“Where the mind is without fear and the head is held high, where knowledge is free. Where the world has not been broken up into fragments by narrow domestic walls. Where words come out from the depth of truth, where tireless striving stretches its arms toward perfection. Where the clear stream of reason has not lost its way into the dreary desert sand of dead habit. Where the mind is led forward by thee.” ― Rabindranath Tagore
On 15th August 1947, at the stroke of midnight, India won its independence against the British Colonial rule in the subcontinent. The day ushered in a new era in the history of the subcontinent with the formation of India, Pakistan and East Pakistan (now, Bangladesh). The day is observed as a national holiday in India characterised by the unfurling of the National Flag followed by the Prime Minister’s speech and march-past display at the historic Red Fort in New Delhi.
This year will mark India’s 76th year of Independence. In this article, we will map India’s journey to freedom from the British in 1947 and discuss the trajectories that lie ahead of us as a nation. We will also learn some interesting facts related to India’s independence.
#independenceday #freedom #IndependenceDayIndia
Indian Freedom Movement: Milestones Achieved
We have listed down some major events and milestones that were covered through the decades before India finally achieved its independence in August 1947. In the table presented below, the First War of Indian Independence in 1847 will serve as a starting point for our narrative since it is accepted as being the first organised and united effort in overthrowing the burgeoning British establishment in India. It is infamously and incorrectly also referred to as the Sepoy Mutiny of 1847. It was not a sepoy mutiny, it was a planned uprising against the British oppression. The Occidental historians termed it so in a degrading manner.
Indian Freedom Movement Through the Decades
Provided below is a list of milestones covered during the freedom struggle. It also contains some important events and Acts that directly or indirectly contributed toward the rise of Nationalism in India and the subsequent overthrow of the British Rule in and from the subcontinent.
|First War of Indian Independence||May 10, 1857|
|Government of India, Act||1858|
|Lord Canning becomes the 1st Viceroy of India||1858|
|Vernacular Press Act||1878|
|Ilbert Bill Controversy||1883/1884|
|Formation of the Indian National Congress in Bombay||December 28, 1885|
|Lord Curzon announced the Partition of Bengal||July 1905|
|The Partition of Bengal was carried out||October 1905|
|Formation of the All- India Muslim League||December 30, 1906|
|Congress Split in the Surat Session||1907|
|Indian Councils Act/ Morley-Minto Reforms||1909|
|Jana-gana-mana sung for the first time at the Calcutta Session of the INC||December 27, 1911|
|Formation of the Ghadar Party in the United States||July 15, 1913|
|Home Rule League Movement||1916|
|Lucknow Pact between INC and the Muslim League||December 1916|
|Rowlatt Act||March 13, 1919|
|Jallianwala Bagh Massacre||April 13, 1919|
|Non-Cooperation Movement/Khilafat Movement||September 4, 1920|
|Chauri-Chaura incident||February 4, 1922|
|The Non-Cooperation Movement was recalled due to the Chauri-Chaura incident||1922|
|Simon Commission comes to India||1927|
|‘Simon Go Back’ demonstrations||February 3, 1928|
|Bhagat Singh and Batukeshwar Dutt threw a bomb in the Central Legislative Assembly.||1929|
|Purna Swaraj Declaration||1929/January 1930|
|Civil Disobedience Movement||March 12, 1930|
|Dandi March/Salt Satyagraha||March 12, 1930 to April 6, 1930|
|First Round Table Conference in London||November 1930 – January 1931|
|Gandhi-Irwin Pact||March 5, 1931|
|Bhagat Singh, Rajguru and Sukhdev were hanged||March 23, 1931|
|2nd Round Table Conference||September 7, 1931 to December 1, 1931|
|3rd Round Table Conference||November 7, 1932 to 24 December 24, 1932|
|Government of India Act||August 2, 1935|
|Formation of the All-India Forward Bloc by Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose||June 22, 1939|
|World War II begins||September 1, 1939|
|Cripps Mission came to India||March 9, 1942|
|Quit India Movement was launched||August 8, 1942|
|World War II ends||September 2, 1945|
|Mountbatten Plan/ Indian Independence Act||June 3, 1947|
|Pakistan declares independence/formation of Pakistan||August 14, 1947|
|India becomes independent/Indian Independence Day||August 15, 1947|
What is Independence?
Merely winning independence from the British colonial rule is not the end. In fact, it was the beginning of creating the nation of our dreams. While we may have obtained political independence, there are still several hurdles that need to be crossed before we can fully realize the dream our Freedom Fighters had for India as a nation. Let us look at some of the major handicaps we face at present.
- Freedom from Hunger and Poverty: 23 crore people live below the poverty line in India. There is an acute and urgent need to eradicate hunger and poverty, their consequential problems such as disease, malnutrition, high mortality rate and crime in India.
- Freedom from Hatred: The rising hyper-nationalism and xenophobia are a threat to our internal peace and harmony.
- Freedom from Illiteracy: The literacy rate in India is at 74.04% which is still largely behind the world average of 84%. There are approximately 313 million illiterate people in India.
- Freedom from Ignorance: Ignorance is more hazardous than illiteracy to a nation’s all-round progress and development.
- Freedom from Child Labour: According to a report published by the International Labour Organisation, 10.1 million children in India are employed in Child Labour. The situation has become manifold worse with the COVID-19 pandemic.
