India independence day
Every year on August 15, India’s streets are decorated with the national flag tricolours as the country celebrates its independence day.
In the weeks leading up to August 15, landmarks and government buildings are illuminated in the country’s national colours. Shops, malls and houses are decorated in similar colours, and store owners sell flags, a dupatta (fabrics) and kites for the occasion. Documentary films, patriotic films and programs related to the freedom of India are broadcast on TV channels to immerse people in the spirit of Independence Day.
After 200 years of British rule, India officially gained independence on August 15, 1947. On this day, Jawaharlal Nehru, the first prime minister of an independent India, raised the Indian national flag over the Lahori gate at the Red Fort in Delhi and addressed the nation, marking the beginning of a tradition that continues today.
What led to Indian independence?
The British East India Company first came to India in 1617 to facilitate trade between Mughal India and England. Traders slowly took control of India, aided by the fact that the country was divided into sub-territories with numerous local rulers. The British used the principle of divide and conquer, pitting powerful local maharajas against each other, and by the 1850s they almost completely controlled the country.
India has fought many hard battles against British rule, but the real struggle for freedom began with the 1857 uprising, also known as the Indian Rebellions when Indian soldiers across the country rose up against British commanders. It was the first large-scale uprising against the British East India Company and posed a significant threat to British rule in India. Although the revolt was unsuccessful, it led to the British Crown taking control of the East India Company. There were many protests against the exploitation that followed the British Empire, including the Gandhi-led nonviolent resistance and civil disobedience movement.
The day is marked by a whirlwind of celebrations
While celebrations take place across the country, India’s capital, Delhi, home to the 17th century Red Fort that used to serve as a political centre, is the main venue for Independence Day celebrations.
On the eve of Independence Day, a national holiday, the President of India sends a message to the people from his office, which is broadcast throughout the country. On the morning of August 15th, the celebration begins with the arrival of the Prime Minister of India, who receives a general salute from a guard of honour, which consists of representatives of the three wings of the Indian armed forces (army, navy and air force). force) and the Delhi police.
The main event begins with the raising of the national flag by the Prime Minister, which is synchronized with 21 honorary shots and is accompanied by a touching performance of “Jana Gana Mana” (the anthem of India). To remind his people of the country’s struggle for freedom, the Prime Minister addresses the people and recalls the events leading up to India’s independence and ends with a note on the country’s future.
Later that day, there will be patriotic parades and theatrical performances to celebrate freedom fighters, marching past led by Indian armed forces and paramilitaries, as well as performances by schoolchildren.
Similar events are held throughout the country. The chief minister of each state capital unfurls the flag while singing the national anthem. Government and non-government agencies, schools, colleges and housing societies also host flag-raising ceremonies and cultural programs that reflect India’s diversity. Patriotic songs are played through the loudspeakers all day.
In the northern and central cities of India, kite flying is considered the main holiday of the day, as it is associated with the spirit of freedom and joy. In 1927, Indian revolutionaries and freedom fighters flew kites under the slogan “Come Back, Simon” in protest against British rule. Since then, flying kites has become a tradition. Kites of various sizes can be seen high in the sky in the colours of the Indian flag, either for fun or as part of a competition.