- India Celebrated its Independence Day on August 15. India was under British rule from 1858 to 1947, prior to which the East Indian Company controlled India from 1757 to 1857.
- The first struggle for independence occurred in 1857, famously called the Sepoy Mutiny or the Indian Rebellion of 1857.
- Several freedom fighters took part in the Indian Independence Movement and fought for the freedom of the country and finally ousted the British to free the nation on August 15, 1947.
- India’s first Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru delivered his famous ‘Tryst with Destiny’ speech on the eve of independence day. In which he said, “Long years ago, we made a tryst with destiny and now that time comes when we shall redeem our pledge. At the stroke of today’s midnight hour, when the world sleeps, India will awake to life and freedom.”
15 Amazing Facts About Indian Independence Day
1. Real independence did not come in 1947
- India became independent on August 15, 1947, or did it? Jawaharlal Nehru’s famous speech, ‘tryst with destiny’ delivered on the midnight of August 15, is remembered as the moment a new nation was born thereon.
- In reality though, that was the moment when India and Pakistan acquired dominion status. While India remained a dominion till 1950, Pakistan retained the status till 1956.
- In simpler words, dominions were autonomous communities within the British Empire which were “equal in status” but had an “allegiance to the Crown”.
- What it meant was that King George VI continued to reign as the Emperor of India and Lord Mountbatten was the first Governor-General of the country.
- Nehru was sworn in as the premier, but served on the command of the British Governor-General, and unelected Indian nationalist leaders were administered oaths in the name of the British King-Emperor.
- What it also meant was that a British field marshall led the Indian army and judges appointed by the British continued to be part of the high courts and the federal court.
2. Indian Flag was first hoisted in 1906
- The Indian national flag with 3 horizontal stripes of red, yellow, and green was hoisted on August 7, 1906, at Parsee Bagan Square, Kolkata.
- The first variant of our current national flag was designed by Pingali Venkayya in 1921.
- The current flag with saffron, white and green stripes with the 24-spoke Ashok Chakra was officially adopted on July 22, 1947, and hoisted on August 15, 1947.
3. Lord Mountbatten chose August 15 as India’s Independence Day
- Although the Indian Independence Act was approved on July 18, 1947, Lord Mountbatten chose August 15 as the date of India’s independence as it coincided with the date of Japan’s surrendering to the Allied Forces after World War II on August 15, 1945.
- Pakistan celebrates its Independence Day on August 14 so that the last British Viceroy, Lord Mountbatten could attend the ceremony. Since Mountbatten, as the last Viceroy of undivided India was required to grace the Independence Day ceremonies in both the countries.
4. National song ‘Vande Mataram’ part of Bengali novel
- The national song ‘Vande Mataram’ composed by Bankim Chandra Chatterjee was indeed part of his novel Anandamath written and published in 1882.
- This song was first sung by Rabindranath Tagore in 1896.
- It was translated in prose by Shri Aurobindo in Karmayogin on 20 November 1909.
- Vande Mataram was adopted as the national song on January 24, 1950.
5. Indian National Anthem adopted in 1950
- At the time of independence, India did not have an official national anthem.
- The song ‘Bharoto Bhagyo Bidhata’ composed in 1911 by Rabindranath Tagore was renamed as ‘Jan Gan Man’ and adopted by the Constituent Assembly of India as the National Anthem on January 24, 1950.
6. Rabindranath Tagore penned the National Anthem of Bangladesh
- Rabindranath Tagore not just penned the National Anthem of India but also our neighbouring country Bangladesh.
- ‘Amar Sonar Bangla’ was written by Rabindranath Tagore in 1905. The first 10 lines of this song were adopted as the national anthem of Bangladesh in 1971, during its liberation war.
- Sri Lankan national anthem – ‘Sri Lanka Matha’ words and music was deeply influenced by Tagore. The most widely held view is that Sri Lankan composer Ananda Samarakoon wrote the music and lyrics to the song inspired or influenced by Gurudev.
