When is Indian Independence Day?
Indian Independence Day is always celebrated on August 15th. It is the National Day of India. Independence Day, in India, a national holiday celebrated annually on August 15. Independence Day marks the end of British rule in 1947 and the establishment of a free and independent Indian nation. It also marks the anniversary of the partition of the subcontinent into two countries, India and Pakistan, which occurred at midnight on August 14–15, 1947. (In Pakistan, Independence Day is celebrated on August 14.) Independence Day is celebrated on Thursday, August 15, 2020, in India.
The Independence Day of India, which is celebrated religiously throughout the Country on the 15th of August every year, holds tremendous ground in the list of national days, since it reminds every Indian about the dawn of a new beginning, the beginning of an era of deliverance from the clutches of British colonialism of more than 200 years. It was on 15th August 1947 that India was declared independent from British colonialism, and the reins of control were handed over to the leaders of the Country. India’s gaining of independence was a tryst with destiny, as the struggle for freedom was a long and tiresome one, witnessing the sacrifices of many freedom fighters, who laid down their lives on the line.
Also known as ‘I-Day’, this public holiday marks the date in 1947, when India became an independent country.
This holiday is a dry day in India, when the sale of alcohol is not permitted.
You may have seen the movie, “Gandhi,” but you may not know the real story. Indian Independence Day, on August 15, reminds us of the long, hard-fought battle for liberation against British domination championed by leaders like Mahatma Gandhi and Jawaharlal Nehru. Despite the expansive British Empire on which it was said, “the sun never sets,” ragtag groups of liberation fighters and brilliant strategists soundly defeated the British with strong, tactical mobilizing and the persistence that comes from centuries of oppression. Join in the celebration of what Nehru called India’s “Tryst with Destiny.”
History of Indian Independence Day
The British established their first outpost on the Indian Subcontinent in 1619 at Surat on the northwestern coast.
By the end of that century, the East India Company had opened three more permanent trading stations at Madras, Bombay, and Calcutta.
The British continued to expand their influence in the region until, by the mid nineteenth century, they had control over most of what is present-day India, Pakistan, and Bangladesh. In 1857, a rebellion in northern India by mutinous Indian soldiers, led the British Government to transfer all political power from the East India Company to the Crown. The British began controlling most of India directly while administering the rest through treaties with local rulers.
In the late Nineteenth Century, the initial moves were taken toward self-government in British India by the appointment of Indian councilors to advise the British viceroy and the establishment of provincial councils with Indian members.
In 1920, Indian leader Mohandas K. Gandhi transformed the Indian National Congress political party into a mass movement to campaign against the British colonial rule. The party used both parliamentary and nonviolent resistance and non-cooperation to achieve independence. Other leaders, notably Subhash Chandra Bose, also adopted a military approach to the movement. The movement culminated in the independence of the subcontinent from the British Empire and the formation of India and Pakistan.
Thus, on August 15th 1947, India became a dominion within the Commonwealth. Friction between Hindus and Muslims led the British to partition British India, creating East and West Pakistan. India became a republic within the Commonwealth after promulgating its constitution on 26 January 1950, which is now the Republic Day holiday.
Independence Day, one of the three National holidays in India (the other two being the Republic Day on 26 January and Mahatma Gandhi’s birthday on 2 October), is observed in all Indian states and union territories. On the eve of Independence Day, the President of India delivers the “Address to the Nation”.
On 15 August, the Prime Minister hoists the Indian flag on the ramparts of the historical site of Red Fort in Delhi. Twenty-one gunshots are fired in honour of the solemn occasion. In his speech, the Prime Minister highlights the past year’s achievements, raises important issues and calls for further development. He pays tribute to the leaders of the Indian independence movement. The Indian national anthem, “Jana Gana Mana”, is sung. The speech is followed by march past of divisions of the Indian Armed Forces and paramilitary forces. Parades and pageants showcase scenes from the independence struggle and India’s diverse cultural traditions. Similar events take place in state capitals where the Chief Ministers of individual states unfurl the national flag, followed by parades and pageants.
Until 1973, the Governor of the State hoisted the National Flag at the State capital. In February 1974, the Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu, M. Karunanidhi took up the issue with then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi that the Chief Ministers should be allowed to hoist National flag on Independence Day just like how Prime Minister hoists National flag on Independence Day. Later Chief Ministers of respective states are allowed to hoist National Flag on Independence Day celebration from 1974.
Flag hoisting ceremonies and cultural programmes take place in governmental and non-governmental institutions throughout the country. Schools and colleges conduct flag hoisting ceremonies and cultural events. Major government buildings are often adorned with strings of lights. In Delhi and some other cities, kite flying adds to the occasion.
National flags of different sizes are used abundantly to symbolise allegiance to the country. Citizens adorn their clothing, wristbands, cars, household accessories with replicas of the tri-colour. Over a period of time, the celebration has changed emphasis from nationalism to a broader celebration of all things India.
What Do People Do?
Independence Day is a day when people in India pay homage to their leaders and those who fought for India’s freedom in the past. The period leading up to Independence Day is a time when major government buildings are illuminated with strings of lights and the tricolor flutters from homes and other buildings. Broadcast, print and online media may have special contests, programs, and articles to promote the day. Movies about India’s freedom fighters are also shown on television.
The president delivers the ‘”Address to the Nation” on the eve of Independence Day. India’s prime minister unfurls India’s flag and holds a speech at the Red Fort in Old Dehli. Flag hoisting ceremonies and cultural programs are held in the state capitals and often involve many schools and organizations.
Many people spend the day with family members or close friends. They may eat a picnic in a park or private garden, go to a film or eat lunch or dinner at home or in a restaurant. Other people go kite flying or sing or listen to patriotic songs.
Independence Day is a gazetted holiday in India on August 15 each year. National, state and local government offices, post offices and banks are closed on this day. Stores and other businesses and organizations may be closed or have reduced opening hours.
Public transport is usually unaffected as many locals travel for celebrations but there may be heavy traffic and increased security in areas where there are celebrations. Independence Day flag raising ceremonies may cause some disruption to traffic, particularly in Dehli and capital cities in India’s states.