15 August Essay

"Fourteenth of August" redirects here. For other uses, see 14 August.

Not to be confused with Pakistan Day.

Independence Day of Pakistan
یوم آزادی‬

The flag of Pakistan hoisted at the mount of the Pakistan Monument in Islamabad.

Official nameIndependence Day of Pakistan
Also calledYoum-e-Azaadi
Observed byPakistan
TypeNational holiday
SignificanceCommemorates the independence of Pakistan
CelebrationsFlag hoisting, parades, award ceremonies, singing patriotic songs and the national anthem, speeches by the president and prime minister, entertainment and cultural programs
Date14 August
Next time14 August 2018 (2018-08-14)
FrequencyAnnual

Independence Day (Urdu: یوم آزادی‬‎; Yaum-e Āzādī), observed annually on 14 August, is a national holiday in Pakistan. It commemorates the day when Pakistan achieved independence and was declared a sovereign nation following the end of the British Raj in 1947. Pakistan came into existence as a result of the Pakistan Movement, which aimed for the creation of an independent Muslim state in the north-western regions of South Asia via partition. The movement was led by the All-India Muslim League under the leadership of Muhammad Ali Jinnah. The event was brought forth by the Indian Independence Act 1947 under which the British Raj gave independence to the Dominion of Pakistan which comprised West Pakistan (present-day Pakistan) and East Pakistan (now Bangladesh). In the Islamic calendar, the day of independence coincided with Ramadan 27, the eve of which, being Laylat al-Qadr, is regarded as sacred by Muslims.

The main Independence Day ceremony takes place in Islamabad, where the national flag is hoisted at the Presidential and Parliament buildings. It is followed by the national anthem and live televised speeches by leaders. Usual celebratory events and festivities for the day include flag-raising ceremonies, parades, cultural events, and the playing of patriotic songs. A number of award ceremonies are often held on this day, and Pakistanis hoist the national flag atop their homes or display it prominently on their vehicles and attire.

History[edit]

See also: History of Pakistan

Background[edit]

Main articles: Pakistan Movement and Two-nation theory

The area constituting Pakistan was historically a part of the British Indian Empire throughout much of the nineteenth century. The East India Company begun their trade in South Asia in the 17th century, and the company rule started from 1757 when they won the Battle of Plassey. Following the Indian Rebellion of 1857, the Government of India Act 1858 led to the British Crown assuming direct control over much of the Indian subcontinent. All-India Muslim League was founded by the All India Muhammadan Educational Conference at Dhaka, in 1906, in the context of the circumstances that were generated over the division of Bengal in 1905 and the party aimed at creation of a separate Muslim state.[1]

The period after World War I was marked by British reforms such as the Montagu–Chelmsford Reforms, but it also witnessed the enactment of the repressive Rowlatt Act and strident calls for self-rule by Indian activists. The widespread discontent of this period crystallized into nationwide non-violent movements of non-cooperation and civil disobedience.[2] The idea for a separate Muslim state in the northwest regions of South Asia was introduced by Allama Iqbal in his speech as the President of the Muslim League in December 1930.[3] Three years later, the name of "Pakistan" as a separate state was proposed in a declaration made by Choudhary Rahmat Ali, in the form of an acronym. It was to comprise the five "northern units" of Punjab, Afghania (erstwhile North-West Frontier Province), Kashmir, Sind, and Baluchistan. Like Iqbal, Bengal was left out of the proposal made by Rahmat Ali.[4]

In the 1940s, as the Indian independence movement intensified, an upsurge of Muslim nationalism helmed by the All-India Muslim League took place, of which Muhammad Ali Jinnah was the most prominent leader.[2]:195–203 Being a political party to secure the interests of the Muslim diaspora in British India, the Muslim League played a decisive role during the 1940s in the Indian independence movement and developed into the driving force behind the creation of Pakistan as a Muslim state in South Asia.[1] During a three-day general session of All-India Muslim League from 22–24 March 1940, a formal political statement was presented, known as the Lahore Resolution, which called on for the creation of an independent state for Muslims.[5] In 1956, 23 March also became the date on which Pakistan transitioned from a dominion to a republic, and is known as Pakistan Day.[6]

Independence[edit]

