Independence Day of India “Long years ago we made a tryst with destiny, and now the time comes when we will redeem our pledge, not wholly or in full measure, but very substantially. At the stroke of the midnight hour, when the world sleeps, India will awake to life and freedom. A moment comes, which comes but rarely in history, when we step out from the old to the new, when an age ends and when the soul of a nation, long suppressed, finds utterance…. We end today a period of ill fortune, and India discovers herself again. ” – Jawaharlal Nehru Speech on Indian Independence Day, 1947) History of Independence Day On the eve of India’s independence, Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru famous speech “Tryst with Destiny” marked the beginning of a free India with words symbolizing hope and triumph. India got its independence from the clutches of British rule on 15th August 1947. It was this day when India’s tricolor flag was unfolded by Pandit Nehru on the barricades of the Red Fort at Delhi. Each and every patriotic soul watched with excitement and paid tribute to thousands of martyrs who sacrificed their lives for India’s freedom.
The Independence Day of India is a moment of delight and grandeur but to achieve it the nation had to put up a long battle for over two centuries against the British Empire. At last on 3rd June 1947, the last British Viceroy of India, Lord Mountbatten of Burma, declared the separation of the British Empire in India into India and Pakistan. The announcement was made under the terms of the Indian Independence Act 1947. On 15 August 1947, India attained freedom from the British Rule. Every year, August 15 is celebrated as the Independence Day in India.
This national festival is celebrated with great enthusiasm all over the country. The Independence Day of any country is a moment of pride and glory. On this special occasion, rich tributes are paid to the freedom fighters who sacrificed their lives and fought to free their motherland from the clutches of the oppressors – British who ruled the country. The British, had initially come for trade but gradually took over the total administration of the country. At the strike of midnight of the August 15, 1947, India shook off the shackles of British Rule and became free.
It was a night of celebration all over the country. At the stroke of midnight, as India moved into August 15, 1947, Jawaharlal Nehru, India’s first Prime Minister, read out the famous speech proclaiming India’s independence. The moment ended three centuries of British colonial rule. The land was no longer the summer retreat of British sahibs who fancied spices, shikar, elephants and snake-charmers. Independence was also the end of nearly a century of struggle for freedom, battles, betrayals and sacrifices. It also created a situation where we were responsible for ourselves.
But it wasn’t a period of unqualified joy. For a lot of people, in spite of a new era promised by independence, partition was a painful reality and so was the bloodshed that accompanied it. That was 60 years ago. Much has changed; the struggle for freedom lives on in history books and memoirs, and on the tombstones of valiant martyrs. Politics has undergone a personality change from fiery idealism to a pragmatic cynicism. Karma drives the nation on its way forward, and population has crossed the billion mark.
But, come August 15, and the people put their troubles behind them for a while, as they stand up as a nation for the National Anthem. Along with the soaring cadences of the anthem, the hopes and dreams for a better tomorrow are renewed in political speeches and replays of the deeds of those who earned us our freedom. Independence Day is an occasion to rejoice in our freedom and to pay collective homage to all those people who sacrificed their lives to the cause. But it is more than that. It also marks the coming together of more than 400 princely states into one nation – India.
This was probably our biggest diplomatic success. Each year, August 15 gives us the reason to celebrate all this, and do much more – it is a time to contemplate what we have and how we achieved it. Though India had no dearth of religious and community festivals, there was, till Independence, no true national festival that the whole country could partake of. Independence Day, beginning as a day to commemorate the greatest moment in Indian history, has now come to signify a feeling of nationalism, solidarity and celebration. Independence Day remained the sole national festival till India declared itself a republic in 1950.
On January 26, 1950, Republic Day became the second Indian national holiday. The midnight of August 15, 1947 is memorable for every Indian on earth, as it is the time, when India gained independence from the stranglehold of the mighty British. The otherwise suppressed tri-colored flag of India was given its due respect, when it was hoisted in the midnight on the Independence Day. Since then, the red-letter day is celebrated with pomp and gaiety, across the length and breadth of India. Cultural programs and flag-hoisting ceremonies are the predominant affair of the day, while colorful kites fill the sky in the evening, to symbolize freedom.
