India celebrates its 74th Republic Day on 26 January this year. The day is observed to honour the day when the Constitution of India was enacted in 1950. January 26 was chosen as the date to implement the Constitution because on this day in 1930, the Indian National Congress (INC) declared Purna Swaraj (complete independence), opposing dominion status by the Britishers.
Abdel Fattah el-Sisi: First President of Egypt to Visit India on Republic Day
On the eve of the 74th Republic Day, the president of Egypt; Abdel Fattah el-Sisi has been formally invited by the prime Minister of India, Shri Narendra Modi. The President of Egypt, Abdel Fattah Saeed Hussein Khalil el-Sisi; commonly known as Abdel Fattah el-Sisi was born on 9th November 1954 in Cairo, Egypt. He is not only the Executive Head of Egypt but also a retired Military Officer. Abdel Fattah el-Sisi is the sixth President of Egypt.
India and Egypt enjoy warm and friendly relations based on civilizational and deep-rooted people-to-people ties. India has invited Egypt, an Islamic nation for the very first time for the celebrations of the Republic Day that takes place on 26th January, every year. Abdel Fattah el-Sisi has an interesting political life. Before retiring from the Military as a General in 2014, he served as the Deputy Prime Minister of Egypt from 2013-2014. He served as the Minister of Defense from 2012-2013 and as its Director of Military Intelligence from the year 2010-2012. Later on, Abdel Fattah el-Sisi was promoted to the rank of Field Marshal in January 2014.
In this context about the President of Egypt who will be India’s Chief Guest during the 74th Republic Day celebration on 26th January, I would like to mention the name of Colonel Gamal Abdel Nasser, the second President of Egypt. India’s first Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru founded the famous Non-Alignment Movement along with President Nasser of Egypt, Marshal Tito, president of the Republic of Yugoslavia, President Sukarno of Indonesia, and Mrs. Sirimavo Bandaranaike, Prime Minister of Sri Lanka.
Most interestingly, my service in the Indian Army Medical Corps includes my tenure at Special Frontier Force where I served under the Command of Lieutenant Colonel B K Narayan in the conduct of our military operation in the Chittagong Hill Tracts to initiate the Liberation of Bangladesh in 1971. Prior to joining Special Frontier Force, Colonel B K Narayan served as a Military Attaché at the Indian Embassy in Cairo. He was indeed a great Islamic Scholar who served in the Indian Army in its Olive Green uniform. He learned Arabic language and mastered it. While he served in Cairo, his expertise attracted the attention of President Nasser and Colonel Anwar Sadat who became the third president of Egypt in 1970. Colonel Anwar Sadat had several friendly conversations with Colonel Narayan to gain insights from the holy Quran which he used to formulate his peace initiative with Israel.
In 1971, I became aware of President Sadat’s peace initiatives and as to how Colonel Narayan helped him and guided him in the process using his Islamic scholarship. Prior to returning to India, Colonel Narayan had the unique opportunity to perform the Hajj pilgrimage sponsored by President Nasser and Colonel Anwar Sadat.
A plethora of events will be organized on this day with the centre of attraction being the annual parade held at the Kartavya Path (formerly Rajpath) near the Rashtrapati Bhavan. During the official ceremony, the President of India acknowledges and pays tribute to the courageous officers of the police department and armed forces for their exceptional bravery in the field. Additionally, several awards are given to citizens who have displayed courage in various circumstances.
Bharat Ratna is the nation’s highest civilian award. It is given in honour of great work or accomplishment of the highest order in any area of human endeavour. The Prime Minister recommends candidates for Bharat Ratna to the President of India. There is no requirement for official recommendations for Bharat Ratna. There can only be three Bharat Ratna Awards given out in a calendar year.
The recipients of the Padma Awards- one of the highest civilian honours in the country- are announced annually on the eve of Republic Day. Instituted in 1954, these awards seek to recognise achievements across various fields involving an element of public service. The awards are split into three categories based on the level of achievement. In descending order, first comes Padma Vibhushan, followed by Padma Bhushan, and Padma Shri.
All nominations for Padma Awards are presented to a special committee, which is constituted each year separately by the prime minister. The Home Secretary, the Secretary to the President, and four to six distinguished individuals serve on the Padma Awards Committee, presided over by the Cabinet Secretary. The Prime Minister and President of India are required to approve the committee’s recommendations.
On 26 January 1950, the Government of India established the first three gallantry awards- Param Vir Chakra, Maha Vir Chakra, and Vir Chakra. The government then introduced the three additional gallantry awards known as the Ashoka Chakra Class-I, Class-II, and Class-III on 4 January 1952. However, in January 1967, these honours were given new titles: the Ashoka Chakra, Kirti Chakra, and Shaurya Chakra, respectively. The recipients of these honours are announced twice a year- first on Republic Day and later on Independence Day. As per significance, the gallantry awards are the Param Vir Chakra, the Ashoka Chakra, the Mahavir Chakra, the Kirti Chakra, the Vir Chakra, and the Shaurya Chakra.
President’s Police Medals
The awards were once known as the President’s Police and Fire Service Medal when they were first established on 1 March 1951. Regardless of rank or length of service, the medals may be presented to any police officer. The country’s law enforcement officials are recognized by the President with three police medals for meritorious service- distinguished service, and bravery. A monthly stipend is awarded to those who achieve the medal. It is paid to them even after retirement and is continued to be paid to the recipient’s surviving spouse after their demise.
Pradhan Mantri Rashtriya Bal Puraskar
This award is presented to youngsters under the age of 18 who have demonstrated exceptional creativity, academic excellence, or outstanding contribution in the fields of social service, the arts and humanities, bravery, or sports. In
Jeevan Raksha Padak
Instituted in 1961, this particular award is given to a person for saving someone’s life. It comes in three categories: Sarvottam Jeevan Raksha Padak, Uttam Jeevan Raksha Padak and Jeevan Raksha Padak. The award is given to citizens who save lives from fire, drowning, or other tragedies.
Correctional Service Medals
The President of India honours prison staff in three categories including Distinguished Service, Meritorious Service, and Gallantry Medals in the recognition of their work in the nation’s correctional facilities.