India becomes a republic.
A public holiday was declared throughout the country, and millions of people celebrated with processions and ceremonies to hoist the new flag of India for the first time.
India had been running her own affairs since the actual transfer of power from British to Indian hands on August 15 1947. In the capital, Delhi, the day began with the 34th and last Governor-General of India, Chakravarti Rajagopalachari, reading out a proclamation announcing the birth of the Republic of India. The new President, Dr Rajendra Prasad, then took the oath of office.
Dr Prasad served for 12 years as India''s president, retiring in 1962. He died in February 1963.
Jawaharlal Nehru became India''s first elected prime minister in the first general election in 1952. He governed until his death in 1964, and remains a towering figure in India''s early political history. India is now a regional superpower, with nuclear capability and a burgeoning middle class.
| JOY: Students hold Indian national flags as they perform during Republic Day celebrations in Bangalore