In 1946, the Labour government in Britain, exhausted by recent events such as World War II and numerous riots, realized that it had neither the mandate at home, the support internationally, nor the reliability of the British Indian Army for continuing to control an increasingly restless British India. The reliability of the native forces for continuing their control over an increasingly rebellious India diminished, and so the government decided to end the British rule of the Indian Subcontinent.[2]:167, 203[7][8][9] In 1946, the Indian National Congress, being a secular party, demanded a single state.[10] The Muslim majorities, who disagreed with the idea of single state, stressed the idea of a separate Pakistan as an alternative.[11]:203 The 1946 Cabinet Mission to India was sent to try to reach a compromise between Congress and the Muslim League, proposing a decentralized state with much power given to local governments, but it was rejected by both of the parties and resulted in a number of riots in South Asia.[12]

Eventually, in February 1947, Prime Minister Clement Attlee announced that the British government would grant full self-governance to British India by June 1948 at the latest.[13] On 3 June 1947, the British government announced that the principle of division of British India into two independent states was accepted.[13] The successor governments would be given dominion status and would have an implicit right to secede from the British Commonwealth. ViceroyMountbatten chose 15 August, the second anniversary of Japan's surrender in the World War II, as the date of power transfer.[14] He chose 14 August as the date of the ceremony of power transfer to Pakistan because he wanted to attend the ceremonies in both India and Pakistan.[14][15]

The Indian Independence Act 1947 (10 & 11 Geo 6 c. 30) passed by the Parliament of the United Kingdom divided British India into the two new independent dominions; the Dominion of India (later to become the Republic of India) and the Dominion of Pakistan (later to become the Islamic Republic of Pakistan). The act provided a mechanism for division of the Bengal and Punjab provinces between the two nations (see partition of India), establishment of the office of the Governor-General, conferral of complete legislative authority upon the respective Constituent Assemblies, and division of joint property between the two new countries.[16][17] The act later received royal assent on 18 July 1947.[13] The partition was accompanied by violent riots and mass casualties, and the displacement of nearly 15 million people due to religious violence across the subcontinent; millions of Muslim, Sikh and Hindu refugees trekked the newly drawn borders to Pakistan and India respectively in the months surrounding independence.[18] On 14 August 1947, the new Dominion of Pakistan became independent and Muhammad Ali Jinnah was sworn in as its first governor general in Karachi.[19] Independence was marked with widespread celebration, but the atmosphere remained heated given the communal riots prevalent during independence in 1947.[2]

The date of independence[edit]

Since the transfer of power took place on the midnight of 14 and 15 August, the Indian Independence Act 1947 recognised 15 August as the birthday of both Pakistan and India. The act states;[20]

"As from the fifteenth day of August, nineteen hundred and forty-seven, two independent Dominions shall be set up in India, to be known respectively as India and Pakistan."

Jinnah in his first broadcast to the nation stated;[21]

"August 15 is the birthday of the independent and sovereign state of Pakistan. It marks the fulfilment of the destiny of the Muslim nation which made great sacrifices in the past few years to have its homeland."

The first commemorative postage stamps of the country, released in July 1948, also gave 15 August1994 as the independence day,[22] however in subsequent years 14 August was adopted as the independence day.[23] This is because Mountbatten administered the independence oath to Jinnah on the 14th, before leaving for India where the oath was scheduled on the midnight of the 15th.[24] The night of 14–15 August 1947 coincided with 27 Ramadan 1366 of the Islamic calendar, which Muslims regard as a sacred night.[25][26]

Celebrations[edit]

See also: Pakistani nationalism

Official celebrations[edit]

The independence day is one of the six public holidays observed in Pakistan and is celebrated all across the country.[27] To prepare and finalise the plans for independence day celebrations, meetings are held in the provincial capitals by local governments which are attended by government officials, diplomats, and politicians. Public organisations, educational institutions, and government departments organise seminars, sports competitions, and social and cultural activities leading up to the independence day.[28] In Karachi, drives are initiated to clean and prepare the Mazar-e-Quaid (Jinnah Mausoleum) for the celebration.[29]

The official festivities take place in Islamabad and commence with the raising of the national flag on the Parliament House and the Presidency followed by a 31-gun salute in the capital[30] and a 21-gun salute in provincial capitals.[31][32] The President and Prime Minister of Pakistan address the nation in live telecasts. Government officials, political leaders and celebrities deliver messages or speeches during rallies, ceremonies and events, highlighting Pakistani achievements, goals set for the future, and praise the sacrifices and efforts of national heroes.[33] Government buildings including the Parliament House, Supreme Court, President House and Prime Minister's Secretariat are decorated and illuminated with lights and bright colours.[34] A change of guard takes place at national monuments by the Armed Forces.[34] The Army, Air Force and Navy feature prominently in independence day parades.[35] In the cities around the country, the flag hoisting ceremony is carried out by the nazim (mayor) belonging to the respective constituency, and at various public and private departments the ceremony is conducted by a senior officer of that organisation.[29] In 2017, the Pakistan International Airlines introduced a special in-flight jam session to entertain passengers traveling on Independence Day, featuring artists singing national songs on-board a domestic flight.[36]

