15th August, 1947 marked the end of colonial rule, and India began on a journey of self-governance. Ever since, the day has been celebrated with much festivity and pride. While most of us know the essential history of the country’s freedom struggle, here are some facts that need to be remembered this Independence Day.
- Why 15th August? The day 15th August was chosen to be Independence Day by Viceroy Lord Mountbatten. This was to commemorate Japan’s surrender to the Allied Forces in 1945. Lord Mountbatten had himself accepted Japan’s surrender, and that might have been the reason he chose this date.
- Other Significant Events Bahrain, Congo, and South Korea share their independence day with India. Panama City was formed on the same day as well.
- Tiranga The Tiranga is designed by Pingali Venkayya, a freedom fighter. The flag was originally designed for the Indian National Congress, called the Swaraj flag, and hoisted for the first time in 1923. It was later modified in 1947, with the Ashok Chakra replacing the spinning wheel.
- National Anthem The national anthem ‘Jana Gana Mana’ was penned down by Rabindranath Tagore, and translated into Hindi by Abid Ali. It was first performed at a session of the Indian National Congress. It was adopted as the national anthem in 1950. Tagore is the only poet in the world to have written national anthems of two countries – India and Bangladesh (‘Amar Sonar Bangla’).
- Why Pakistan celebrates its independence on 14th August Pakistan celebrates its independence on the 14th of August. Although the early stamps state 15th August as the country’s independence, it was changed in 1948. This might be because Lord Mountbatten had to attend ceremonies in Delhi as well as Karachi. He delivered the King’s message in Karachi on the 14th of August. Thus, despite being born on the same day, these countries celebrate their independence on different days.
- Mahatma Gandhi’s Ongoing Struggle Gandhiji, a great force in the freedom struggle, did not take part in any kind of celebrations. He was in Calcutta, fasting in protest of the communal hatred and violence in the region. So, while the entire nation was rejoicing their new freedom, the father of nation was still fighting for injustice.
- Nehru’s Cabinet Ministers Nehru’s First Ministry included members from all across India, hailing from different regions, communities, etc. The ministry had one female member – Rajkumari Amrit Kaur, who was the health minister for the next ten years.
Happy 69th Independence Day! On a parting note, a quote from Nehru’s Tryst with Destiny speech: “Are we brave enough and wise enough to grasp this opportunity and accept the challenge of the future?”