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Bombay State tableau was showcased during 1st R-Day celebrations in Delhi: Mumbai family

New Delhi, Jan 26 (PTI) A tableau of the then Bombay State was showcased during the first Republic Day celebrations held in New Delhi, and it depicted cultural diversity, sea port, built heritage and cinema of the region, according to a Mumbai-based architect, whose parents were part of the provincial troupe.

Audrey Baptista D’Souza, a resident of Vile Parle, and an archive enthusiast, said, she got to know about the event through old family pictures and oral history shared by her mother who was in her early 20s when she took part in it.

Ahead of the 73rd Republic Day celebrations on Rajpath, D’Souza shared some of the rare, black and white photographs from her family album on a Facebook group of old Bombay aficionados, and captioned them: “Daddy n Mummy in the tableau representing the state of Bombay in Delhi in the 1st Republic Day, 26th January 1950”.

“My parents, Edwin Baptista and Rose Baptista, had gone to attend this historic event in Delhi as a committed couple, and would get married, ten yeas later in 1960. Though my father, who was born in 1926, died at a relatively younger age in 1983, my mother would tell me stories about the first Republic Day celebrations and of Bombay tableau, as it was called Bombay State then,” she said.

The current state of Maharashtra was born on May 1, 1960, evolving out of the Bombay Presidency, which was one of the key regions of India, during the British rule.

Bombay Presidency, a part of western coast of India, came under the British East India Company in 17th century and prior to that the region was under the Portuguese rule.

It later became Bombay Province and then Bombay State after Independence, which at that time included Gujarat too.

Two different states of Maharashtra and Gujarat were formed from Bombay State after the enactment of the Bombay Reorganisation Act, 1960.

On Wednesday, both Maharashtra and Gujarat presented their tableaux. While Maharastra one depicted it’s biodiversity and five bio-symbols, Gujarat float portrayed the tribal freedom movement in the region that took place 100 years ago.

D’Souza, born in early 60s, who has seen the Republic Day parade on Rajpath multiple times on television, said, “I got to see pictures of my parents’ participation in the Republic Day celebrations, as a child, much before the advent of TV. I feel very nostalgic and proud to see those old pictures, which also tell the story of Bombay that was before the birth of Maharashtra”.

Among the pictures shared by her on social media, which she said, she had got scanned a few years ago from original prints, there is one in which Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru and Indira Gandhi can be seen, looking at tableau, while a group of artistes are standing on the top deck of the float.

“Edwin Baptista and Rose Baptista, my parents,  can be seen standing on the deck. My father wore a suit and a bow-tie and my mother next to her, they represented the Christian community of Bombay, then there were those who represented the Koli community, ethnic Marathi community and Muslim community in their traditional dresses. The tableau showcased the cultural diversity of Bombay,” she added.

“My mother used to tell me, there were some people who were from theatre background as well, who were part of the Bombay troupe,” she said.

As seen in the monochrome images, on the outside of the tableau, tastefully decorated with motifs borrowed from architectural heritage of the region, were depicted a huge ship, sea port, signifying Bombay’s position as a thriving port city; a model of a church, two old-style vehicles, and a film crew with a camera next to the sea, highlighting its significance as the cinema capital of India, or home of Bollywood, as it is called now.

D’Souza when asked, if the year the pictures were taken was marked on the old photos, said, “No, it isn’t. But, my mom had told me, it was from the first R-Day event”.

However, the first Republic Day celebrations were not held on Rajpath, but at Irwin Amphitheatre (now National Stadium).

The historical Rajpath avenue has over time become synonymous with the Republic Day anniversary ceremony, but the boulevard that runs from Rashtrapati Bhavan on Raisina Hill through Vijay Chowk and India Gate was not the venue of first celebrations marking the birth of the Republic.

Exactly 72 years ago, after having thrown off the British colonial yoke, a free India assumed the mantle of a “Sovereign Democratic Republic” on January 26, and an amphitheatre named after an erstwhile Viceroy, became the venue for the festivities after the country got its first President.

In 1951, the celebrations to mark the first anniversary of the Republic Day were held on Rajpath, and the tradition has continued ever since. PTI KND RCJ RCJ

This report is auto-generated from PTI news service. ThePrint holds no responsibility for its content.


Source: The Print

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