International governments, leaders and public figures also convey their greetings on the occasion.[37][38][39] Overseas dignitaries are invited as chief guests in ceremonies, while foreign military contingents often participate in parades.[40][35] National flags are displayed on major roads and avenues such as Shahrah-e-Faisal, Shahara-e-Quaideen, and Mazar-e-Quaid Road, leading up to Jinnah's mausoleum in Karachi. Minar-e-Pakistan in Lahore, where the Pakistan Resolution was passed in 1940, is fully illuminated on the eve of the independence day to signify its importance in the creation of Pakistan.[29]

Public celebrations[edit]

As the month of August begins, special stalls, fun fairs and shops are set up across the country for the sale of national flags, buntings, banners and posters, badges, pictures of national heroes, multimedia and other celebratory items. Vehicles, private buildings, homes, and streets are decorated with national flags, candles, oil lamps, pennants and buntings.[41][42] Businesses engage in rigorous marketing,[43] as do leading designer fashion outlets which stock independence-themed clothing, jewellery and self-adornments.[44]

The day begins with special prayers for the integrity, solidarity, and development of Pakistan in mosques and religious places across the country.[28] Citizens attending independence day parades and other events are usually dressed in Pakistan’s official colours, green and white.[34] Many people meet their friends and relatives, dine over Pakistani food,[42][45] and visit recreational spots to mark the holiday. Public functions including elaborate firework shows, street parades, seminars, televised transmissions, music and poetry contests, children's shows and art exhibitions are a common part of the celebrations.[34][43][46] Along with flag hoisting, the national anthem is sung at various government places, schools, residences, and monuments on the day, and patriotic slogans such as Pakistan Zindabad are raised.[34] Musical concerts and dance performances are arranged both inside and outside the country, featuring popular artists.[47][43] Homage is paid to the people who lost their lives during the migration and riots which followed independence in 1947, as well as martyrs of the Pakistan Army and recipients of Nishan-e-Haider, and political figures, famous artists and scientists.[47]

Immigrant communities in Pakistan partake in the festivities as well.[48] The Pakistani diaspora around the world organises cultural events to celebrate independence day; public parades are held in cities with large Pakistani populations, such as New York, London and Dubai.[49][50][51][52] In addition, Kashmiris from Jammu and Kashmir who hold pro-Pakistan sentiments are known to observe the day, causing friction with Indian authorities.[53]

Security measures[edit]

Security measures in the country are intensified as the independence day approaches, especially in major cities and in troubled areas. The security is set up after various representatives of intelligence and investigation agencies meet. High alert is declared in sensitive areas such as the country's capital, to restrict security threats.[54] Despite this, there have been instances where attacks have occurred on independence day by insurgents who boycott the celebrations as a part of their protest.[55][56]

On 13 August 2010, the country witnessed floods causing deaths of 1,600 people and affecting 14 million lives. On account of the calamity, the president made an announcement that there would not be any official celebration of the independence day that year.[57]

In popular culture[edit]

See also: Culture of Pakistan

From the beginning of August, radio channels play milli naghmay (patriotic songs) and various TV shows and programmes highlighting the history, culture, and achievements of Pakistan are broadcast. Popular national songs like Dil Dil Pakistan and Jazba-e-Junoon are played and sung all over the country.[58] New patriotic songs are also released each year.[59] The film Jinnah released in 1998 follows the story of Jinnah and details the events leading up to the independence of Pakistan.[60] The events during the independence of Pakistan are depicted in many literary and scholarly works. Khushwant Singh's novel Train to Pakistan,[61]Saadat Hasan Manto's short story Toba Tek Singh,[62] Larry Collins and Dominique Lapierre's book Freedom at Midnight, and poetic works of Faiz Ahmad Faiz chronicle events during the independence of Pakistan. Ali Pur Ka Aeeli by Mumtaz Mufti is an autobiography narrating the account of bringing his family from Batala to Lahore. Khaak aur Khoon (Dirt and Blood) by Naseem Hijazi describes the sacrifices of Muslims of South Asia during independence.[63]Dastaan, a Pakistani drama serial, based on the novel Bano by Razia Butt, also tells the story of Pakistan Movement and events of independence of Pakistan.[64]

