Independence Day

What is the significance of 15th August in India



The republic of India gained its independence from the rule of the British on 15th August, 1947. Since then, this date of 15th August is celebrated as the Independence Day in India to commemorate its freedom from the 200 year old British government.

For India, 15th August is a day of her re-birth, a new start. At the midnight of 15th August, 1947, the British rulers handed the country back to its Indian leaders, ending a remarkable struggle that lasted years. It was 15th August, 1947, the historic date on which sovereign India's first Prime Minister Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru unfolded the tricolor flag of the nation on the glorious Red Fort. The day is significant in the history of India as bringing end to the British colonial rule in India. 

How 15th August became significant in India 



In the year 1946 the Labour government, the exchequer of Britain thought of ending their rule over India because of their exhaustion of capital post World War II. British Government announced, during the early 1947, that they intend to transfer power to the Indians by the month of June, 1948. This approaching independence could not decrease the Hindu-Muslim violence in Bengal and Punjab. This led to Louis Mountbatten, the then viceroy of India to propone the power hand-over date owing to the fact that the unprepared British army could not cope with the increased violence in the country. In the month of June in 1947, prominent Indian leaders like Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru, Mohammed Ali Jinnah, Abul Kalam Azad, Master Tara Singh and B. R. Ambedkar agreed for a partition of India along religious outline. The Sikh and Hindu areas were marked as India and Muslim area as Pakistan. 

Millions of people belonging to the different religious groups tramped across that newly drawn border to find places to reside. This took away around 250,000 to 500,000 lives. Finally, at midnight of 15th August, 1947, Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru proclaimed India's independence by reading out his famous speech known as "Tryst with destiny". During this speech, Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru said "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."

How 15th August is celebrated in India 



Every year India's Independence Day is celebrated by all proud Indians. The day is observed as a national holiday for the country. Though, local governments conduct the ceremony of flag hoisting all over India, the venue of main celebration is the Red Fort in the capital city New Delhi in India. The celebration starts every year with the unfurling of the tri-coloured national flag by the Prime Minister of the nation followed by a televised speech. The speech generally reflects the present condition of the nation along with the achievements in the previous year and the future development plans. A tribute is even paid by the Prime Minister to freedom fighters of India by declaring the day as national holiday. Post the flag hoisting ceremony, patriotic programs by children from schools based in different states is one of the main attractions. Delhi's sky gets sprinkled with thousands kites coloured in the same tri-colour as that of the national flag.

Similar celebration is done in all the states of India where the flag is hoisted by the Governor of the states. Besides this, almost every school, colleges, universities, government organizations hoist the national flag on 15th August by their most senior official. Nowadays, many housing complexes, clubs, societies, group of friends even observe the flag hoisting ceremony within their premises with ease, joy and honesty. This just shows the togetherness of Indians, who never forget to pay a tribute to their ancestors who sacrificed their life for the betterment of the country. 

Independence Day Speech by Jawahar Lal Nehru



Jawaharlal Nehru, the first Prime Minister of independent India, was a man, who could influence the masses with his oration. He was an immensely learned man and could feel the pulse of the masses. 

 

Nehru's Message to the Nation on the Independence Day was delivered on the brink of midnight of the 14th of August, 1947. The speech focused on various topics related to India and the freedom that she had achieved from the shackles of British colonial rule. The speech also encourages and inspires the countrymen to wake from the long slumber and take steps for the upliftment and development of India. 

Jawaharlal Nehru's independence speech aimed at motivating the general masses at building a new India. The speech aimed at boosting the people for working harder and with real zeal and enthusiasm to make India the numero uno nation in the world. There were certain social evils that were dominant in the Indian society in the form of illiteracy, poverty, ignorance, poor health conditions and many more in pre-independent India. The message propagated for the eradication of these social evils and to make India a prospering nation. 

The message of the first Prime Minister of independent India, Jawaharlal Nehru, also requested the people of the country to actively participate in the process of nation-building. He also urged the people to have and show confidence in the national leaders of the country, who were bestowed with the duty of carrying the nation forward. The concept of equality was also emphasized in the independence speech made by Jawaharlal Nehru. 

The Father of the Nation, Mahatma Gandhi, also finds reference in the speech made by Nehru. He also pays homage to the various freedom fighters, who had sacrificed their lives for the purpose of attaining freedom from the bond of British rule. He also makes a mention of the pains that several people had to endure due to the partition of the country. The speech also motivates the common masses to undergo the initial pains and troubles in the process of making a glorious India. 

