Republic Day Parade:

This year, the main theme of the Parade will be women’s empowerment. A special feature will be an all-women marching contingent from the armed forces. The Ministry of Women and Child Development will lead the procession of floats with a tableaux themed around “Beti Bachao Beti Padhao”, which is a key scheme of the Ministry aimed at addressing female foeticide.

US President Obama will be attending the Republic Day Parade this year, and for the first time ever it will be telecast internationally


Colorful India

1. An Indian farmer walks through a mustard field at Bisothi village, about 53 kilometers (33 miles) east of Allahabad, India, Monday, Feb.1, 2010. (AP Photo/Rajesh Kumar Singh)

2. A vendor counts money sitting on a heap of marigold flowers at a wholesale market in Calcutta, India, Friday, Feb. 5, 2010. Marigolds are widely used as strings of garland and for Hindu religious rituals. (AP Photo/Bikas Das) 

3. An Indian Border Security Force soldier patrols near fencing at the India-Pakistan border at Suchetgarh, about 30 km (19 miles) south of Jammu January 9, 2010. (REUTERS/Mukesh Gupta)

4. A folk dancer from Kerala state looks on near his state’s tableau, at a preview ahead of the Republic Day, in New Delhi, India, Friday, Jan. 22, 2010. (AP Photo/Gurinder Osan)

5. A young Buddhist monk makes a face during the Dalai Lama’s prayer session at the Mahabodhi temple in Bodh Gaya, about 130 kilometers (81 miles) south of Patna, India, Saturday, Jan. 9, 2010. (AP Photo/Rajesh Kumar Singh)

6. A student spits fuel into a fireball as he performs Malkhamb, an ancient form of Indian gymnastics during the Indian Republic Day celebrations in Bangalore, India, Tuesday, Jan. 26, 2010. (AP Photo/Aijaz Rahi)

7. Indian children work nearby to their parents at a construction project in front of the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium on January 30, 2010 in New Delhi, India. The children accompany their parents to the work site, where if they are prepared to work, they will receive money for bread and milk and be provided with dinner by the contractor. (Daniel Berehulak/Getty Images) 

8. An Indian woman works at a construction project in front of the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium on February 01, 2010 in New Delhi, India. The Commonwealth Games are due to be held in the Indian capital from October 3-14, 2010, but concerns remain over construction of its sporting and transport infrastructure. The sheer scale of the project has drawn an enormous population of migrant workers from all over India. (Daniel Berehulak/Getty Images)

9. A Hindu holy man ties a turban on the banks of “Sangam,” the confluence of rivers Ganges and Yamuna during the annual month long fair “Magh Mela” in Allahabad, India, Thursday, Jan. 28, 2010. Hundreds of thousands of devout Hindus take a bath at the confluence during the astronomically auspicious period of over 30 days celebrated as “Magh Mela” to rid themselves of their sins and attain prosperity. (AP Photo/Rajesh Kumar Singh)

10. People look at illuminated buildings that house the country’s main government offices, during Republic Day in New Delhi, India, Tuesday, Jan. 26, 2010.


INDIA, NEW DELHI : An Indian military band plays while riding camels during the nation’s Republic Day Parade in New Delhi on January 26, 2015. Rain failed to dampen spirits at India’s Republic Day parade January 26 as US President Barack Obama became the first US president to attend the spectacular military and cultural display in a mark of the nations’ growing closeness. AFP PHOTO / SAUL LOEB

“Our two nations possess the keys to progress in the century ahead. We vote in free elections. We work and we build and we innovate. We lift up the least among us. We reach for heights previous generations could not even imagine. We respect human rights and human dignity, and it is recorded in our constitutions. And we keep striving to live up to those ideals put to paper all those years ago.” —President Obama celebrating the anniversary of India’s constitution


January 26th 1950: Indian Constitution enacted

On this day in 1950, the Indian Constitution came into effect, thus founding the Republic of India. The struggle for independence from British colonial rule had been ongoing for many years, characterised by the non-violent resistance led by Mohandas Gandhi. In 1947, these efforts came to fruition, with the Partition of India creating the two independent nations of India and Pakistan. However, the transition to independence was not a smooth one, and religious violence was commonplace in the years after partition. In an effort to stabilise the new Indian state, the India Constituent Assembly adopted a new constitution in 1949. It was decided that the constitution would be enacted on January 26th to commemorate the 1930 Declaration of Independence on the same day, that resolved the Indian parliament to fight for self-rule. The 448-article document provided for  a government based on the British parliamentary system, with elections every five years, and enshrined the principles of universal adult suffrage and equality. Unlike Britain, India was to be a republic, with a President holding a ceremonial head of state role. The new republic’s first President was Rajendra Prasad. Jawaharlal Nehru served as Indian Prime Minister until his death in 1964, having led the nation through a very turbulent time, and was succeeded by Lal Bahadur Shastri. Nehru’s daughter, the famous Indira Gandhi, went on to become a four-term Prime Minister. This day is commemorated in India every year as Republic Day, always attended by a chief guest, who this year is U.S. President Barack Obama.

65 years ago today

“There are two Mustafa Kemals. One the flesh-and-blood Mustafa Kemal who now stands before you and who will pass away. The other is you, all of you here who will go to the far corners of our land to spread the ideals which must be defended with your lives if necessary. I stand for the nation’s dreams, and my life’s work is to make them come true.”

                                                                           -Mustafa Kemal Ataturk


  29th of October is the Republic Day of Turkey!  HAPPY REPUBLIC DAY!

July 4, 1946 was the day that the United States withdrew its sovereignty over the Philippines, and finally recognized its independence.