7. M Karunanidhi Wrote to the PM Asking CMs to Unfurl the Flag on Independence Day
- Until 1973, the Governors of the respective states unfurled the national flag on independence day.
- The Chief Ministers of the respective states commenced unfurling the Indian flag only from1974.
- Tamil Nadu’s Chief Minister, M Karunanidhi, played a major role in initiating this tradition. He wrote a letter to the then Prime Minister of India, Indira Gandhi, highlighting the different practices followed in Delhi. This suggestion was accepted by the Central government.
8. Five More Countries Celebrate Independence Day on 15th August
- Apart from India, 5 other countries celebrate Independence Day on 15th August. These include North Korea, South Korea, Republic of Congo, Bahrain and Liechtenstein.
9. Goa Was the Last State to Join the Indian Territory in 1961
- Even after India attained independence on 15th August 1947, Goa was still a Portuguese colony. It was annexed to India by the Indian troops only in 1961. Thus, Goa was the last state to join the Indian territory.
- In 1975, Sikkim became the final and 22nd state to join the Indian union. Before that, Sikkim was an Indian protectorate.
10. The Indian Flag is Manufactured at only One Place in India
- The Indian flag is manufactured and supplied from only one place in the country.
- The Karnataka Khadi Gramodyoga Samyukta Sangha (KKGSS), located in Dharwad, Karnataka, has the authority to manufacture and supply the Indian flag.
- According to the Bureau of Indian Standards, the national flag is manufactured only with hand-spun and handwoven cotton khadi bunting.
11. Prime Ministers Who Did Not Hoist National Flag At Red Fort
- Every year, Prime minister of India unfurls the national flag at the Red Fort, but there are some who got a chance to become PM of India but were not able to hoist national flag at the Red Fort.
- Gulzarilal Nanda and Chandradekhar were the only two PMs who did not get the opportunity to hoist the National Flag at Red Fort.
12. Permission to Fly the Indian Flag Except on Certain Days
- On 26th January 2002, the Indian flag code was modified and after several years of independence, the citizens of India were finally allowed to hoist the Indian flag over their homes, offices and factories on any day and not just National days as was the case earlier.
- Earlier as per the Flag Code of India, a private citizen was not permitted to fly the Indian flag except on certain days. Naveen Jindal challenged this. On 23rd January 2004, the Supreme Court of India ruled in favour of Naveen Jindal, and held that flying the national flag was symbol of expression that came within the right to freedom of expression under Article 19(1)(a) of the Constitution.
- Again the Flag Code of India 2002 was revised by the Ministry of Home Affairs in 2022 to permit the flying of the national flag even at night as the federal government begins its Har Ghar Tiranga campaign. The flag could previously only be flown between sunrise and dusk.
13. Why National Flag is hoisted at Red Fort?
- It represents the symbol of anti-colonial resistance.
- It was the center of India’s First war of Independence that is 1857 revolt and INA trials.
- Subhas Chandra Bose, the Netaji of INA gave a famous call Chalo Dilli (March to Delhi) which was linked to the idea of the recapture of the Fort.
14. Radcliffe Line was officially published on August 17, 1947
- The demarcation line drawn by Sir Cyril Radcliffe to depict the Pakistani and Indian portions of Punjab and Bengal, also known as the Radcliffe Line was completed on August 3, 1947.
- But it was officially published only on August 17, 1947, two days after India got its independence from the British.
15. Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav
- Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav is an initiative of the Government of India to celebrate and commemorate 75 years of progressive India and the glorious history of it’s people, culture and achievements.
- The official journey of “Azadi ka Amrit Mahotsav” was commenced on 12th March, 2021 and will end post a year on 15th August, 2023.
- The ‘Har Ghar Tiranga’ campaign has also been started as part of Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav by Government of India to encourage people to bring the Indian flag home and hoist it.