India gained independence from British colonialism, on today’s day, in 1947. Since then; the day is honored with great passion and excitement, in all states of India. The official ceremony is centered at the capital city of Delhi, at the famous Red Fort.
While the preparations for the holiday are taking place, we present several historical facts and significances in Indian history, that are linked with the day:
Importance and History:
Indian Independence history is deeply tied to sacrifice, conflict and devotion to a cause, made by many radicals and leaders.
The coming of the British East India Company marked the start of India’s colonization history, in the 1600s. Shortly after the company’s arrival, the peaceful traders began using a military and executive command, over the natives. Great portions of the territory were already held by the Company, by the year 1757.
Local inhabitants gradually started to grow hostility over the British and their unjust rule that was held over them. By 1857, the first organized mutiny took place, when a group of Indian soldiers revolted to the British rank of Barrackpore. This event marked the beginning of India’s freedom fighting, and since then it has been known as the 1857’s Great Struggle (or as Britain called it: the Sepoy Mutiny).
An instant outcome of this event was that the rule was passed from the East India Company to the Crown in London. The situation was held intact by the Crown, using delegates as general-governors positioned throughout India. This lasted until the Declaration of India’s Independence, in 1947.
Nevertheless, a couple of incidents did happen over the years, for example like the Jallianwala Bagh massacre of 1919, when General Reginald Dyer commanded open fire into a crowd of Indian protestors, murdering more than a thousand people. Also notable is the Bengal famine, which occurred in 1943, since approximately 5 million people were killed off. This only brewed more hatred from the local people to their rulers.
Over various time periods, a great number of distinguished Indian leaders and revolutionists joined the cause opposing the British, most notable being Mahatma Gandhi, Lala Lajpat Rai, Gopal Krishna Gokhale, Subhas Chandra Bose, Jawaharlal Nehru, Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, Bhagat Singh and Chandrasekhar Azad. All these efforts and fighting for freedom eventually did release India from all foreign control, when in February 1947 it was declared by the British prime minister, Clement Attlee, that India was allowed complete self-governance and independence.
A great role in India’s freedom took the peaceful resistance, guided by leaders such as Gandhi, Nehru and Patel. However, autonomy was delivered only with the separation of the country, into India and Pakistan.
On 15 August 1947, the Indian national flag was raised over the Lahori Gate, in the Red Fort in Delhi, by the first prime minister of India, Jawaharlal Nehru. Nehru made his famed speech — Tryst with Destiny — addressing the endless conflict and struggle concluded with future that is to come.
All over India, this day is of great importance. The majority of people honor the national holiday by visiting patriotic events or by simply having family reunions.
Similar to the first Independence Day, each year the prime minister of India lifts in the air the national flag and delivers a speech, at the Red Fort of Delhi. To express their feeling of freedom, ordinary people fly kites in the sky. Parades, cultural happenings, and peace fill the atmosphere of India, each year on this date.