India celebrates Independence Day on August 15 each year. India became an independent nation on August 15, 1947, so a gazetted holiday is held annually to remember this date.
Independence Day is a day when people in India pay homage to their leaders and those who fought for India’s freedom in the past. The president delivers the ‘”Address to the Nation” on the eve of Independence Day. India’s prime minister unfurls India’s flag and holds a speech at the Red Fort in Old Delhi.
Many people spend the day with family members or close friends. They may eat a picnic in a park or private garden, go to a film or eat lunch or dinner at home or in a restaurant. Other people go kite flying or sing or listen to patriotic songs.
The Red Fort in Delhi is also an important Independence Day symbol in India as it is where Indian Prime Minister Jawahar Lal Nehru unveiled India’s flag on August 15, 1947.
“At the stroke of the midnight hour, when the world sleeps, India will awake to life and freedom. A moment comes, which comes but rarely in history, when we step out from the old to the new…..are we brave enough and wise enough to grasp this opportunity and accept the challenge of the future?”
This was followed by the unfurling of the tri-colour and the singing of the National Anthem from the ramparts of the Red Fort. India’s national flag is a horizontal tricolor of deep saffron (kesaria) at the top, white in the middle and dark green at the bottom in equal proportion. The ratio of the flag’s width to its length is two to three. A navy-blue wheel in the center of the white band represents the chakra. Its design is that of the wheel which appears on the abacus of the Sarnath Lion Capital of Ashoka. Its diameter approximates to the white band’s width and it has 24 spokes.
The struggle for India’s Independence began in 1857 with the Sepoy Mutiny in Meerut. Later, in the 20th century, the Indian National Congress and other political organizations, under the leadership of Mahatma Gandhi, launched a countrywide independence movement. Colonial powers were transferred to India on August 15, 1947.
The Constituent Assembly, to who power was to be transferred, met to celebrate India’s independence at 11pm on August 14, 1947. India gained its liberty and became a free country at midnight between August 14 and August 15, 1947.
It was then that the free India’s first prime minister Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru gave his famous “Tryst with Destiny” speech. People across India are reminded of the meaning of this event – that it marked the start of a new era of deliverance from the British colonialism that took place in India for more than 200 years.
Independence Day is a gazetted holiday in India on August 15 each year. National, state and local government offices, post offices and banks are closed on this day. Stores and other businesses and organizations may be closed or have reduced opening hours.
Public transport is usually unaffected as many locals travel for celebrations but there may be heavy traffic and increased security in areas where there are celebrations. Independence Day flag raising ceremonies may cause some disruption to traffic, particularly in Dehli and capital cities in India’s states.
India has a rich cultural heritage and is the world’s largest democracy. The citizens, when committed, have the potential to take the country to even greater heights than the founders of this Nation ever imagined. As the tri-colour flutters in the sky, let each citizen promise to work hard to bring glory to the country and reach the goal of making India a great nation that stands for human values.