Pakistan Post released four commemorative stamps in July 1948 for the country's first independence anniversary. Three of the four stamps depicted places from Pakistan while the fourth stamp depicted a motif. The stamps were inscribed "15th August 1947" because of the prevailing confusion of actual date of independence.[22] In 1997, Pakistan celebrated its 50th anniversary of independence. The State Bank of Pakistan issued a special banknote of rupee 5 depicting the tomb of Baha-ud-din Zakariya on 13 August 1997, commemorating the 50th independence day. On the front of the note a star burst is encircled by Fifty Years Anniversary of Freedom in Urdu and '1947–1997' in numerals.[65]

In November 1997, the 1997 Wills Golden Jubilee Tournament was held in Gaddafi Stadium, Lahore to mark the golden jubilee. During the final of the tournament, Pakistan Cricket Board honoured all the living test cricket captains of Pakistan by parading them in horse-drawn carriages and presenting them with gold medals.[66] On 14 August 2004, Pakistan displayed the largest flag of the time with the dimensions of 340 by 510 feet (100 m × 160 m).[67]

Since 2011, the Google Pakistan homepage has featured special doodles designed with Pakistani symbols to mark Pakistan's Independence Day.[68][69][70][71] Such symbols have included the star and crescent, national monuments and colours, historic and artistic representations, geographic landscapes and other national symbols.[72][73]Facebook allows its users in Pakistan to post an independence day status with a Pakistani flag icon on it; or greets users in the country with a special message on the home page.[74][75]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ abJalal, Ayesha (1994) The Sole Spokesman: Jinnah, the Muslim League and the Demand for Pakistan. Cambridge University Press. ISBN 978-0-521-45850-4
  2. ^ abcdMetcalf, B.; Metcalf, T. R. (9 October 2006). A Concise History of Modern India (2nd ed.). Cambridge University Press. ISBN 978-0-521-68225-1. 
  3. ^Shafique Ali Khan (1987), Iqbal's Concept of Separate North-west Muslim State: A Critique of His Allahabad Address of 1930, Markaz-e-Shaoor-o-Adab, Karachi, OCLC 18970794
  4. ^Choudhary Rahmat Ali, (1933), Now or Never; Are We to Live or Perish Forever?, pamphlet, published 28 January
  5. ^"Lahore resolution". Story of Pakistan: A Multimedia Journey. 1 June 2003. Retrieved 13 August 2012. 
  6. ^John Stewart Bowman (2000). Columbia chronologies of Asian history and culture. Columbia University Press. p. 372. ISBN 978-0-231-11004-4. Retrieved 22 March 2011. 
  7. ^Hyam, Ronald (2006). Britain's declining empire: the road to decolonisation, 1918–1968. Cambridge University Press. p. 106. ISBN 978-0-521-68555-9.  
  8. ^Brown, Judith Margaret (1994). Modern India: the origins of an Asian democracy. Oxford University Press. p. 330. ISBN 978-0-19-873112-2.  
  9. ^Sarkar, Sumit (1983). Modern India, 1885–1947. Macmillan. p. 418. ISBN 978-0-333-90425-1.  
  10. ^Hanson, Eric O. (16 January 2006). Religion and politics in the international system today. Cambridge University Press,. p. 200. ISBN 0-521-61781-2. Retrieved 9 December 2011. 
  11. ^"South Asia | India state bans book on Jinnah". BBC News. 20 August 2009. Retrieved 31 January 2012. 
  12. ^*Wolpert, Stanley. 2006. Shameful Flight: The Last Years of the British Empire in India. Oxford and New York: Oxford University Press. 272 pages. ISBN 0-19-515198-4.
  13. ^ abcRomein, Jan (1962). The Asian Century: a History of Modern Nationalism in Asia. University of California Press. p. 357. ASIN B000PVLKY4. Retrieved 24 July 2012. 
  14. ^ abRead, Anthony; Fisher, David (1 July 1999). The Proudest Day: India's Long Road to Independence. W. W. Norton & Company. p. 459. ISBN 978-0-393-31898-2. Retrieved 4 August 2012. 
  15. ^"India and Pakistan celebrate Independence Day". The Telegraph (UK). Retrieved 13 August 2012. 
  16. ^"Indian Independence Act 1947". The National Archives, Her Majesty's Government. Retrieved 17 July 2012. 
