A friend asked me today, 'Whats the big deal about Republic Day? Why do we celebrate it? What's the significance, anyway?' Not that I didn't know the answer but somehow I couldn't elaborate as much as I could have. Or may be I was confused why would she ask such rudimentary questions.
Usually after such incidents, I think about the ways I could have answered the question in much better way than I did. And those answers keep going on in my mind. So let me get them out in open.
So we know that on 15th August, 1947, India became independent. But India didn't have a constitution or an Indian infrastructure to govern the country. Hence from 1948 to 1950, an interim triumvirate was formed. It consisted of three members: C. Rajagopalachari as Governor-General, Nehru as Prime Minister and Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel as Deputy Prime Minister/Home Minister. The head of the country during this period was still the Crown of England (King George VI).
On 26th January, 1950, the Constitution of India came into existence, hence abolishing the Crown as our supreme-commander. Rajendra Prasad was elected the first president of India. The freedom, rights, privileges and responsibilities of an Indian Citizen were defined. We became a republic. And hence the celebration.
In very simple terms, the period after the Independence to the 26th January, 1950 can be assumed as a pregnancy period. On 26th January, the Republic of India was born. So fellow Indians, wish you all a very Happy Republic Day.