Why Do We Celebrate Independence Day in India? History and Facts
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India celebrates its Independence Day on 15 August every year. Independence Day is celebrated with a lot of joy and enthusiasm across the country. People from different ethnicities, caste, religions, and genders come together to celebrate.
This year India will celebrate its 74th Independence Day by commemorating the sacrifices made by freedom fighters, political leaders and citizens in order to liberate and free the nation.
The Government of India officially celebrates Independence Day at the Red Fort in New Delhi. Here the Prime Minister gives a speech to the nation.
Independence Day is celebrated every year on August 15th in India to commemorate the independence of the nation from the British. Every year, the Prime Minister of India raises the national flag at the Red Fort to commemorate the big day.
Independence Day is celebrated with great enthusiasm throughout the country and is followed by flag hoisting ceremonies, parades and cultural events throughout the country. But unfortunately, this year’s celebration will not be the same because of the ongoing COVID 19 pandemic.
The day of August 15 is also marked as a commemoration of the partition of India under British rule into two countries, India and Pakistan over violence between Muslims and Hindus. The partition was accompanied by violent riots and massive losses and causalities, as well as the displacement of nearly 15 million people due to religious violence.
When and why do we celebrate Independence Day?
India was under the jurisdiction of British rule and so in 1929, the Indian people decided to demand full independence from the British on January 26, 1930. However, the British government did not accept this and continued to rule India until August 15, 1947.
On July 18, 1947, the British government passed a law stating that India would become an independent country on August 15, 1947, and cease to be part of the British Empire. So, India won its freedom on that date, and since then every 15th of August is celebrated as Independence Day in India.
It should be noted that the date of January 26 was still remembered and later emerged as the date when India became a republic nation in 1950.
Interesting facts about Independence Day in India
- Lord Mountbatten, India’s last viceroy and first governor-general, chose August 15 as Independence Day in India, as it also commemorates the second year since Japan’s surrender to Allied forces.
- Independence Day in Pakistan could have also been on the same day, but Lord Mountbatten as the last Viceroy of undivided British India had to attend the ceremonies of Delhi and Karachi. Therefore, Independence Day in Pakistan was celebrated on 14th August.
- The name India was derived from the Indus River. The valleys around the river were the site of the first inhabitants of India
- At the time of independence, India did not have an official national anthem. Although Jana Gana Mana was written by Rabindra Nath Tagore in 1911, it was officially adopted as the national anthem of India on January 24, 1950.
- The national flag of India is based on the flag of Swaraj, the flag of the Indian National Congress. It was designed by Pingali Venkayya, a freedom fighter and agriculturist from Machilipatnam.
- Mahatma Gandhi was not part of the Independence Day celebrations. He was fasting at the time as part of a protest against the Hindu-Muslim riots taking place in Bengal.
- When India became independent, it did not even have a prime minister, president or government. All this did happen much later when India became a Republic nation. At the time of independence, the Governor-General – C. Rajagopalachari, was the most important and powerful person in India.
- During independence, many parts of India were, in fact, different kingdoms. It was reported that when India became independent there were up to 565 princely states or kingdoms. All this changed rapidly when Sardar Vallabh Bhai Patel and other leaders used various strategies to incorporate these kingdoms into India. Jammu and Kashmir, Hyderabad, Mysore and Travancore were some of the great kingdoms that became part of India after independence.
- India is not the only country to celebrate Independence Day on August 15th. Bahrain, North Korea, Congo, Liechtenstein and South Korea also share the same day as their Independence Day. However, these countries became independent in different years.
- Goa was a Portuguese colony even after independence and did not become part of India until 1961.
Many people do not know these facts about Indian Independence Day. Tell these to your children so they can learn more about our country’s struggle for independence and respect for the nation.
If we have missed or if you know some lesser-known facts about Indian Independence Day, let us know in the comments!