Festivals, Dances, Theatre, Literature, Art in News

How Republic Day tableaux are designed and selected


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Republic Day celebration

Mains level : Not Much

Recently, West Bengal’s tableau for the Republic Day parade was rejected without assigning any reasons or justifications.

Who manages the R-Day Parade?

  • The Defence Ministry is the responsible authority for the Republic Day parade and the celebrations.
  • Around September, it invites all the states, the UTs, Central Government departments, and a few constitutional authorities to participate in the parade through tableaux.

Managing Tableaux

  • The Defence Ministry shares the basic guidelines about what all the tableaux can or should include.
  • The tableaux of two different states/ UTs cannot be too similar, as the tableaux, together, should showcase the diversity of the country.
  • The tableaux cannot have any writing or use of logos, except for the name of the state/ UT/ department, which should be written in Hindi on the front, English on the back, and a regional language on the sides.
  • The Ministry also asks the participants to use eco-friendly material for the tableaux, and avoid the use of plastic or plastic-based products.

How are the tableaux selected?

  • The selection process is elaborate and time-consuming.
  • The Defence Ministry constitutes an expert committee of distinguished persons from fields like art, culture, painting, sculpture, music, architecture, choreography, etc.

Process of selection

(1) Submission of sketches

  • First, the submitted sketches or designs of the proposals are scrutinised by this committee, which can make suggestions for any modifications in the sketch or design.
  • The sketch should be simple, colourful, easy to comprehend and should avoid unnecessary detail.
  • It should be self-explanatory, and should not need any written elaboration.

(2) Music and Visuals

  • If there is a traditional dance involved with the tableau, it should be a folk dance, and the costumes and musical instruments should be traditional and authentic.
  • The proposal should include a video clipping of the dance.

(3) 3D Models

  • Once approved, the next stage is for the participants to come up with three-dimensional models for their proposals.
  • These are again examined by the expert committee for final selection, taking in view several criteria.
  • In making the final selection the committee looks at a combination of factors, looking at the visual appeal, impact on the masses, idea/ theme of the tableaux, degree of detail involved.

Do they have to be of a particular size?

The Defence Ministry provides each participant with one tractor and one trailer, and the tableau should fit on that.

  • The ministry prohibits use of any additional tractor or trailer, or even any other vehicle to be part of it.
  • However, the participant can replace their ministry-provided tractor or trailer with other vehicles, but the total number should not be more than two vehicles.
  • The tractor has to be camouflaged in harmony with the tableau’s theme, and the ministry stipulates a distance of around six feet between the tractor and the trailer for turning and manoeuvering.
  • The dimensions of the trailer on which the tableau will be placed is 24 feet, 8 inches long; eight feet wide; four feet two inches high; with a load-bearing capacity of 10 tonnes.
  • The tableaux should not be more than 45 feet long, 14 feet wide and 16 feet high from the ground.

(Republic Day celebrations from this year will start on January 23 instead of January 24 to include the birth anniversary of Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose.)


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