India’s Republic Day celebrations in the national capital will be held under the shadow of raging protests against laws passed by the Centre. In 2020, it was the agitation against the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA). This time, thousands of farmers, mostly from Punjab and Haryana, have been camping at the borders of Delhi for more than two months, demanding the Centre repeal the three farm laws. 2021 India’s Republic Day Parade will also be the first major public event in pandemic times.
And keeping in mind social distancing, the size of marching contingents has been reduced from 144 to 96. The gravity-defying stunts by motorcycle-borne men also did not make the cut. The parade will also be shorter this year. Instead of marching up to the Red Fort, the parade will end at National Stadium. Tableaux will be allowed to perform at Red Fort.
Among the 32 tableaux in the parade, the Union Territory of Ladakh will be participating for the first time. It will showcase the Indian Astronomical Observatory, located at Hanle near Leh, one of the world’s highest sites for optical, infrared and gamma-ray telescopes.