July 16, 2024
26 January: The ‘sharp’ distinction between nationwide days in Australia and 
India
Throughout the nation, Australians might be waking up on 26 January with combined feelings — a few of satisfaction,
Some may select to spend the general public vacation on the seaside, whereas others will attend Invasion Day or Survival Day rallies or occasions in help of Indigenous Australians.

A few of the nation’s migrants will develop into new residents.

People stand around a tent emblazoned with Australian flags on a beach.

Individuals celebrating Australia Day at Bondi Seaside in Sydney. Supply: AAP / Tracey Nearmy

However 1000’s of kilometres away, a distinct — and extra unified — image unfolds yearly on 26 January.

India additionally marks its nationwide day on this date.

Often called Republic Day, the celebration of independence from Britain is a vibrant affair.

What makes 26 January particular for India?

Republic Day is considered one of India’s three most important nationwide holidays.
It marks the official starting of its independence from British rule, when the structure of India got here into impact in 1950.

Whereas India had achieved independence three years earlier (15 August 1947), it remained ruled largely by the Authorities of India Act, which was handed by the British parliament in 1935.

Women in long flowing skirts dance during a parade rehearsal.

College college students rehearse dances for the 2024 Republic Day Parade at a stadium in Gurugram, India. Supply: AAP / Hindustan Occasions / Sipa USA

“This act was the important thing doc that legalised the ‘Authorities of India’. However on 26 January 1950, when the structure was adopted, India turned a republic and primarily reduce off all ties with the British empire,” Pradeep Taneja, an instructional fellow on the Australia-India Institute, instructed SBS Information.

“India joined the Commonwealth, not as a dominion [of the British empire], however as a completely unbiased republic.”

How is India’s Republic Day celebrated?

Republic Day is broadly seen as a day of celebration, Taneja stated.
It is a grand affair that’s marked by occasions throughout the nation.

The principle occasion takes place within the capital, New Delhi, with a public parade held alongside New Delhi’s central avenue, Kartavya Path, earlier often known as Rajpath, in entrance of cheering crowds on each side of the street.

An army unit parades down a street with India's flag visible in the foreground.

An Indian Military unit joins a parade throughout the 74th Republic Day celebrations in New Delhi in 2023. Supply: AAP / Hjarish Tyagi / EPA

The parade is often presided over by the president of India, who raises the nationwide flag and takes a salute from the nation’s armed forces as their supreme commander.

Regiments of the military, navy and air power carry out an elaborate guard of honour and aerial flypasts within the colors of the flag.

Over the previous few years, defence power helicopters have been seen showering rose petals over the cheering crowds, the parade and the chief visitor to replicate the temper of a rejoicing nation.

A helicopter drops rose petals.

An Indian military helicopter drops rose petals throughout a Republic Day parade within the jap Indian metropolis of Kolkata on 26 January 2023. Supply: AAP / Piyal Adhikary / EPA

The mightiest of India’s defence tools and symbols of its technological advances are additionally exhibited together with grand tableaux from every of its practically 30 states and union territories.

This yr, the lunar rover Chandrayaan 3 — which India efficiently pioneered in touchdown on the south pole of the moon — is predicted to be displayed.
A lot of the nation comes collectively to commemorate liberty, range, army energy and cultural heritage.
At occasions throughout the nation, the nationwide anthem is sung in unison, the nationwide flag is unfurled, and dance and music performances are staged after months of rehearsal.
Yearly, a overseas chief is invited to attend the parade because the ‘chief visitor’.
Former US president Barack Obama, former British and Australian prime ministers John Main and Malcolm Fraser, amongst others, have been in that seat through the years.

French President Emmanuel Macron is predicted to attend this yr’s celebrations.

Narendra Modi and Emmanuel Macron wave at a crowd.

French president Emmanuel Macron and Indian prime minister Narendra Modi on the International Affairs Ministry in Paris in 2023. Supply: AAP / Julien de Rosa / AP

A ‘sharp distinction’ between Australia and India’s nationwide days

For Australia, 26 January paints a conflicting image.
It when British captain Arthur Phillip led the First Fleet into what’s now often known as Sydney Cove in NSW and raised a British flag for the primary time.
For a lot of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander individuals, it is seen as and is a day of mourning, known as Invasion Day or Survival Day.
People march in an Invasion Day rally. One holds up a sign reading

Individuals march throughout an Invasion Day rally in Brisbane on 26 January 2023. Supply: AAP / Jono Searle

“The distinction [between the two national days] truly could be very sharp,” Taneja stated.

“Whereas 26 January in India marks full independence for India, in Australia, it marks the start of the colonisation of the continent.”
India’s structure was drafted by its Constituent Meeting over three years and adopted by a vote in November 1949. It got here into impact the next yr.

The chosen date marked the day on which the Indian Nationwide Congress — the political get together that led India’s independence motion — first referred to as for ‘Poorna Swaraj’ or full independence from British rule.

Understanding Australia’s 26 January higher

For Indian migrants in Australia, Taneja stated an understanding of what 26 January means — significantly for Indigenous Australians — would enhance with time spent dwelling within the nation.

“However one factor I believe that almost all Indians like about Australia Day is that it’s a public vacation and it additionally permits them to have a good time Indian Republic Day,” he stated.

Australia Day can be a day when Indian migrants may develop into new residents, with councils across the nation internet hosting citizenship ceremonies.
In December 2022, the Albanese authorities which pressured native councils to carry citizenship ceremonies on 26 January or have their potential to carry ceremonies eliminated.
Ceremonies can now be held from 23 to 29 January. A rising variety of councils have since introduced .

With extra reporting from Reuters.

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