26 Jan 2021 18:38 IST

The story of the 21-gun salute goes back a long way

The guns boom now not for our ruler and maharajahs, but for us, the people, on Republic Day

Depicting the nation's rich cultural heritage and economic progress, 17 tableaux from states and union territories and nine from different Union ministries and paramilitary forces took part in the 72nd Republic Day parade. Six tableaux of the defence ministry also attended the event. School children performed folk arts and crafts displaying skills and dexterity handed down from generations.

The Republic Day parade ceremony commenced with Prime Minister Narendra Modi visiting the National War Memorial in the morning. The tricolour was unfurled followed by the national anthem with a booming 21-gun salute. The parade commenced with President Ram Nath Kovind taking the salute.

This year, the attendance to the Republic Day parade was limited due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Those below 15 years of age and above 65 were not allowed among the visitors at the venue. The parade also witnessed several major changes. The contingents only marched a distance of 3.5 km instead of the usual 8.5 km, and for the first time in 55 years, no foreign dignitary attended the January 26 parade.

However, a 122-member contingent of the Bangladesh armed forces marched on Rajpath. They carried the legacy of legendary muktijoddhas of Bangladesh, who fought against "oppression and mass atrocities" and liberated the country in 1971. India is currently celebrating the Swarnim Vijay Varsh — the Golden Jubilee year — commemorating the country's victory over Pakistan in the 1971 war that led to the creation of Bangladesh.