  17. ^Laird, Kathleen Fenner (2007). Whose Islam? Pakistani women's political action groups speak out (PhD). Washington University. Retrieved 7 February 2012. 
  18. ^Keay, John (2000). India: A History. Grove Press. p. 508. ISBN 9780802137975.  
  19. ^"A call to duty". Government of Pakistan. Archived from the original on 28 October 2006. Retrieved 7 January 2007. 
  20. ^"Chapter 30"(PDF). Indian Independence Act, 1947. p. 3. Retrieved 14 August 2012. 
  21. ^"Pakistan coinage: 1947 – 1948". Chiefa Coins. Retrieved 14 August 2012. 
  22. ^ abZahedi, Mahbub Jamal (1997). Fifty years of Pakistan stamps. Sanna Publications. p. 17. 
  23. ^M,I, Choudhary (2006–2007). The Most Comprehensive Colour Catalogue Pakistan Postage Stamps (11 ed.). Lahore, Pakistan. p. 26. 
  24. ^Farooqui, Tashkeel Ahmed; Sheikh, Ismail (15 August 2016). "Was Pakistan created on August 14 or 15?". The Express Tribune. 
  25. ^Bhatti, M. Waqar. "Independence Day: muted affair?". The News International. Retrieved 13 August 2012. 
  26. ^Tariq Majeed. "7". THE DIVINE IMPRINT ON THE BIRTH OF PAKISTAN.  
  27. ^Malik, Iftikhar Haider (2006). Culture and customs of Pakistan (Illustrated ed.). Greenwood Publishing Group. p. 152. ISBN 9780313331268. Retrieved 14 August 2012. 
  28. ^ ab"All set to celebrate I-Day". The Nation (Pakistani newspaper). 13 August 2012. Retrieved 13 August 2012. 
  29. ^ abcSanain. "Independence Day Of Pakistan: Its History and Celebrations". Allvoices. Retrieved 13 August 2012. 
  30. ^"Independence Day: President, PM call for unity | Pakistan". Dawn (newspaper). 14 August 2011. Retrieved 1 January 2012. 
  31. ^"Pakistani leaders call for unity on independence day". Xinhua News Agency. 14 August 2011. Retrieved 13 August 2012. 
  32. ^"Pakistan turns green for Independence Day celebrations". The Express Tribune. 14 August 2012. Retrieved 14 August 2012. 
  33. ^"14th August–independence day of Pakistan". Asian-women-magazine.com. Retrieved 1 January 2012. 
  34. ^ abcde"Independence day in Pakistan". Timeanddate. Retrieved 13 August 2012. 
  35. ^ abAnwar, Shahzad (14 August 2017). "All set to celebrate Independence Day". The Express Tribune. Retrieved 14 August 2017. 
  36. ^"Leo Twins surprise passengers on PIA flight with 'Dil Dil Pakistan'". The Nation. 14 August 2017. Retrieved 14 August 2017. 
  37. ^"Statement by the Prime Minister of Canada on Pakistan's Independence Day". Prime Minister of Canada. 14 August 2016. Retrieved 14 August 2016. 
  38. ^"Statement by the President on Pakistan's Independence Day". White House. 13 August 2010. Retrieved 14 August 2016. 
  39. ^"Modi extends greetings to Pakistanis on Independence Day". The Express Tribune. 14 August 2015. Retrieved 14 August 2016. 
  40. ^"Chinese Vice Premier arrives in Pakistan for Independence Day celebrations". The Hindu. 13 August 2017. Retrieved 14 August 2017. 
  41. ^Muhammad, Peer (11 August 2011). "Independence day: prepping for celebrations as the city slumbers in Ramazan". The Express Tribune. Karachi. Retrieved 13 August 2012. 
  42. ^ abWaseem, Natasha (12 August 2017). "Pakistanis outside Pakistan: What August 14 means to them". The Express Tribune. Retrieved 14 August 2017. 
  43. ^ abc"Preparations to mark 70th Independence Day in full swing". The News. 12 August 2017. Retrieved 14 August 2017.
Jinnah chairing a session in Muslim League general session, where Pakistan Resolution was passed.
Cover of a press release; "Independence Anniversary Series" by the Press Information Department of Pakistan, in 1948 in relation to the country's first independence day which was celebrated on 15 August 1948.

The change of guard ceremony takes place at various monuments throughout the country. Here the Pakistan Navy cadets salute the tomb of the father of the nation, Muhammad Ali Jinnah

Girls lighting candles at midnight to celebrate the day

An office building in Islamabad illuminated by decorative lighting

"Fifteenth of August" redirects here. For other uses, see 15 August.

