• The flag is hoisted on Independence Day from the bottom of the flag post to the top to mark the country’s independence from British rule.
  • The flag is is tied on the top of the flag post and unfurled on Republic Day, indicating that the country is already independent.
  • The PM hoists the flag on I-Day as the head of the government as there was no President in 1947. Since India became a Republic on January 26, 1950, the President is the constitutional head and unfurls the flag on R-Day.

It is Republic Day today and is celebrated across the country with all pageantry and splendour. The main celebration is held in the national capital, New Delhi, at the Rajpath before the President of India.

Like every year, this year too, the President will preside over the parade and celebrations, albeit muted in the wake of the pandemic’s third wave due to the Omicron variant. Covid-19 has played spoilsport for yet another year as the Centre had to reportedly cancel the plans to have any foreign chief guests. The government had earlier sent invitations to the Heads of State of five Central Asian countries to be the chief guests for the Republic Day Parade 2022. Last year, an invitation was sent to British Prime Minister Boris Johnson. However, he had to cancel his visit, citing the need to oversee pandemic response in the United Kingdom.

January 26th is also the ‘Poorna Swaraj Diwas’ — the day Indian National Congress declared as ‘Independence Day’ in 1930. Post the actual Independence in August 1947, January 26 was chosen to mark Republic Day. 

Speaking of Independence and Republic Days, did you know that the Indian flag is ‘hoisted’ on Independence Day on August 15, and ‘unfurled’ on Republic Day on January 26? The difference is that on Independence Day, the flag is tied to the bottom of the flag pole and is ‘hoisted’ to the top. This is to mark India’s rise as an independent country and the end of British rule. On Republic Day, the flag is tied to the top of the flag pole and is ‘unfurled’ indicating an open era for the country to spread its wings as a Republic.

Furthermore, it is the Prime Minister who hoists the flag on Independence Day, whereas it is the President who unfurls the flag on January 26. This is because when the country became independent on August 15, 1947, there was no President and it was the Prime Minister who was the head of the Indian government. However, on January 26, 1950, Dr Rajendra Prasad took oath as the first president of India and became the ceremonial head of state.

The Indian flag is based on the one designed by freedom fighter Pingali Venkayya, who presented it to Mahatma Gandhi during his visit to Vijayawada on April 1, 1921. Subsequently, some changes were made to the original design and the tricolour in its present form was adopted on July 22, 1947. Fun fact: India is the world’s largest democracy and its all-encompassing Constitution is the world’s longest constitution.