Happy Republic Day!

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From: Rohit Khare (rohit@uci.edu)
Date: Wed Jan 26 2000 - 10:12:40 PST

This event took place on January 26, 1950

India a Republic, Prasad President
Proclamation and Induction Implement Sovereignty and Sever Ties With British

Two-Day National Holiday

By Robert Trumbull
Special to The New York Times

New Delhi, Jan. 25 -- The proclamation of the Republic of India and
the induction of the first President, Dr. Rajendra Prasad, will be
marked by a two-day national holiday.

At the moment the office of Governor General ceases, a line of
forty-nine occupants, going back to Warren Hastings, will end. The
Governors General have included some of the brightest names in the
British Empire's history.

The event also significantly alters the complexion of the
Commonwealth, whose largest member, with about one-sixth of the
earth's population, will no longer recognize the King of Great
Britain as its sovereign. The Republic of India will, however,
continue to accept the King as the symbolic head of the Commonwealth
of Nations.

British Insignias Removed

The British arms and the royal crown have already been removed from
the public buildings, except the two crowns that tower over the
immense secretariat buildings opposite Government House on New
Delhi's highest eminence. How to dislodge these ornaments, weighing
two tons each, without the risk that they would crash through the
secretariat roof, has baffled Indian engineers. The other crowns have
been replaced by a symbolic Asoka pillar.

The pillar of Asoka, recalling the great Buddhist Emperor whose reign
began in 274 B. C., will replace the crown on police and service
flags and on uniform insignia. At the same time the prefix "royal"
will be dropped from the designations of the Indian army, navy and
air force. New currency and stamps of Indian design will be issued.

Assumption of the status of a "sovereign democratic republic" brings
in to force the new Constitution, which abolishes untouchability and
includes the most detailed document of fundamental rights of any
constitution. All present laws in conflict with the Constitution are
automatically repealed.

India's nine Governors' Provinces, eleven Chief Commissioners'
Provinces and eight Princely States and Unions, will be known as
States under the new Constitution.

A Governor will continue to be called His Excellency, and a Maharajah
His Highness, although the Chief of State will be addressed simply as
Mr. President. But no more titles may be accepted by Indian nationals
except in cases of hereditary princes whose honors are guaranteed by
a covenant with the Central Government.

Jan. 26 was chosen for the inauguration of the republic because on
that date twenty years ago the Indian National Congress, now the
governing party, issued a pledge that India must become completely
free and independent of British rule.

Dr. Prasad, four times president of the Congress, will be head of
state until the first general elections are held. These are
tentatively scheduled for next winter. Meanwhile, the present
assembly will be a provisional Parliament and will hold its first
meeting as such on Saturday when the President will read his first
formal message.
Territorial readjustments between the various units that will
constitute the Indian Republic were announced today.

There are hundreds of small enclaves consisting of villages, towns
and forest areas belonging to one unit but situated in a neighboring
territory, thus creating serious administrative difficulties. The
States Ministry announcement said that all such bits of land would be
absorbed by the unit in which they are situated. For instance, these
adjustments will involve the merger of 110 Hyderabad State villages
with Bombay Province and the taking over of ninety-three Bombay
Province villages by the Hyderabad Government.

There are about 1,600 enclaves, ranging in area from a few square
yards to several square miles.

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