The 26th of January, 1950 was a red letter day in the history of the Indian nation. It was on that day that we, the people of India, proclaimed ourselves to be a Republic. Two days earlier, on 24 January 1950, we also gave unto ourselves the Constitution of free India. Fifty years down the lane, the Republic of India stands tall and proud among the comity of nations as the world’s largest democracy. To mark the 50th Anniversary of the Republic, a function was held on 27 January 2000 in the Central Hall of Parliament House. The function commenced with the playing of the National Anthem. Subsequently, the Speaker, Lok Sabha, Shri G.M.C. Balayogi released the Special Commemorative Plaque brought out by the Lok Sabha Secretariat. The Plaque carried the logo of the 50th anniversary of the Republic and a replica of the Parliament House. Later, the Prime Minister, Shri Atal Bihari Vajpayee released the calligraphed copy of the Constitution of India in Hindi. Excerpts from the historic speeches of Dr. Rajendra Prasad, Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru, Dr. B.R. Ambedkar and Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel were then relayed along with visuals. After that, the Vice-President of India and Chairman, Rajya Sabha, Shri Krishan Kant released a Special Commemorative Stamp brought out by the Ministry of Communications to mark the 50th Anniversary of the Republic. Thereafter, the National Song Vande Mataram was sung by two eminent vocalists. Later,
an album of Jana Gana Mana was released by the President of India, Shri K.R. Narayanan. The President, the Vice-President, the Prime Minister and the Lok Sabha Speaker also addressed the distinguished gathering at the function which concluded with the singing of the National Anthem by a group of music maestros. We include in this issue of the Journal the texts of the Addresses delivered by the dignitaries on the historic occasion.
The Indian Parliament can justifiably be proud of having in its Chambers outstanding parliamentarians who have contributed substantially towards strengthening a parliamentary culture in our country. With a view to recognizing the contributions of such eminent parliamentarians, the Indian Parliamentary Group, in 1995, instituted an Outstanding Parliamentarian Award to be given every year. A function to confer the Outstanding Parliamentarian Awards for the years 1997 and 1998 on Shri Pranab Mukherjee and Shri S. Jaipal Reddy, respectively, was held on 17 December 1999 in the Central Hall of Parliament House. The Vice-President of India and Chairman, Rajya Sabha, Shri Krishan Kant presented the Awards to Shri Mukherjee and Shri Reddy. The function was addressed by the Vice-President, Shri Krishan Kant; the Prime Minister, Shri Atal Bihari Vajpayee ; and the Speaker, Lok Sabha,
Shri G.M.C. Balayogi. Shri Pranab Mukherjee and Shri Jaipal Reddy also spoke on the occasion. The texts of the Addresses delivered by the dignitaries at the function are included in this issue of the Journal.