values and ideals and contributing to global peace, friendship and progress.
Brothers and sisters, may reason guide us and may every citizen be a light unto himself and a friend to his neighbour. So may India be glorious.”
5. And here is a special video of a school girl Haritha giving an impressive Republic Day speech.