People indulge themselves in remembering the heroes of the freedom struggle and pay homage to them. In all the schools and colleges across India, no academic work is done on Independence Day, but all the students and staff members would be present in their respective educational institutions, to celebrate the day. A sort of social gathering is arranged in the educations institutions, wherein cultural programs are organized. Flag hoisting ceremony takes place within their respective premises.
As the flag is hoisted by the head of the institution (mostly the principal), students sing national anthem and pay respect to their flag and to uphold the sovereignty of the country. Students and teachers celebrate the day at their respective educational institutions, while others back home spend the day either by going for an outing or watching special programs on television. Majority of the people tune in to Doordarshan in the morning, to watch the live telecast of Prime Minister’s speech at the Red Fort in Delhi, as it is the major highlight of the Independence Day of India.
Prime Minister’s speech and patriotic songs and documentaries showing excerpts from the freedom struggle are aired on the national channels, while the private television channels make it a point that their viewers are amused all through the day. Hence, they telecast cultural programs, movies related to independence, apart from the patriotic songs that regenerate the hidden patriotism in people. Shops across India are strictly directed to keep their shutters down on Independence Day, while you can still spot the groceries and small stores opening up late in the evening.
All government offices remain closed on August 15. India Gate is the center of attraction and a nice place to hang out in the evening of Independence Day, as the structure is attractively illuminated. The sky in filled with kites of various shapes and colors. As a whole, it can be said that Independence Day is a holiday much awaited by people in India, every year. . Significance of Independence Day The significance of the Independence Day in the existence of a nation is of greater value. The day is much more than merely celebrating the anniversary of India’s free statehood.
On this day India attained a major part of Asian subcontinent’s 562 extensively spread territories besides British owned states. 15th August 1947 symbolizes the victory of Indian patriotism which the nation got after uncertain yet brutal struggle from the repression of the British colonialism. The British, who oppressed India for centuries had primarily arrived to initiate business but steadily captured the entire government of the nation. They educated the Indians and in the process generated enthusiasts who weren’t hesitant in helping them expanding their regime.
Men and women from all over India joined hands and fought for India’s freedom. Many were acclaimed while others contribution went unnoticed. However, praise wasn’t what they desired for. It was the dream of free and autonomous India which motivated them to walk the path of struggle unselfishly. Neither did they battle for their region nor for their natives, but for India and Indians. At the time of growing communal and caste conflicts, it becomes significant to remind us that the people who laid the foundation of free India has always dreamt of an integrated nation.
Hence, it is our duty to live and sustain their dreams, the sole reason for which Independence Day in India is observed. It is a day to pay a mark of respect to our saviors because of whom we are breathing an air of freedom which does not have the elements of exploitation and repression. Independence Day celebrations in India Commemorating the day India attained freedom (15th August); Independence Day is celebrated with flag hoisting ceremonies and cultural programmes all over the country. The main program is held at the Red Fort where the Prime Minster unfurls the National Flag and it is saluted by Guns.
The Prime Minister’s speech at the Red Fort in Delhi is a major highlight. Patriotic presentations by school children add colors to the celebrations. Delhi’s skyline gets dotted with thousands of kites taking to the sky this day. Similar programmes are held at all the State capitals also. The preparations begin a month in advance. Roads are decorated with flags and buntings. Buildings of national importance are illuminated. Independence Day is considered as a national holiday in India. The arrangement begins a month before the D-day and the roads are embellished with ribbons and Indian flags.
Flag-hoisting ceremonies are executed all over India by state governments. However, the chief event is conducted in the capital city of India, New Delhi where the Prime Minister of India unfurls the tricolor at the barricades of Red Fort which receives a salutation of 21 guns, and addresses the nation with his speech. The Prime Minister’s speech holds major importance as it pays tribute to the great souls who sacrificed their lives for nation’s independence and reveals the achievements of the nation during the past year beside discussing significant issues and proposing steps for further growth.
A vibrant parade exhibiting India’s cultural multiplicity, emblematic portrayals of the nation’s developments in science and technology, a collaborative parade of India’s armed competencies by the three forces and patriotic skits and dramas by school children are an integral part of the Independence Day festivities. On this day the skyline of the capital city gets sprinkled with innumerable multicolored kites. People indulge in kite flying competitions and children cheer aloud elevating the spirit of the day.