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28 Aug

Why was January 26 chosen to be India's Republic Day?

On December 31, 1929, Nehru hoisted the Tricolour on the banks of the Ravi river and demanded "Poorna Swaraj" or complete self-rule, and the date set for independence was January 26, 1930.

January 26, 1950, marked India's Constitution's adoption, and it became a republic. January 26, 1950, was chosen because it marked an important moment in India's struggle to be free from British rule.

Why was January 26 chosen to be India's Republic Day?

Lahore hosted in 1929 the Indian National Congress session. Jawaharlal Naehru was its president. Subhash Chandra Bose and Nehru were working together to fight those in Congress who wanted to accept 'dominion' status. This would have meant that the British monarch would remain the head of government.

Nehru raised the Tricolour at the Ravi riverbanks on December 31, 1929. He demanded that the Tricolour be "Poorna Swaraj," or total self-rule. The date for independence was January 26, 3030. For the next 17 years, Poorna Swaraj Day was celebrated on that day. Congress adopted the Poorna Swaraj resolution, or the Declaration of Independence, on January 26, 1930. 


We believe it is an inalienable human right for Indians, just like any other people, that they have freedom, the ability to work hard, and the means to live a full life. This will allow them to grow. We also believe that any government can deprive a person of these rights or oppress them, and they have the right to change it or abolish it. The British government in India has taken away the freedom of Indians and based itself on the exploitation and destruction of the masses. Therefore, we believe that India should cut all ties with Britain and achieve Purna Swaraj (or complete independence). .....

It is a crime against God and man to continue to follow a rule that has led to this fourfold disaster in our country's history. However, we recognize that nonviolence is the best way to gain our freedom. Therefore, we will withdraw as much voluntary association as possible from the British government and prepare for civil disobedience, including non-payment of taxes. We believe that we can only withdraw our voluntary hold and stop paying taxes without resorting to violence even when provoked. We at this moment resolve to follow the instructions of Congress from time to time to establish Purna Swaraj.

Poorna Swaraj Day is now Republic Day.

The British set August 15 as India's independence in 1947. This was chosen to coincide with the second anniversary when Japanese forces surrendered to the Allies after World War II. 

Ramachandra Guha, the historian, notes that freedom finally arrived on a day that was infused with imperial pride and not nationalist sentiment.

Many felt it was important to commemorate the adoption of the Constitution of India on November 26 1949, as a day of national pride.

Poorna Swaraj Day was the best choice - January 26. Since then, it has been celebrated as the country's Republic Day.