This year’s Republic Day celebrations will be unlike any other.
From a mega guest list of 10 ASEAN leaders who have been invited to grace the occasion, to the first all-women biker contingent to close the ceremonial parade, everyone is eagerly waiting to celebrate the 69th anniversary of the day when India finally transitioned to an independent republic.
On a day when India’s entire military might and cultural grandeur is on display, a major visual feature of the national parade, which continues to awe spectators, is the fleet of vibrant tableaux by different states and union territories along with various central ministries.
Through the decades, these floats have depicted varied themes like the rich cultural heritage of India and socio-economic development along with the nation’s progress in critical areas like IT, women, empowerment & environmental protection.
These large-scale structures, which are made by artisans and engineers, are often accompanied by live performers, and every year, the top three are selected by a judging committee and awarded the ‘Best Tableaux of the Year.’
Besides floats from 14 states & union territories and 9 ministries, this year’s fleet will also showcase a tableau celebrating India’s 25 years as an ASEAN member and two floats which will showcase the achievements of various ASEAN countries.
The states that have made it to this year’s tableaux presentation include Jammu & Kashmir, Punjab, Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Gujarat, Assam, Tripura, Manipur, Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Karnataka, and Kerala along with the Union Territory of Lakshadweep.
While Kerala will be featuring its rustic tradition of ‘Kettukazhcha,’ traditional masks will adorn the tableau of Assam. Punjab’s float is modelled upon the theme ‘sangat and pangat,’ to showcase the love for humanity in tangent to the spirit of communal harmony.
Himachal Pradesh’s float will give us a glimpse of its heritage by displaying a model of Kye Gompa, a Tibetan Buddhist monastery located in the Spiti Valley, and Maharashtra will display the coronation of Chhatrapati Shivaji. Lakshadweep’s tableau will showcase the unique culture of its islanders.
For the first time, a tableau by the timeless All India Radio (AIR) commemorating its eight decades of service will be showcased in the parade.
While one of the prime features of the float will revolve around Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s monthly discourse ‘Mann Ki Baat,’ it will also depict Mahatma Gandhi’s maiden journey and AIR’s crucial role of being the only broadcaster during communal riots following the partition.
It will also be the first time where tableaux by Income Tax department and Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) will make an entry, along with floats by the Indian Air Force, Indian Navy and Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP). Making a comeback after four years is the Sports Ministry which will display its flagship venture, ‘Khelo India,’ along with a live performance of malkhamb and weightlifting.