Between 2005 and 2023, 285 state tableaux that took part in the Republic Day Parade on varied themes. Culture & Heritage was the most common theme with over 28% of the tableaux choosing this theme. Of the states, Jammu & Kashmir’s tableau was part of the parade in 18 of these 19 years except in 2021.
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 declaring India a Sovereign, Democratic and Republic state. Since then, every year, on 26 January, the nation celebrates Republic Day with great patriotic fervour. A series of events are organized in the national capital, New Delhi about which this story by Factly has explained in detail.
Among other events, a cultural parade that involves tableaus and cultural performances from various states is held from Raisina Hill (near the President’s residence- Rashtrapati Bhavan), along Rajpath (now known as Kartavya Path), past India Gate. These tableaus depict state festivals, art, historical locations, flora and fauna, development works, personalities, and culture among others. In this story, we look at the historical trends in state tableaux. Data for this story has been taken from Factly’s Dataful portal.
Ministry of Defence is primarily responsible for conducting national functions on Republic Day
The Ministry of Defence is primarily responsible for the conduct of national functions like the Republic Day Parade (RDP), the Beating Retreat Ceremony in coordination with various executing agencies. The Ministry starts the selection process for tableaux 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. Relevant guidelines like theme, dimensions, facilities provided, initiatives to be included, etc. are provided in the letter.
Long and complex process is involved in the selection of tableaux for cultural parade on Republic Day
The states/UTs, ministries and departments send in their proposals with sketches and write-ups. An expert committee constituted by the Ministry of Defence consisting of prominent persons in the field of art, culture, painting, sculpture, music, architecture, choreography, etc. evaluate the proposals and put forth their recommendations. Once the committee approves the proposals, participants come up with three-dimensional models of their proposals. These models are yet again examined by the committee for final selection. Visual appeal, impact, idea/theme, detailing, involvement of local artisans and music are some of the parameters that the committee looks out for.
Annually, an average of 15 tableaux are selected from states, proportionately based on geographic zone
The selection process is long and generally takes around 6 to 7 rounds of meetings among the committee members. 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. For instance, in 2022, only 12 out of 29 proposals from states/UTs were selected whereas, in 2021, 17 out of 27 proposals were shortlisted for the final parade.
Moreover, the selection of tableaux from States/UTs is made on a zonal basis. States/UTs are categorized into six zones, namely Northern Zone, Central Zone, Eastern Zone, Western Zone, Southern Zone, and Northeastern Zone. Usually, about 15 tableaux from States/UTs are selected for the Republic Day parade, based on the proportionate ratio of each zone.
On an average, there were 15 state tableaux in the parade between 2005 and 2023. Only 12 state tableaux were part of the parade in 2009 and 2022 while there were 18 in 2007.
Themes in state tableaux have been categorized into 7 broad areas
For analysing the themes in the state tableaux in Republic Day parades, we have categorized the themes chosen by the tableaux which were part of the final selected list into the following broad themes.
- State Speciality: All art forms and other specialties related to a specific state come under this category. For instance, art forms like Jammu and Kashmir’s Pashmina, Dhokra art of Jharkhand, and Padayani- the traditional folk dance of Kerala, etc. which are specific to a state have been grouped into this category.
- History: Events and monuments depicting the Indian independence movement & other historical events come under this category.
- Culture & Heritage: Temples, ancient culture, and ancient architectures fall in this category.
- Personalities: Tableaux related to historical figures & well-known individuals have been categorised under this category.
- Festivals: This category includes tableaux depicting various festivals such as Prabhala Theertham of Andhra Pradesh, Onam of Kerala, etc.
- Environment: Tableaux depicting flora & fauna are under this category.
- Development Work: Tableaux depicting various schemes of the governments fall in this category.
Culture and Heritage is the most popularly used theme in the tableaux from states
Of the 285 state tableaux that took part in the parade between 2005 and 2023, culture & heritage was the most common theme with over 28% of the tableaux falling in this category- Pattadakal of Karnataka, and Kotumsar Caves of Chhattisgarh are a few examples. Not far behind, tableaux falling under the theme of state specialty such as Navratri of Gujarat, West Bengal’s Durga Puja, etc. accounted for 25% of the total tableaux sent by states. Together, the two themes account for 53% of the state tableaux.
Under the category of Development Works, schemes like Beti Bachao Beti Padhao from Haryana and Meghalaya’s Bamboo Drip Irrigation were also showcased over the years. This category accounted for 11%. Festivals accounted for another 15%.
Tableaux based on personalities like Mahatma Gandhi (from various states/UTs), Bhagat Singh from Punjab, and SD Burman from Tripura accounted for 8% and environment theme-based tableaux like Valley of Flowers of Uttarakhand, Meghalaya’s Butterflies accounted for 7%. Some tableaux based on History include Champaran Satyagraha from Bihar, 1857’s revolt from UP & Haryana, etc. Such tableaux constituted 6% of the total number between 2005 & 2023.
Jammu and Kashmir’s Tableau has been part of every Republic Day Parade except in 2021
Except in 2021, Jammu & Kashmir is the only state whose Tableau has been part of every Republic Day parade since 2005. Ladakh’s tableau was selected in 2021. Ladakh was part of the erstwhile Jammu & Kashmir state. Of the 20 appearances of Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh, 6 were based on development work, 6 on state specialty, and 5 on culture & heritage.
Karnataka has had its tableaux appear 17 times between 2005 & 2023, except in 2007 and 2009. Of these 17occasions, 7 tableaux were based on culture & heritage and 5 on state specialty. Assam has showcased 15 tableaux while Chhattisgarh and Maharashtra showcased 14 times each.
On the other hand, Nagaland has had only one appearance in the 19 years considered. Telangana appeared twice since its formation in 2014. UTs of Lakshadweep, Chandigarh, and Andaman & Nicobar Islands showcased their tableaux only on two instances.
Best tableaux are announced a few days after the parade
A few days after the parade, awards are announced to the top 3 tableaux based on a panel’s judgement and based on an online poll. Three panels of judges were appointed for assessing the performance of tableaux from various States/UTs and Ministries/Departments, as well as other events. Based on the assessment of the panels, the Best three Tableaux from States/UTs for 2023 were Uttarakhand (Manaskhand), Maharashtra (Sade Tin Shaktipithe & Nari Shakti) and Uttar Pradesh (Ayodhya Deepotsav) in that order.
However, based on the online poll for the popular choice that was conducted between 25 to 28 January 2023 on the MyGov web page, the best three tableaux in order were Gujarat (Clean-Green energy efficient Gujarat), Uttar Pradesh (Ayodhya Deepotsava), and Maharashtra (Sade tin Shaktipithe and Nari Shakti).
Featured Image: Republic Day Parade