Independence Day of India

The national flag of India hoisted on the Red Fort in Delhi; hoisted flag is a common sight on public and private buildings on Independence Day.

Observed by India
TypeNational
SignificanceCommemorates the independence of India
CelebrationsFlag Hoisting, parade, fireworks, Singing Patriotic Songs and the national anthem, Speech by the Prime Minister and President of India
Date15 August
Next time15 August 2018 (2018-08-15)
FrequencyAnnual

Part of a series on the

History of India

Independence Day is annually celebrated on 15 August, as a national holiday in India commemorating the nation's independence from the United Kingdom on 15 August 1947, the UK Parliament passed the Indian Independence Act 1947 transferring legislative sovereignty to the Indian Constituent Assembly. India still retained King George VI as head of state until its transition to full republican constitution. India attained independence following the Independence Movement noted for largely nonviolent resistance and civil disobedience led by the Indian National Congress (INC). Independence coincided with the partition of India, in which the British India was divided along religious lines into the Dominions of India and Pakistan; the partition was accompanied by violent riots and mass casualties, and the displacement of nearly 15 million people due to religious violence. On 15 August 1947, the Prime Minister, Jawaharlal Nehru raised the Indian national flag above the Lahori Gate of the Red Fort in Delhi. On each subsequent Independence Day, the prime minister customarily raises the flag and gives an address to the nation.[1]

The holiday is observed throughout India with flag-hoisting ceremonies, parades and cultural events. There is a national holiday, and schools and government offices distribute sweets, but no official work is done.[2][3]

History[edit]

Main article: Indian independence movement

European traders had established outposts in the Indian subcontinent by the 17th century. Through overwhelming military strength, the British East India company subdued local kingdoms and established themselves as the dominant force by the 18th century. Following the First War of Independence of 1857, the Government of India Act 1858 led the British Crown to assume direct control of India. In the decades following, civic society gradually emerged across India, most notably the Indian National Congress Party, formed in 1885.[4][5]:123 The period after World War I was marked by British reforms such as the Montagu–Chelmsford Reforms, but it also witnessed the enactment of the repressive Rowlatt Act and calls for self-rule by Indian activists. The discontent of this period crystallised into nationwide non-violent movements of non-cooperation and civil disobedience, led by Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi.[5]:167

During the 1930 s, reform was gradually legislated by the British; Congress won victories in the resulting elections.[5]:195–197 The next decade was beset with political turmoil: Indian participation in World War II, the Congress' final push for non-cooperation, and an upsurge of Muslim nationalism led by the All-India Muslim League. The escalating political tension was capped by Independence in 1947. The jubilation was tempered by the bloody partition of the subcontinent into India and Pakistan.[5]:203

Independence Day before Independence[edit]

At the 1929 Lahore session of the Indian National Congress, the Purna Swaraj declaration, or "Declaration of the Independence of India" was promulgated,[6] and 15 August was declared as Independence Day.[6] The Congress called on people to pledge themselves to civil disobedience and "to carry out the Congress instructions issued from time to time" until India attained complete independence.[7] Celebration of such an Independence Day was envisioned to stoke nationalistic fervour among Indian citizens, and to force the British government to consider granting independence.[8]:19 The Congress observed 26 January as the Independence Day between 1930 and 1946.[9][10] The celebration was marked by meetings where the attendants took the "pledge of independence".[8]:19–20 Jawaharlal Nehru described in his autobiography that such meetings were peaceful, solemn, and "without any speeches or exhortation".[11] Gandhi envisaged that besides the meetings, the day would be spent "... in doing some constructive work, whether it is spinning, or service of 'untouchables,' or reunion of Hindus and Mussalmans, or prohibition work, or even all these together".[12] Following actual independence in 1947, the Constitution of India came into effect on and from 26 January 1950; since then 26 January is celebrated as Republic Day.

