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Republic Day 2024 - What changed in this year Parade on Kartavya Path? Know about the President Bodyguard (PBG).

India marked its 75th Republic Day on 26 January 2024 and the country celebrated by the morning Parade at the Kartavya Path showing the glory and prowess of India, special mention to the women contingents who led this years parade as per the theme. This year India did away with the certain traditions and opted some different ways to celebrate being a Republic country. Lets know about it.

Source: President of India (Social Media)

Significance of 26 January to India.

On 26 January 1950, India's constitution was adopted and the country transitioned into a republic, marking Republic Day. Each year, this significant day is celebrated with remarkable military and cultural pageantry.

In the capital city of New Delhi, the celebrations commence with a magnificent parade, starting from Raisina Hill near the Rashtrapati Bhavan (President's House), proceeding along the Kartavya Path, passing through India Gate, and concluding at the historic Red Fort. The Kartavya Path becomes the center stage for ceremonious parades, where the states of India pay homage to the nation, its diverse unity, and its vibrant cultural heritage by showcasing splendid tableaus. The grandeur of the parade on Kartavya Path outshines all other festivities taking place throughout the country on this auspicious day.

Theme of 2024.

The theme of this year's Republic Day is 'Viksit Bharat' and 'भारत - लोकतंत्र की मातृका (जननी) / Bharat - The Mother of Democracy (Bharat: Loktantra ki Matruka'), which symbolise the country's aspirations and its role as the nurturer of democracy.

What different was done this year?

The Parade begin with a procession of 100 women artists took the lead, demonstrating their expertise in playing traditional Indian musical instruments. The Parade commenced with the captivating melodies of Sankh, Naadswaram, and Nagada, skillfully performed by the talented women artists.

For the very first time, a contingent solely composed of women from the Armed Forces Medical Services paraded on Kartavya Path. Leading the way was Major Srishti Khullar, accompanied by Capt Amba Samant from the Army Dental Corps, Surg Lt Kanchana from the Indian Navy, and Flt Lt Dhivya Priya from the Indian Air Force.

The audience was captivated by the women pilots who showcased their skills during the Fly-past, symbolizing the strength of women, known as nari shakti. Additionally, the Indian Navy tableau emphasized the themes of 'Nari Shakti' and 'Atmanirbharta', while also featuring the aircraft carrier INS Vikrant, as well as Navy ships Delhi, Kolkata, Shivalik, and the Kalavari Class Submarine.

The motorcycle exhibition display showcased the remarkable skills of the Central Armed Police women personnel, highlighting their strength and power. A total of 265 women bikers demonstrated their bravery and valor on motorcycles. Additionally, the Delhi Police all-women band, under the leadership of Band Master Sub Inspector Ruyangunuo Kense, made their debut appearance in the Republic Day parade.

In addition to the global participation, a group of 95 individuals marched, while a band of 33 members from France took part in the parade. Notably, the French Air and Space Force made history by participating in the fly past over Kartavya Path with two French Rafales and one A330 MRTT. France holds the distinction of being the inaugural foreign nation to join the fly past, just as their regiment was the first to have a marching contingent in the parade back in 2016.

Changes in tradition of arrival of President and the Chief Guest.

President Droupadi Murmu and French President Emmanuel Macron (Chief Guest) made a grand entrance at the Kartavya Path to celebrate India's Republic Day 2024, reviving a traditional practice. Departing from the modern sedan, India's President opted for a horse-drawn buggy, a choice not seen in over four decades.

Accompanying the President were members of the esteemed President's Bodyguard (PBG) regiment, the oldest cavalry unit in India with a remarkable history spanning over 250 years first established in the year 1773. Known as "Rashtrapati Ke Angrakshak," this regiment stands out with its vibrant red uniforms. Each trooper in the PBG measures over 6 ft tall, adding to their imposing presence. Throughout India's independence, the PBG has served as the personal guard for the only governor-general and 15 presidents.

The riders of the PBG don a distinctive uniform, complete with a ceremonial turban in blue and gold, Napoleonic boots, lances towering over 9 ft, and a cavalry sword sheathed at their side. In the Republidlc Day celebrations 2024, the President's contingent consisted of 55 horses, with six of them pulling the buggy. These horses had a minimum height of 150 cm and an average weight of 500 kg. Adorned with a white head collar, bridle bit, leather breastplate, steel and leather reins, and a lance bucket, the horses themselves were part of the regal display.

The PBG has a notable history beyond ceremonial duties. They have actively participated in peacekeeping missions in Sri Lanka, Somalia, Angola, Sierra Leone, and Sudan. The also have their impressive achievement of winning 75 medals in the Equestrian Federation of India (Equestrian is a sport, related to horse riding). The riders of the PBG are not only skilled horsemen but also trained paratroopers and armored fighting vehicle crew members.

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