Independence Day is a nationwide holiday in India observed annually on August 15 to celebrate the nation’s freedom from the United Kingdom on August 15, 1947. The 1947 Indian Independence Act provisions transferred legislative sovereignty to the Indian Constituent Assembly took effect.
India kept King George VI as head of state until it became a republic on January 26, 1950 (Indian Republic Day), when the country approved the Constitution of India and repealed the dominion prefix, Dominion of India, with the introduction of the sovereign law Constitution of India. India gained independence via a mostly peaceful resistance and civil disobedience movement.
Independence occurred concurrently with the partition of India, in which British India was separated into the Dominions of India and Pakistan along with religious cues; the partition was marked by violent riots and mass casualties, as well as the displacement of nearly 15 million people as a result of religious violence.
Independence Day Before Independence
Purna Swaraj, or “Declaration of India’s Independence,” was proclaimed at the 1929 session of the Indian National Congress, and January 26 was named Independence Day in 1930. The Congress urged citizens to commit to civil disobedience and “follow Congress directives given from time to time” until India obtained total independence.
The purpose of such an Independence Day was to incite nationalist sentiment among Indian people and to pressure the British administration into considering giving independence. Between 1930 and 1946, Congress designated January 26 as Independence Day. The commemoration included gatherings where attendees made the “pledge of freedom.”
Apart from the meetings, Gandhi anticipated that the day would be spent “… in constructive activity, whether it be spinning, or service to ‘untouchables,’ or reconciliation of Hindus and Muslims, or prohibition work, or perhaps all of these together.” According to Jawaharlal Nehru’s memoirs, such sessions were quiet, somber, and “devoid of words or exhortation.” following India’s real independence in 1947; the Indian Constitution came into force on January 26, 1950; since then, January 26 has been observed as Republic Day.
The Background of Independence Day
India’s independence campaign began in 1857 with the Sepoy Mutiny in Meerut and gathered impetus after World War I. The Indian National Congress (INC) and also additional political groups started a national independence campaign and revolt against the repressive British government in the twentieth century, headed by Mahatma Gandhi.
In 1942, the Indian Congress started the Quit India Movement, calling for an end to British rule, prompting colonial officials to jail a number of activists, nationalists, and politicians, including Gandhi.
During India’s partition in 1947, the religious conflict resulted in violent riots, major fatalities, and the relocation of approximately 15 million people.
The Independence Day In India’s History
The British Empire began its dominion in India in 1757, with the English East India Company taking complete control of the nation after their victory at the Battle of Plassey. The Indian independence movement started during World War I and was headed by Mahatma Gandhi, a world-renowned leader. Gandhi vehemently promoted noncooperation and peaceful methods of protest, which resulted in the civil disobedience movement.
India’s quest for freedom paid off after protracted struggles. Britain had weakened significantly during the two world wars and started contemplating the end of its colonial control in India. The British administration announced in 1947 that all powers would be transferred to India by June 1948. Still, persistent tensions and bloodshed between Muslims and Hindus resulted in a consensus for India’s division into two independent states.
To address this, the British administration suggested on June 3, 1947, that any constitution drafted by India’s Constituent Assembly would be inapplicable to regions of the nation that refused to adopt it. Lord Mountbatten — India’s then viceroy — implemented a partition plan on the same day. Both the Congress and the Muslim League endorsed Mountbatten’s approach.
Between 300,000 and 500,000 people perished on both sides as new boundaries were created and the global map was altered irreversibly. On August 15, 1947, India achieved independence at 12 a.m. due to Jawaharlal Nehru’s famous speech, “Tryst with destiny.”
The British Empire’s long reign over India ended when powers were passed to newly independent Pakistan and India. Lord Mountbatten was designated the very first Governor-General of the new Dominion of India, and Jawaharlal Nehru was appointed the country’s first Prime Minister. In 1946, the Constituent Assembly became the Parliament of Indian Dominion.
India’s Independence Day: Its Importance
Independence Day is noteworthy because it honors the courage and spirit of the nation’s freedom warriors who battled for its independence from British domination.
Every year, Prime Ministers hoist the flag and address the people from the Red Fort. The nation’s president makes a televised ‘Address to the Nation’ the day before Independence Day.
While the day is commemorated around the nation with cultural events, parades, and flag-raising ceremonies, festivities will be limited this year, as they were last year, because of the Covid-19 outbreak. It is recommended to honor the spirit of this historic day by adhering to all social and safety requirements.
Independence Day Celebrations
On August 15, 1947, Jawaharlal Nehru, India’s first Prime Minister, hoisted the Indian national flag atop the Red Fort’s Lahori Gate in Delhi. The current Prime Minister traditionally raises the flag and addresses the country on each successive Independence Day. Twenty-one gunshots are fired in commemoration of the event.
The whole ceremony is televised live on Doordarshan, India’s national broadcaster, and often opens with Ustad Bismillah Khan‘s shehnai music.
This day is considered a nationwide holiday in India, with all offices, banks, and post offices closed. Independence Day is commemorated in all Indian states and Union Territories with flag-hoisting rituals, parades, and cultural activities.
Independence Day practices begin a month in advance. Schools and colleges organize cultural events, tournaments, debates, speeches, and quiz competitions.
FAQs About Independence Day of India
Prior to the Indian Independence Movement in the early 1900s, India had spent its entire history under the thumb of a foreign ruler. It never had authority over its political destiny and was never recognized as a sovereign nation.
The Republic of India is often referred to by two short names, “India” and “Bharata,” both historically important. The Indian Constitution’s first article declares that “India, or Bharat, will be a union of states,” thus codifying “India” or “Bharata” as equally legitimate abbreviated names for the Republic of India. When Indians talk among themselves, a third term, “Hindustan,” is sometimes used to refer to the area, including most current Indian states. The use of the terms “Bharat,” “Hindustan,” or “India” is context and language-dependent.
The Indus Valley Civilization as well as the coming of the Aryans mark the beginning of India’s history. These 2 stages are usually referred to as the pre-Vedic and Vedic eras.
The term “India” is derived from the Sindhu (Indus) river and was used in Greek before Herodotus (5th century BCE). In the ninth century, the phrase first arose in Old English and was reintroduced into Modern English in the seventeenth century.
Now that you know everything about the Independence Day of India, it’s time to get ready to celebrate this festival with a lot of pomp and love! For more blogs about popular Indian festivals, keep reading Seema!