15th August every year is celebrated as Independence day. India received freedom from the oppressive rule of the British Empire in 1947 and the Indian national flag was hoisted by the first Prime Minister of Independent India, Pt. Jawaharlal Nehru above the Lahori Gate of Red Fort in Delhi. This year marks the 75th anniversary of the culmination of our freedom struggle. This day is celebrated across the nation with much ardour and pride, with people coming together to remember the sacrifices of our freedom fighters and leaders who dedicated their lives to liberate our nation.
The Indian freedom fighters started many movements that in some way or the other helped broke the shackles of slavery after 90 years. From the Revolt of 1857 to sepoy mutiny, there were many movements that were a major benchmark in the fight against Britishers. We owe this freedom to our valiant freedom fighters who didn’t hesitate for once to give up their lives, just so their future generations can breathe the free air of India.
As we commemorate the occasion, let us take a look at the history and significance of this date
History of Independence Day:
The British had ruled over India for almost two centuries, starting from 1757. The British Empire first set foot in India through its trading company called The East India Company in Surat, Gujarat, in 1619. Their rule became oppressive and sowed the seeds of rebellion in the minds of Indians. Leaders and freedom fighters like Mahatma Gandhi, Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose, and Bhagat Singh heralded the freedom struggle across the nation.
The Indian self-rule movement was a mass-based movement that encompassed various sections of society. It also underwent a process of constant ideological evolution. Once Indians decided to be free of British Raj, the firangis had no option but to leave the country, however, it was not easy. Lord Mountbatten had been given a mandate by the British parliament to transfer the power by June 30, 1948. Watching the impatience of the people, Mountbatten knew, if he had waited till June 1948, in C Rajagopalachari’s memorable words, there would have been no power left to transfer, which is why he advanced the date to August 1947.
It was not easy for the Britishers to give up power and accept the defeat, so they camouflaged it in the name of stopping the bloodshed. Mountbatten claimed that by advancing the date, he was ensuring that there will be no bloodshed or riot. Although he was proven wrong later. He tried to justify himself saying, “wherever colonial rule has ended, there has been bloodshed. That is the price you pay.”
Significance Of August 15
The Indian Independence Bill was introduced in the British House of Commons on July 4, 1947, and passed within 15 days. On August 15, 1947, the British rule over India ended and marked history. Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru unfurled the tricolour from the Red Fort in Delhi for the first time. Thereafter, every year on Independence Day, the national flag is hoisted at the Red Fort by the incumbent Prime Minister followed by an address to the nation.
This year, the theme of the celebrations would be ‘Nation First, Always First‘. The Olympians who won medals at the Tokyo Olympics would get special invites for the event.