India’s 72nd Republic Day Celebrated in India, DC and Houston

New Delhi: The annual Republic Day celebrations began in the national capital under the shadow of Covid-19 and farmers protests. The protesting farmers who are seeking repeal of the contentious farm bills passed last year breached the Delhi borders and entered the capital.

The National Flag was unfurled at Rajpath in the presence of President Ramnath Kovind, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Vice President Venkaiah Naidu. The Republic Day parade saw a total of 32 tableaux — 17 of various states and UTs, nine of ministries and six from the defence arm — at Rajpath.

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.

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.

Washington DC: The 72nd Republic Day of India was celebrated in Washington D.C. with a flag-hoisting ceremony on 26th January, 2021 at the India House. Members of the Indian community joined the celebrations in large numbers virtually, in view of the local public health guidelines due to COVID 19.

Ambassador of India, H.E. Taranjit Singh Sandhu, unfurled the tricolor, which was followed by singing of the National Anthem. In his remarks to the community, Ambassador complimented them for their work during the pandemic and their role in bringing India and the US closer. He said that the Indian Government “looks forward to working with the new Administration, led by President Joseph Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris. From outer space to nanotechnology, from the Indo-Pacific to climate change, from healthcare to education & IT, there is a recognition, that our partnership can benefit, not just our two nations, but the entire world.”

The address by the Hon’ble President of India on the eve of Republic Day was played. This was followed by a short cultural program involving local artist and rendition of patriotic songs by students of Gandharva School of Music, Richmond and a violin recital by Mr. Kamalakiran Vinjamuru.

Houston: Consul General Aseem Mahajan unfurled the Indian flag at the Consulate on Scotland Street at 9 am in front of the staff and a small gathering of community leaders due to Covid-19 restrictions.

CG Mahajan read President’s Kovind Republic Day address. This was followed by a short cultural program featuring Pandit Suman Ghosh, the Bhatt sisters and students from the University of Houston and Rice University.

Later in the day, CG Mahajan presided over flag hoistings at Indian House and the Gujarati Samaj of Houston.

In the evening, CG Mahajan hosted a reception at his residence with special guests Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner and Fort Bend County Judge KP George. TV personality Manisha Gandhi served as the emcee.

Vir Chakra Award Winners for Bravery

New Delhi: Colonel B Santosh Babu, who was killed fighting Chinese troops in the Galwan Valley in eastern Ladakh in June last year, will be awarded the Maha Vir Chakra on the occasion of the 72nd Republic Day on January 26.

Col. Babu, the commanding officer of the 16 Bihar regiment, was among 20 Indian soldiers who laid down their lives in the fierce hand-to-hand combat on June 15 in the Galwan Valley, an incident that marked one of the most serious military conflicts between the two sides in decades.

Another Galwan martyr, Sepoy Gurtej Singh of 3 Punjab, is also among the awardees.

Soldiers who have performed outstanding deeds of bravery and selfless sacrifice are awarded the bravery medals, such as Param Vir Chakra, Vir Chakra, Maha Vir Chakra, Shaurya Chakra, Kirti Chakra and Ashok Chakra on Republic Day.

Here’s the full list of the other Chakra awardees.

Col Bikumalla Santosh Babu (16 BIHAR): Maha Vir Chakra (Posthumously)

Sub Sanjiv Kumar (4 PARA (SF): Kirti Chakra (Posthumously)

Nb Sub Nuduram Soren (16 BIHAR) : Vir Chakra (Posthumously)

Hav K Palani (81 Field): Vir Chakra (Posthumously)

Hav Tejinder Singh (3 Medium): Vir Chakra

Nk Deepak Singh (16 Bihar): Vir Chakra (Posthumously)

Sep Gurtej Singh (3 Punjab): Vir Chakra (Posthumously)

Maj Anuj Sood (21 RR): Shaurya Chakra (Posthumously)

Rfn Pranab Jyoti Das (6 Assam Rifles): Shaurya Chakra

PTR Sonam Tshering Tamang (4 Para (SF)): Shaurya Chakra