HYDERABAD: Telangana celebrated the 71st Republic Day with the main official celebration undergoing a drastic change not just in the venue but also in its format.
There was no march past, no parade review by the chief guest, no tableaux or cultural programmes by school children.
In a departure from the past when Republic Day celebrations used to be held at sprawling Parade Grounds in Secunderabad, the celebrations were organized in the historic Public Gardens, adjacent to State Assembly in the heart of the city.
Governor Tamilisai Soundararajan unfurled the national flag in the presence of Chief Minister K. Chandrashekhar Rao, his cabinet colleagues and senior officials.
This was the first Republic Day celebration for Soundararajan after taking over as the governor.
Unlike in the past when the ceremony used to take at least two hours, the formalities this time were completed in just 35-minutes including governor’s 25-minute speech.
The parade, comprising only five contingents, presented salute to the governor on her arrival, followed by flag hoisting and contingents marching off.
The ceremony was held in Public Garden, Hyderabad’s oldest park built-in 1846 by Sixth Nizam Mir Mahboob Ali Khan, the ruler of then Hyderabad State. It was organized in the backdrop of Jubliee Hall, considered an architectural masterpiece and built in 1913 during the reign of Seventh Nizam Mir Osman Ali Khan.
The venue was shifted following the decision of Chief Minister K. Chandrashekhar Rao that the Independence Day, Republic Day and State Formation Day celebrations be held in a place that would not cause any inconvenience to the people.
After formation of Telangana State in 2014, Rao had shifted the venue of Independence Day parade from Parade Grounds to historic Golconda Fort to highlight the rich cultural heritage of Telangana.
The Republic Day parade this time comprised just five contingents of Telangana Special Police, the Army and the Indian Air Force.
In the past, the governor used to stand in an open top vehicle to review the parade involving several contingents on the sprawling Parade Ground. The celebrations earlier involved participation of several contingents from various police wings, National Cadet Corps (NCC), National Service Scheme (NSS) and schools.
Several tableaux from various government departments also used to be part of the celebrations to highlight various government schemes.
The students from various government-run schools used to participate in cultural programmes. Officials said they have done away with the practice to save them from the inconvenience.
The governor, in her speech, said Telangana successfully overcame innumerable challenges under the visionary leadership of its Chief Minister Chandrashekhar Rao.
“Within a short period, the State had achieved great successes in several sectors and became a role model for the entire country. The State had also built strong foundations during its course of achievement of the goals in the last six years. The Telangana State is marching ahead on the path of development with lots of positive attitudes and renewed confidence,” she said.