Immediate background[edit]

In 1946, the Labour government in Britain, its exchequer exhausted by the recently concluded World War II, realised that it had neither the mandate at home, the international support, nor the reliability of native forces for continuing to control an increasingly restless India.[5]:203[13][14][15] In February 1947, Prime Minister Clement Attlee announced that the British government would grant full self-governance to British India by June 1948 at the latest.[16]

The new viceroy, Lord Mountbatten, advanced the date for the transfer of power, believing the continuous contention between the Congress and the Muslim League might lead to a collapse of the interim government.[17] He chose the second anniversary of Japan's surrender in World War II, 15 August, as the date of power transfer.[17] The British government announced on 3 June 1947 that it had accepted the idea of partitioning British India into two states;[16] the successor governments would be given dominion status and would have an implicit right to secede from the British Commonwealth. The Indian Independence Act 1947 (10 & 11 Geo 6 c. 30) of the Parliament of the United Kingdom partitioned British India into the two new independent dominions of India and Pakistan (including what is now Bangladesh) with effect from 15 August 1947, and granted complete legislative authority upon the respective constituent assemblies of the new countries.[18] The Act received royal assent on 18 July 1947.

Partition and independence[edit]

08.30 a.m. Swearing in of governor general and ministers at
Government House
09.40 a.m. Procession of ministers to Constituent Assembly
09.50 a.m. State drive to Constituent Assembly
09.55 a.m. Royal salute to governor general
10.30 a.m. Hoisting of national flag at Constituent Assembly
10.35 a.m. State drive to Government House
06.00 p.m. Flag ceremony at India Gate
07.00 p.m. Illuminations
07.45 p.m. Fireworks display
08.45 p.m. Official dinner at Government House
10.15 p.m. Reception at Government office.

The day's programme for 15 August 1947[19]:7

Millions of Muslim, Sikh and Hindu refugees trekked the newly drawn borders in the months surrounding independence.[20] In Punjab, where the borders divided the Sikh regions in halves, massive bloodshed followed; in Bengal and Bihar, where Mahatma Gandhi's presence assuaged communal tempers, the violence was mitigated. In all, between 250,000 and 1,000,000 people on both sides of the new borders died in the violence.[21] While the entire nation was celebrating the Independence Day, Gandhi stayed in Calcutta in an attempt to stem the carnage.[22] On 14 August 1947, the Independence Day of Pakistan, the new Dominion of Pakistan came into being; Muhammad Ali Jinnah was sworn in as its first Governor General in Karachi.

The Constituent Assembly of India met for its fifth session at 11 pm on 14 August in the Constitution Hall in New Delhi.[23] The session was chaired by the president Rajendra Prasad. In this session, Jawaharlal Nehru delivered the Tryst with Destiny speech proclaiming India's independence.

Long years ago we made a tryst with destiny, and now the time comes when we shall redeem our pledge, not wholly or in full measure, but very substantially. 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, when an age ends, and when the soul of a nation, long suppressed, finds utterance. It is fitting that at this solemn moment, we take the pledge of dedication to the service of India and her people and to the still larger cause of humanity.

— Tryst with Destiny speech, Jawaharlal Nehru, 15 August 1947[24]

The members of the Assembly formally took the pledge of being in the service of the country. A group of women, representing the women of India, formally presented the national flag to the assembly.

The Dominion of India became an independent country as official ceremonies took place in New Delhi. Nehru assumed office as the first prime minister, and the viceroy, Lord Mountbatten, continued as its first governor general.[19]:6 Gandhi's name was invoked by crowds celebrating the occasion; Gandhi himself however took no part in the official events. Instead, he marked the day with a 24-hour fast, during which he spoke to a crowd in Calcutta, encouraging peace between Hindu and Muslim.[19]:10

Celebration[edit]

Independence Day, one of the three National holidays in India (the other two being the Republic Day on 26 January and Mahatma Gandhi's birthday on 2 October), is observed in all Indian states and union territories. On the eve of Independence Day, the President of India delivers the "Address to the Nation". On 15 August, the prime minister hoists the Indian flag on the ramparts of the historical site Red Fort in Delhi. Twenty-one gun shots are fired in honour of the solemn occasion.[25] In his speech, the prime minister highlights the past year's achievements, raises important issues and calls for further development. He pays tribute to the leaders of the Indian independence movement. The Indian national anthem, "Jana Gana Mana", is sung. The speech is followed by march past of divisions of the Indian Armed Forces and paramilitary forces. Parades and pageants showcase scenes from the independence struggle and India's diverse cultural traditions. Similar events take place in state capitals where the Chief Ministers of individual states unfurl the national flag, followed by parades and pageants.[26][27]

Flag hoisting ceremonies and cultural programmes take place in governmental and non-governmental institutions throughout the country.[28] Schools and colleges conduct flag hoisting ceremonies and cultural events. Major government buildings are often adorned with strings of lights.[29] In Delhi and some other cities, kite flying adds to the occasion.[25][30] National flags of different sizes are used abundantly to symbolise allegiance to the country.[31] Citizens adorn their clothing, wristbands, cars, household accessories with replicas of the tri-colour.[31] Over a period of time, the celebration has changed emphasis from nationalism to a broader celebration of all things India.[32][33]