- Safety for Women: India presently ranks at 148 out of the 170 countries in the Women, Peace & Security Index 2021. According to 2019-2020 statistics, there are approximately 88 rape cases in a day in India. In fact, crimes against women have risen to almost 63 percent in the capital alone in 2021.
How to Celebrate Independence Day?
- We must teach our children about the rich history of India. It is said that he chose the date for the formal transfer of power to the Indian people and the successive Independence of India.
- Particularly, for Independence Day, we must educate them on the Indian Freedom Movement and the role of our Freedom Fighters.
- Children must be taught the National Anthem and the National Song.
- We must honour and acknowledge the role of our real-life heroes, our soldiers who have put their lives on the line to protect ours.
- This Independence Day is more special for us seeing as our athletes are making India proud at the recently concluded Commonwealth Games 2022 held at Birmingham. The performances we are witnessing today are a result of immense hard work, years of training and discipline.
- Moreover, the Ministry of Home Affairs has issued a notice for the celebration of the day, wherein the ‘Ek Bharat Shreshtha Bharat Programme’ and the ‘Har Ghar Tiranga’ campaign finds a special mention.
- With the rising COVID-19 cases in India, the Union Health Ministry has advised against large gatherings during the Independence Day celebrations, and has urged the citizens to follow the COVID-19 safety protocols.
Independence Day 2022
As India approaches its 76th birthday, we must take a pause to analyse the distance we have covered thus far and chart a blueprint for the progress we want to make in the coming years. India is one of the younger nations in the world not only in terms of its formation but demographic distribution as well. As a nation, we are brimming with talent and potential.
Although we have been hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic, as a nation, society and economy, India is fighting every day to get back up on its feet again. On this day, let us join together to do our bit to ensure we realise our dream of becoming a superpower very soon.
Furthermore, to commemorate 75 years of India’s independence, the Government of India launched the ‘Har Ghar Tiranga’ campaign on July 22, 2022 as a part of Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav, to celebrate the history, culture and achievements of India and its people. This campaign has been launched to deepen our bond with the Tricolour and to encourage the citizens of the country to bring the Tricolour (Tiranga) home and hoist it.
Dos and Don’ts of Hoisting the Tricolour
Since all the citizens of the country will be participating in the Har Ghar Tiranga campaign, it is important to know and follow the rules stated in the Flag Code of India, 2002 regarding the hoisting of the national flag. Some of the dos and don’ts have been listed below-
- As per the Flag Code of India, 2002, “a member of the public, private organisation, or educational institute is allowed to hoist the national flag on all days and occasions, ceremonial or otherwise, consistent with the dignity and honour of the flag.”
- Furthermore, the Tricolour should be placed distinctly and occupy an honourable position.
- The flag must always be displayed correctly i.e. the saffron stipe must always come on top.
- A damaged flag must never be displayed. Moreover, the damaged flag should be disposed of in its entirety in private, which can be done either by burning or any other method consistent with the dignity of the flag.
- The flag must never be draped over the hood, top, side or back of a vehicle, boat or an aircraft.
- The Tricolour may be of any size. However, it must always be rectangular in shape with the length and height ratio fixed at 3:2.
- The amendment of the Code on December 30, 2021 has allowed the use of polyester/machine-made flags. Prior to this amendment, only hand spun and hand woven wool/cotton/silk/khadi flags were permitted.
- The Government of India made another amendment in the Flag Code of India, 2002 on July 20, 2022. This amendment provides that the Tricolour can now be hoisted both day and night provided that it is displayed in the open or on the house of a member of the public. Earlier, the national flag could be hoisted between sunrise and sunset only.
- Rabindranath Tagore renounced his knighthood in protest of the Jallianwala Bagh Massacre.
- Louis Mountbatten or Lord Mountbatten was the last Viceroy of India.
- The Radcliffe Line was established on August 17, 1947.
- Mahatma Gandhi was assassinated on January 30, 1948.
- The Constitution of India was adopted on November 26, 1949.
- The Jana Gana Mana was adopted as the National Anthem on January 24, 1950.
- India became independent in 1947, but India became a republic on January 26, 1950.
- The first elections were held in India in 1951/52.
- The first president of India was Dr. Rajendra Prasad and the first Prime Minister was Jawaharlal Nehru.
- Other countries like North Korea, South Korea, the Republic of Congo, and Liechtenstein also celebrate their Independence Day on August 15 as well although the years differ.
Further reading: Non-fiction
- Guha, Ramachandra. Makers of Modern India. 2011.
- Lapierre, Dominique and Larry Collins. Freedom at Midnight. 1975
- Nehru, Jawaharlal. The Discovery of India. 1946.
- Chandra, Bipan. India’s struggle for Independence. 1988.
- Bose, Sugata. His Majesty’s Opponent: Subhas Chandra Bose and India’s Struggles Against Empire. 2011.
- Malhotra, Aanchal. Remnants of a Separation. 2018
- Azad, Abul Kalam. India Wins Freedom. 1978.
- Tharoor, Shashi. An Era of Darkness: The British Empire in India. 2016.
Further reading: Fiction
- Singh, Khushwant. Train to Pakistan. 1956.
- Dalrymple, William. The Last Mughal. 2006.
- Hossain, Attia. Sunlight on a Broken Column. 1961.
- Rushdie, Salman. Midnight’s Children. 1981.
- Siddiqui, Shahid. The Golden Pigeon. 2014.