Government of India, India, Republic Day, Stories

Data: Between 2005 & 2021, Tableau from Jammu & Kashmir was part of every Republic Day Parade except 2021


With multiple Chief Ministers writing to the PM expressing displeasure about their state’s tableau not being shortlisted for the Republic Day Parade, the entire process of selection & the issue of tableaux in general has attracted attention. But what does data tell us about the tableaux selection from states? We look at the data from 2005 to 2021. 

This year’s Republic Day Tableau selection process has been mired in controversy after the centre rejected the tableaux of West Bengal, Kerala and Tamil Nadu. While the leaders of the three states have expressed displeasure at the exclusion and sought PM Modi’s intervention, the government insisted that the selection was fair. But what does the data say about the selection of tableau proposals from various states over the years? Here is an analysis. 

Methodology: Data used in this analysis (from 2005 to 2018) is obtained through an RTI application by Factly to the Ministry of Defence. Data for the years 2019 to 2021 is sourced from the official press releases from the Press Information Bureau (PIB). The data pertains to only the final selected list of tableaux from states. Data about tableaux from central ministries/departments are not considered since it was incomplete. 

Since every state sends the tableau proposals on different themes, we have categorized the final selected list into the following broad themes.

  • State Speciality: Art forms like Dhokra art- a metal casting art of Jharkhand, Padayani- traditional folk dance of Kerala, etc. which are specific to a state are grouped in this category. All art forms and other specialties related to a specific state come under this category. 
  • History: Events and monuments depicting the Indian independence movement & other historical events come under this category. 
  • Culture & Heritage: Temples, ancient culture, ancient architectures come under this category. 
  • Personalities: Tableaux related to historical figures & well-known individuals are under this category.
  • Festivals: Tableaux depicting various festivals are under this category.
  • Environment: Tableaux depicting flora & fauna are under this category.
  • Development Work: Tableaux depicting various schemes of the governments are under this category. 

January 26 as the Republic Day of India

Though India became an independent nation on 15 August 1947, two weeks later, the Constituent Assembly set up a Drafting Committee under the Chairmanship of Dr. B. R. Ambedkar for drafting a permanent Constitution for Independent India. The Constitution was adopted by the Constituent Assembly on 26 November 1949 and came into force on 26 January 1950 with Dr. Rajendra Prasad unfurling the National Flag after a salute of 21 guns. 

India declared itself a Sovereign, Democratic Republic state with the adoption of the Constitution on January 26, 1950.

It was on 26 January, in 1930 that the Indian Tri-colour Flag was first unfurled in Lahore by Jawaharlal Nehru, and the declaration of Purna Swaraj or complete self-rule was made by the Indian National Congress. On the same day in 1965, the Official Languages Act came into force which made Hindi along with English the official languages of the Union Government.


Defence Ministry is responsible for the Republic Day Celebrations

The Ministry of Defence is primarily responsible for the conduct of national functions like the Republic Day Parade (RDP), Beating Retreat Ceremony, etc. in coordination with various executing agencies. Like in 2021, there will be no Chief Guest this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. This is the 12th such occasion without a chief guest. Factly has developed a detailed dashboard on the Republic Day Chief Guest since 1950. 

The Republic Day ceremony starts with wreath-laying by the Prime Minister at Amar Jawan Jyoti at India Gate followed by a 21-gun salute. On 21 January 2022, the flame at Amar Jawan Jyoti was merged with the eternal flame at National War Memorial. 

Then, the President unfurls the National Flag, and the National Anthem is played. The Republic Day Parade starts after this. On 29th January, the Beating Retreat ceremony, held at Vijay Chowk officially denotes the end of Republic Day festivities.


Selection of Tableaux involves a lengthy process

Every year, the Ministry of Defence begins the selection process by writing letters to all the  Chief Secretaries/Administrators of state governments & union territories, central government departments, and a few constitutional authorities to participate in the parade through tableaux. 

A select number of tableaux from State Governments/UT/Central Ministries/Departments participate in the Republic Day Parade in New Delhi. Due to time constraints arising out of the overall duration of the parade, only a limited number of tableaux are shortlisted for participation in the parade. The military parade is followed by a cultural parade that involves tableaux and cultural performances from various states.

As per Ministry of Defence guidelines, the suggestive theme for the preparation of Tableaux is:

  • Any important event from the history of the State/Union Territory.
  • Festivals
  • Cultural/architectural heritage aspect of the life of the people
  • Social and economic development scheme, project, or an achievement
  • Environment
  • Vision for the future

Culture & Heritage is the most common theme

Culture & Heritage is the most common theme among all the Republic Day Tableaux from states since 2005. 30% of all the tableaux are based on Culture & Heritage followed by State Speciality at 22%. Festivals as a theme were in 17% of all tableaux. These include Kerala’s Onam, Pooram, Navratri of Gujarat, Bonalu of Telangana, etc.

Development Works of various states like Beti Bachao Beti Padhao of Haryana, Fish economy of Goa were also showcased over the years. Personalities theme-based tableaux like Bhagat Singh-Punjab, SD Burman-Tripura, and Environment theme-based tableaux like Valley of flowers of Uttarakhand, Meghalaya’s Butterflies were common in around 9% of all the Republic Day tableaux of states between 2005 and 2021.

Andaman & Nicobar Islands Cellular Jail, Dandi March of Gujarat, Quit India Movement, Jallianwala Bagh which depicts the Indian freedom movement formed the History category. History as a theme was least preferred by states. In the 17 years between 2005 & 2021, it was showcased only 13 times during seven republic day events. 

Jammu & Kashmir is the most represented State/UT since 2005

Except in 2021, Jammu & Kashmir is the only state whose Tableau was part of every Republic Day parade since 2005. However, Ladakh’s tableau was selected in 2021. Ladakh was part of the erstwhile Jammu & Kashmir state. Most of its tableaux were based on Culture & Heritage, State Specialty, and Development Work-related themes. Karnataka, which is the second most represented state, preferred Culture & Heritage as its theme most times, followed by State Speciality and Personality.  Except in 2007 and 2008, Karnataka’s tableau was part of every Republic Day ceremony.

Next in line is Assam, Chhattisgarh, Maharashtra whose tableaux were part of the Republic Day parade for 14, 13 and 12 years respectively. Tableaux of Nagaland was part of the RDP only once in 2012 in the 17 years between 2005 & 2021. Union Territories Lakshadweep, Chandigarh and Andaman & Nicobar Islands showcased their tableaux only on two instances.

Most numbers of Tableaux (18) were selected in 2007

The data shows that the greatest number of tableaux belonging to 18 different states were selected in the year 2007. A total of 17 were selected in 2016, 2017 and 2021. In the year 2009, only 12 tableaux were selected, the lowest for any year. On average, 15 tableaux were selected each year.

Prizes for best Tableaux

A few days after the Republic Day ceremony, the government announces prizes for the best three tableaux. In 2021, the tableau of Uttar Pradesh which was based on the theme “Ayodhya: Cultural Heritage of Uttar Pradesh” was awarded the first prize, Tableau of Tripura which showcased eco-friendly traditions for achieving self-reliance in socio-economic parameters and the tableau of Uttarakhand with ‘Dev Bhoomi’ – ‘The Land of the Gods’ theme were adjudged second &  third-best among 32 tableaux from states, UTs and central departments. 

Featured Image: Republic Day Parade


About Author

Sai Santosh is an engineer by education and a liberal by conviction. He is a Sudoku junkie and meditates through solving the Rubik’s Cube. He is passionate about public policy and advocates for social justice.

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