Independence Day: Its Meaning, Importance & History

Independence Day is observed every year on August 15 as a national festival in India which commemorates the independence of the country from the British Empire on August 15, 1947 in India.  The country got freedom after the Independence Movement known for non-violent resistance led by INC. The independence led the partition of India and Pakistan which caused violent riots and mass killings, along with the displacement of about 15 million people because of sectarian violence.

That day, Jawahar Lal Nehru became first Prime Minister and raised national flag on August 15, 1947 over the Lahori Gate of Red Fort in Delhi. On each Independence Day, the PM hoisted the flag followed by a speech. The holiday is observed across the country followed by flag hoisting ceremonies, cultural events and parades. Government offices and schools distribute sweets in this national holiday without having any official work.

The History

Independence Day

By the 17th century, European traders headed to Indian subcontinent to establish outposts. The British East India Company controlled military strength over time and subdued local kingdoms and became the dominant force eventually by 18th century. After first War of Independence in 1857, the British got the direct control over the country with the Government of India Act 1858. After the decade, the civic society emerged across the country and the INC was formed in 1885. After World War I, the period was marked as Montagu-Chelmsford Reforms by the British reforms but it also seen the enactment of Rowlatt Act and calls by Indian activists for self-rule. The discontent crystallized into non-violent movements across the country for civil disobedience and non cooperation, by Mahatma Gandhi.

The British had gradually legislated the reform during the 1930s. The Congress won in the elections. The political tension was increasing after independence and the jubilation caused the partition between India and Pakistan.

India before Independence

At the INS Lahore Session in 1929, the Declaration of Poorna Swaraj (Independence of India) was promulgated and January 26 was the Independence Day. Then the people called by Congress to pledge to civil disobedience and to carry out their instructions over time until India got complete independence. The celebration was known to stoke national fervor among the citizens of India and to force the government to provide independence.

The Independence Day was observed on January 26 from 1930 to 1946. The attendants used to take pledge of independence and such meetings were solemn, peaceful and without any exhortation speeches. After actual independence in the year 1947, the Constitution came into effect and 26 January is observed as Republic Day.

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