The Independence Day of India is celebrated religiously throughout the country every year. This year, India will celebrate its 74th Independence Day on 15th of August, 2020 amid the on-going coronavirus pandemic. After almost 2 centuries under imperial rule and after countless sacrifices and struggles, Indians won their freedom on August 15, 1947. Observed as a national holiday across the country, Independence Day honours the sacrifices and dedication of the brave hearts who aimed for one goal – to simply be free from slavery of the colonisers.
The Indian freedom fighters started many movements that in some way or the other helped broke shackles of slavery. From the Revolt of 1857 to Salt Satyagraha, there were many movements that were a major benchmark in the fight against British. We owe this freedom to our valiant freedom fighters who didn’t hesitate for once to give up their lives, just so their future generations can breathe the free air of India.
British rule in India began in 1757 when, following the British victory at the Battle of Plassey, the English East India Company began exercising control over the country. The East India Company ruled India for 100 years, until it was replaced by direct British rule. The Indian independence movement began during World War I and was led by Mohandas K. Gandhi, who advocated for a peaceful and nonviolent end to British rule.
On 15 August 1947, when the first Prime Minister of independent India Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru, hoisted the national flag at the Lahori Gate of Red Fort in New Delhi. His words are still remembered by everyone by heart as he said, “Long years ago, we made a tryst with destiny and now the time comes when we shall redeem our pledge… At the stroke of the midnight hour, when the world sleeps, India will awake to life and freedom. “Seventy-three years since then, the day has come to be recognised as that of national pride and honour, with subsequent Prime Ministers hoisting the flag and addressing the country from the Red Fort every year. Independence Day is one of the three national holidays the other two being Republic Day and Mahatma Gandhi’s birth anniversary.
On this day, people in India pay respect to leaders who fought for India’s freedom in the past. The day is marked throughout India with flag-raising ceremonies, drills, and the singing of the Indian national anthem Jana Gana Mana. After the prime minister participates in the flag-raising ceremony at the Red Fort historic monument in Old Delhi, a parade ensues with members of the armed forces and police. The prime minister then delivers a televised address to the country, recounting the major accomplishments of India during the previous year and outlining future challenges and goals. Kite flying has also become an Independence Day tradition, with kites of various sizes, shapes, and colours filling the sky. Also, to commemorate the day, government offices in New Delhi remain lit throughout the holiday, even though they are closed.
This year, because of the pandemic, many restrictions are already in place. Unfortunately, due to the on-going coronavirus pandemic, these flag hoisting ceremonies will not be organised this Independence Day, but citizens are encouraged to do the same in their own homes and with family only in lieu of social distancing. It is, therefore, advised that you observe the day and revel in patriotism from the safety of your house and keep yourself and your community safe. The unfurling of the National Flag will take place as usual accompanied by the playing of the National Anthem and firing of 21-gun salute. The Prime Minister’s speech shall be followed by the singing of the National Anthem and the release of tricoloured balloons towards the end.