Last but not the least, Jawaharlal Nehru in the speech pays homage to Mother India and takes vows to defend her in all troubles. He also summons all the countrymen to bind themselves to the services of the Motherland. 

Independence Day Speech

 

The exact speech that was delivered by Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru is as follows: 

"Long years ago we made a tryst with destiny, and now the time comes when we shall 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. It is fitting that at this solemn moment we take the pledge of dedication to the service of India and her people and to the still larger cause of humanity. 

At the dawn of history India started on her unending quest, and trackless centuries are filled with her striving and the grandeur of her success and her failures. Through good and ill fortune alike she has never lost sight of that quest or forgotten the ideals which gave her strength. We end today a period of ill fortune and India discovers herself again. The achievement we celebrate today is but a step, an opening of opportunity, to the greater triumphs and achievements that await us. Are we brave enough and wise enough to grasp this opportunity and accept the challenge of the future? 

Freedom and power bring responsibility. The responsibility rests upon this Assembly, a sovereign body representing the sovereign people of India. Before the birth of freedom we have endured all the pains of labour and our hearts are heavy with the memory of this sorrow. Some of those pains continue even now. Nevertheless, the past is over and it is the future that beckons to us now. 

That future is not one of ease or resting but of incessant striving so that we may fulfil the pledges we have so often taken and the one we shall take today. The service of India means the service of the millions who suffer. It means the ending of poverty and ignorance and disease and inequality of opportunity. The ambition of the greatest man of our generation has been to wipe every tear from every eye. That may be beyond us, but as long as there are tears and suffering, so long our work will not be over. 

And so we have to labour and to work, and work hard, to give reality to our dreams. Those dreams are for India, but they are also for the world, for all the nations and peoples are too closely knit together today for any one of them to imagine that it can live apart Peace has been said to be indivisible; so is freedom, so is prosperity now, and so also is disaster in this One World that can no longer be split into isolated fragments. 

To the people of India, whose representatives we are, we make an appeal to join us with faith and confidence in this great adventure. This is no time for petty and destructive criticism, no time for ill-will or blaming others. 

We have to build the noble mansion of free India where all her children may dwell. The appointed day has come-the day appointed by destiny-and India stands forth again, after long slumber and struggle, awake, vital, free and independent. The past clings on to us still in some measure and we have to do much before we redeem the pledges we have so often taken. Yet the turning-point is past, and history begins anew for us, the history which we shall live and act and others will write about. 

It is a fateful moment for us in India, for all Asia and for the world. A new star rises, the star of freedom in the East, a new hope comes into being, a vision long cherished materializes. May the star never set and that hope never be betrayed! We rejoice in that freedom, even though clouds surround us, and many of our people are sorrow stricken and difficult problems encompass us. But freedom brings responsibilities and burdens and we have to face them in the spirit of a free and disciplined people. 

On this day our first thoughts go to the architect of this freedom, the Father of our Nation [Gandhi], who, embodying the old spirit of India held aloft the torch of freedom and lighted up the darkness that surrounded us. We have often been unworthy followers of his and have strayed from his message, but not only we but succeeding generations will remember this message and bear the imprint in their hearts of this great son of India, magnificent in his faith and strength and courage and humility. We shall never allow that torch of freedom to be blown out, however high the wind or stormy the tempest. 

Our next thoughts must be of the unknown volunteers and soldiers of freedom who, without praise or reward, have served India even unto death. We think also of our brothers and sisters who have been cut off from us by political boundaries and who unhappily cannot share at present in the freedom that has come. They are of us and will remain of us whatever may happen, and we shall be sharers in their good [or] ill fortune alike. 

The future beckons to us. Whither do we go and what shall be our endeavour? To bring freedom and opportunity to the common man, to the peasants and workers of India; to fight and end poverty and ignorance and disease; to build up a prosperous, democratic and progressive nation, and to create social, economic and political institutions which will ensure justice and fullness of life to every man and woman. 

We have hard work ahead. There is no resting for any one of us till we redeem our pledge in full, till we make all the people of India what destiny intended them to be. We are citizens of a great country on the verge of bold advance, and we have to live up to that high standard. All of us, to whatever religion we may belong, are equally the children of India with equal rights, privileges and obligations. We cannot encourage communalism or narrow-mindedness, for no nation can be great whose people are narrow in thought or in action. 

To the nations and peoples of the world we send greetings and pledge ourselves to cooperate with them in furthering peace, freedom and democracy. And to India, our much-loved motherland, the ancient, the eternal and the ever-new, we pay our reverent homage and we bind ourselves afresh to her service. Jai Hind."
 

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