That’s the correct way of phrasing it, instead of saying that July 4 should be the Philippines’ true independence day and not June 12 (because the independence declared then was defeated anyway), or that the country was only ‘granted’ its independence by the superpower on this day, as if the country completely accepted U.S. Sovereignty without resistance of any form.

History is a lot more complicated than that, as we will see.

This is very important to note because people tend to gloss over the fact that while the Philippine republic of 1898 was a “still-birth” republic, to borrow George Farwell’s words, and was eventually defeated (not by the mere war technology of the U.S. but more because of the fatal mistakes of the undisciplined Filipino army, as agreed upon by historians), the same spirit that espoused independence was the same spirit that Filipinos had when the Americans provided a means for Filipinos to take positions in the civil government in the Philippines under the United States. What the Americans denied them, the fight of freedom by armed resistance, the Filipinos brought to the American politick, by peaceful means, tirelessly lobbying for the Philippines to be independent. Therefore, July 4, 1946, amidst the destruction of the country from World War II, was only a culmination of a generation’s aspiration for national independence.

Yes, many of the elites who were former members of the Malolos Congress betrayed the fledgling Philippine Republic and their oath “to defend it unto the last drop of our blood” by joining the American side and resigning from their post, driven by ambition, and by the promise of being given positions of influence by the Americans. They even established the Partido Federal, advocating for Philippine statehood under the United States (which remained an unpopular stand even up to its disbandment). But those Filipinos who later went up the political ladder in the early years of the American occupation, different from these elites, never forgot the Revolution of 1896 and the Philippine-American War), and when the opportunity of being elected was given them, they accepted, knowing that the independence advocacy can be brought to the political field. 

One evidence of how Filipinos never forgot this spirit of freedom was Antonio de las Alas. Sponsored by an American, at a young age of 15, de las Alas was one of the Filipino scholars sent to the United States to learn “American democracy” at the early years of American occupation in the Philippines. He went to Indiana University to study law, and continued his Master of Law at Yale University, receiving cum laude. He rose to the ranks of aspiring Filipino leaders, being elected as congressman in Batangas in 1922, as the Americans opened more and more positions to Filipinos in civil government. And yet he never forgot la independencia. like many Filipinos in his batch. At the verge of the independence of the Philippines from the United States on July 4, 1946, de las Alas commented this on his diary (dated May 23, 1945) on Maximo Kalaw’s comment to the American media about the Philippines as a “dependent” country under the United States. Note that the Philippines was still under the U.S. during this time, as the war against the Japanese in the Philippines was ended on February 1945. De las Alas said:

“…Why should [Maximo Kalaw] admit that the Philippines is a dependent country? Such admission should have been accompanied by a full explanation, otherwise our special status might not be known nor understood. Dependent countries are those countries that are at present known as colonies. Mr. Kalaw very well knows that the Philippines is not a colony of the United States; not even the United States so considers the Philippines. Ours is a special and unique status. We came under the flag of America against our will. We had conquered the Spaniards and we had set up our own Republic with a democratic system of government. The U.S. insisted in remaining here and, because of our smallness and weakness, we had to accept. From the very beginning, however, America declared her intention of preparing us for self-government, and in 1916 she made the formal promise of granting our independence. The only condition imposed was that we should establish a stable government. We believed that we had established a stable government. But American politics intervened. The Democratic Party, which was in power when the promise was made, went out of power and the Republican Party took the reins of government. Immediately, the Republic President sent investigators to the Philippines and their reports were used to justify the disregard of the promise of independence in the Jones Law. But the Democrats regained power and in 1935, the U.S. Congress, with the approval of Pres. Roosevelt, passed a law providing for independence after ten years. During this period a Commonwealth Government would be established and that period was provided so that the Philippines would be able to readjust the economics of the Philippines to its future status of independent country. During that period, we were to prepare our country for an independent existence. Pursuant to that law we were going to have our independence on July 4, 1946. How can you call a country under those circumstances a dependent country? How can you put our country on the same level as the English colonies? Kalaw should not admit that the Philippines is dependent. But if he believes that the Philippines is a dependent country, then all the circumstances above mentioned must be stated. Great emphasis should be given to the fact that on July 4, 1946 we will be a member of the concert of nations. It should expressly be pointed out that the Filipinos want that program of independence in 1946 carried out…. We ardently hope that Pres. Osmeña will disauthorize Secretary Kalaw.

Independence will come and no power can stop its onward march.

May 23,1945

On the rainy day of July 4, 1946, the American flag was lowered, and the Philippine flag was raised, alone for the first time, fluttering in the Philippine skies. The same generation that fought for freedom finally saw their dream fulfilled in their very eyes.–Ensueño de mi vida, mi ardiente vivo anhelo (My lifelong dream, my deep burning desire).

*Photo courtesy of Old Manila Nostalgia facebook page.

*Know more about the June 12, 1898 Philippine Independence


Steel Pan (the documentary)

One of Trinidad’s other great contributions: the only new acoustic instrument invented in the 20th century… the Steel Pan!


Given that States/Union Territories participate in the cultural part of the Republic Day parade in rotation, it appears that the North-East was well represented in 1956. In today’s photoset from photodivision, the folk dancers are from Sikkim,  Assam (Jaintia*), Manipur and NEFA**. Not many happy faces apart from cheerful Sikkim girl wearing a wristwatch:)

Some beautiful textiles and jewellery in there. These are not representative of the entire state given that there are a number of tribal communities in North-East India.

Other states: Nagaland (1960), Tripura (2011), Mizoram (2011).

*Now Meghalaya.
**NEFA, now Arunachal Pradesh.