Written by Sakshi Agarwal (Weloquent)
A very happy Indian Independence Day to all!
With our 75th year of Independence, we step into a world that is very different from the one that our brave freedom fighters fought and died for. As we move forward, we must honour and celebrate the sacrifices, commemorating the decisions and actions that have allowed us to breathe the air of freedom. Let us look back at some lesser-known facts about our Independence.
Significance of the date
While the Independence Act had already been approved on 18th of July 1947, Lord Mountbatten chose 15th of August to commemorate the day that Japan surrendered to the Allied forces after World War II.
India and Pakistan do not share their Independence Days
Since Lord Mountbatten had to be present during the ceremonies for both countries, they decided to push up the date for Pakistan’s independence to 14th August.
Mahatma Gandhi did not attend the Independence Day ceremony
Amongst the dignitaries present, the Father of our Nation missed this historic event as he was fasting in protest of the Hindu Muslim riots in Bengal that had been triggered due to the partition.
Jana Gana Mana became our National Anthem in 1950
We did not have a National Anthem at the time of Independence. While the original Bengali version ‘Bharoto Bhagyo Bidhata’ had been penned by Rabindranath Tagore in 1911, it was renamed to ‘Jana Gana Mana,’ and officially adopted by the constituent Assembly of India on 24th January 1950. Tagore also wrote the National Anthem for Bangladesh, ‘Amar Sonar Bangla.’
India did not have a Prime Minister or President at the time of Independence
The Governor-General was the leader of the country till 1950 when India was declared a Republic and its constitution was officially adopted on 26th January 1950. The last Governor-General and Viceroy was Lord Mountbatten, after whom the position of Governor-General was passed on to Chakravarthi Rajagopalachari who served till the post was abolished in 1950.
The Indian Flag had been hoisted Before this Day
The Indian Flag was hoisted on 7th August 1906 at Parsi Bagan Square in Kolkata. This flag consisted of three horizontal stripes of green, yellow and red. The present-day flag, designed by Pingalu Venkayya, a freedom fighter from Andhra Pradesh, was adopted on 22nd July 1947.
India shares its Independence Day with 5 other countries
Bahrain (15th August 1971), North Korea (15th August 1945), South Korea (15th August 1945), Republic of Congo (15th August 1960), and Liechtenstein (15th August 1940), all celebrate their Independence Day with us.
The Radcliffe Line came into force on the 17th of August 1947
Sir Cyril Radcliffe was the chairman of the boundary commissions set up to divide 175,000 square miles of land between India and Pakistan. The boundary line was drawn up and finalised on 12th of August 1947, but published on 17th August 1947, two days after India’s Independence Day. This western-side of the line serves as the Indo-Pakistani border, while the eastern-side serves as the India-Bangladesh border.
Goa remained a Portuguese territory at the time of Independence
It was only in 1961, when Indian troops annexed the state from the Portuguese that it was made a part of India.
There were 562 Princely states in India at the time of Independence
It was through the efforts of leaders like Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel that these states were made to adjoin and become part of India. Still, Hyderabad, Jammu and Kashmir, and Junagarh remained opposed to the union with either India or Pakistan. While Hyderabad and Junagadh agreed to the union in 1948, Jammu and Kashmir agreed to the accession of the state to the Union of India in 1954.