India’s Independence Day

In every Indian’s heart, 15 August holds a special significance. After all, this was the day in 1947 when after 200 years of colonial rule India was able to emerge as a free nation. This independence was the result of years of struggle by our freedom fighters. They put all other priorities behind them and only concentrated on the goal of freedom. There is a common misconception that January 26th is India’s Independence Day, but as of 1950 this is now Republic Day.

History

There were many events that led to India becoming an independent country. While students are largely made aware of the efforts of leaders like Mahatma Gandhi and Jawaharlal Nehru, there were many other leaders like Chakravarti Rajagopalachari and Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose who made notable contributions to the freedom movement. Interestingly, this freedom movement incited people from all walks of life to participate in it.

While there were leaders like Pandit Nehru who addressed huge gatherings and motivated the people, there were also poets like Rabindranath Tagore who composed moving verses on India’s freedom. Tagore gave us the national anthem ‘Jana gana mana’ whereas Bankim Chandra Chattopadhyay gave us ‘Vande mataram’. Even women took an active part in India’s freedom movement. Sarojini Naidu, Durgabai Deshmukh and Urmila Devi were prominent women leaders of this movement.

Independence Day Today

Even today, Independence Day celebrations are grand celebrations. This day is a national holiday in India. The Prime Minister of India hoists the national flag from the ramparts of the Red Fort on this day and addresses the nation. In his address, which is televised nationally, he speaks about the historical importance of this day, highlights the role of the freedom fighters and describes India’s development and achievements. Tricoloured balloons are flown in the sky.

On Independence Day, the Indian flag is hoisted all over the country in different administrative offices, schools, colleges and other institutions. Politicians hoist the flag in their constituency. Flag hoisting is followed by the singing of the national anthem. Cultural programmes are conducted all over to highlight and preserve India’s rich cultural diversity. Many people engage in kite flying on this day. Citizens relax at home and watch the patriotic movies being telecast on television. Security is beefed up at public places and in the airport and metro stations.

Independence Day festivities are not only limited to the country. Indians present in different parts of the world celebrate this day too. Music and dance festivals, along with traditional Indian art and craft workshops are held in different cities. People also enjoy Indian cuisine at such festivities. The importance of celebrating this day each year is to remember the sacrifices made for the freedom of India and to motivate the younger generation to take this country to greater heights.

Last updated on 1 September 2012