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India's 59th Republic Day Marked in Seoul
Amb. Yayal Hosts Reception for Local, Foreign Guests
Indian Ambassador to Seoul Skand R. Tayal and his wife receiving guests at a Seoul hotel on Feb. 6, 2009

Indian Ambassador to Seoul Skand R. Tayal hosted a reception at a Seoul hotel on Feb. 6, 2009 on the occasion of the 60th anniversary of India's Republic Day.

The Republic Day of India is a national holiday of India to mark the adoption of the Constitution of India and the transition of India from a British Dominion to a republic on Jan. 26, 1950. It is one of the three national holidays in India.

The reception attracted some 200 high-profile guests including scores of top foreign envoys.

In a welcoming speech Amb. Tayal thanked South Korean goverment for cementing and promoting ties
with India. He also wished that bilateral relations be further developed as a major trade partner.

On behalf of South Korean government came Vice Minister Kim Jang-Shil of Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism.

In a congratulatory speech he said that the Korean government will unford policies to maintain friendly relations.

Earlier on Jan. 26, 2009. Over 120 Indians living in South Korea gathered at the residence of Amb. Tayal to celebrate the Republic Day.

The Republic Day is celebrated on 26th January every year in India. On this day India adopted its present constitution and there was a complete power transfer. Though India got its independence on August 15, 1947.

On Nov. 26, 1949 the assembly adopted the Constitution of India. From Jan. 26, 1950 India became a democratic republic with Rajendra Prasad as the first president of India. January 26 was chosen owing to its importance in freedom struggle.

On 26th of January, 1930 the Indian National Congress symbolically declared Poorna Swaraj or complete independence from the British Empire.

The Republic Day is celebrated with great pomp and show in the nation's capital New Delhi. The prime minister lays wreath at the war memorial for the immortal soldier at the India Gate.

Thereafter the prime minister and the chiefs of Armed Forces receive the president and the chief guest.

The chief guest of the parade is the head of state of other nations. This year the Chief Guest was Kazhakstan President Nursultan Nazarbayev. The president hoists the national flag followed by the national anthem.

Every year a grand parade is held near the presidential palace. The parade starts at the palace and passes through the important landmarks of India's historical freedom struggle.

The armed forces' armory is displayed followed by the marching contingents. The President of India takes the salute from the armed forces. The armed forces, the Indian Army, Navy and the Air Force, march accoutered in their finest official attire. The parade also includes the display of tableaux from various states of India representing the diverse culture of India showing the unity in diversity.

The bravery award, for all those who demonstrated great courage from all walks of life, is presented. This year it was more special and emotional because of the recent terror attacks on Mumbai and the impeccable audacity and the endurance shown by NSG commandoes.

Keeping up with the fervency, the Indian Embassy in Seoul and the Indians celebrated their national festival.

Rohidas Arote, president of Indian Student Association, says "It always feels great to celebrate India even when away from home." His sentiments were echoed by many in the gathering. He has been celebrating every national festival with the Embassy for the past six years, when he joined Seoul National University.

Amb. Tayal hoisted the Indian national flag, also called Tiranga. Thereafter the national anthem was played. "I never thought it would be celebrated and was surprised to know about it. I have never missed the Republic Day celebration in India" asserted Kanhaiya Poddar who came to Korea University last fall.

After the national anthem the Ambassador read out the message of the President of India addressed to Indians world over. The message highlighted the principles of justice, transparency, pluralistic society, liberty and equality which have been the guiding force of the compassionate democracy in India.

Owing to crisis of confidence world over, triggered by actions of some credit and banking institutions, the President called for stricter regulations and stronger corporate governance. The President thanked the armed forces and internal security forces for the bravery shown for the safety and security of the nation. The President bespoke of immense pride on the emergence of unified and strong India which has kept the confidence of nation still alive.

The celebration was marked by playing a few patriotic songs. The songs were melodiously sung by the participants, which made quite a few people emotional. Another attendee, matter-of-factly, said "I have never visited any celebration in India but when you are away you realize and cherish such celebrations." Finally the celebration concluded with distribution of sweets and refreshments. The Ambassador and the Embassy staff played the perfect host, mingling with every attendee, enquiring about their stay and making sure they feel at home.

Republic Day is one of the three national festivals in India, when all Indians irrespective of their region, religion and language come together and celebrate. This day truly demonstrates the unity in diversity of India. The Indian Embassy provided a great opportunity for all Indians in Seoul to celebrate India. Getting chills after hearing the national anthem, feeling excessively proud of being Indian and misty eyes, attendees were experiencing it all. Isn't it that one becomes more emotional on hearing national anthem when far away from home?

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