The Indian diaspora celebrates Independence Day around the world with parades and pageants, particularly in regions with higher concentrations of Indian immigrants.[34] In some locations, such as New York and other US cities, 15 August has become "India Day" among the diaspora and the local populace. Pageants celebrate "India Day" either on 15 August or an adjoining weekend day.[35]

Security threats[edit]

As early as three years after independence, the Naga National Council called for a boycott of Independence Day in northeast India.[36] Separatist protests in this region intensified in the 1980s; calls for boycotts and terrorist attacks by insurgent organisations such as the United Liberation Front of Assam and the National Democratic Front of Bodoland, marred celebrations.[37] With increasing insurgency in Jammu and Kashmir from the late 1980s,[38] separatist protesters boycotted Independence Day there with bandh (strikes), use of black flags and by flag burning.[39][40][41] Terrorist outfits such as Lashkar-e-Taiba, the Hizbul Mujahideen and the Jaish-e-Mohammed have issued threats, and have carried out attacks around Independence Day.[42] Boycotting of the celebration has also been advocated by insurgent Maoist rebel organisations.[43][44]

In the anticipation of terrorist attacks, particularly from militants, security measures are intensified, especially in major cities such as Delhi and Mumbai and in troubled states such as Jammu and Kashmir.[45][46] The airspace around the Red Fort is declared a no-fly zone to prevent aerial attacks[47] and additional police forces are deployed in other cities.[48]

In popular culture[edit]

On Independence Day and Republic Day, patriotic songs in regional languages are broadcast on television and radio channels.[49] They are also played alongside flag hoisting ceremonies.[49] Patriotic films are broadcast.[28] Over the decades, according to The Times of India, the number of such films broadcast has decreased as channels report that audiences are oversaturated with patriotic films.[50] The population cohort that belong to the Generation Next often combine nationalism with popular culture during the celebrations. This mixture is exemplified by outfits and savouries dyed with the tricolour and designer garments that represent India's various cultural traditions.[32][51] Retail stores offer Independence Day sales promotions.[52][53] Some news reports have decried the commercialism.[52][54][55]Indian Postal Service publishes commemorative stamps depicting independence movement leaders, nationalistic themes and defence-related themes on 15 August.[56]

Independence and partition inspired literary and other artistic creations.[57] Such creations mostly describe the human cost of partition, limiting the holiday to a small part of their narrative.[58][59]Salman Rushdie's novel Midnight's Children (1980), which won the Booker Prize and the Booker of Bookers, wove its narrative around children born at midnight of 14–15 August 1947 with magical abilities.[59]Freedom at Midnight (1975) is a non-fiction work by Larry Collins and Dominique Lapierre that chronicled the events surrounding the first Independence Day celebrations in 1947. Few films centre on the moment of independence,[60][61][62] instead highlighting the circumstances of partition and its aftermath.[60][63][64] On the Internet, Google has commemorated Independence Day since 2003 with a special doodle on its Indian homepage.[65]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^PTI (15 August 2013). "Manmohan first PM outside Nehru-Gandhi clan to hoist flag for 10th time"Archived 21 December 2013 at the Wayback Machine.. The Hindu. Retrieved 30 August 2013.
  2. ^"Terror strike feared in Delhi ahead of Independence Day : MM-National, News – India Today". Indiatoday.intoday.in. 5 August 2015. Archived from the original on 7 August 2015. Retrieved 13 August 2015. 
  3. ^"69th Independence Day: Security Tightened at Red Fort as Terror Threat Looms Large on PM Modi". Ibtimes.co.in. 28 February 2015. Archived from the original on 14 August 2015. Retrieved 13 August 2015. 
  4. ^government, Sumit (1983). Modern India, 1885–1947. Macmillan. pp. 1–4. ISBN 978-0-333-90425-1. 
  5. ^ abcdeMetcalf, B.; Metcalf, T. R. (9 October 2006). A Concise History of Modern India (2nd ed.). Cambridge University Press. ISBN 978-0-521-68225-1. 
  6. ^ abWolpert, Stanley A. (12 October 1999). India. University of California Press. p. 204. ISBN 978-0-520-22172-7. Archived from the original on 9 May 2013. Retrieved 20 July 2012. 
  7. ^Datta, V. N. (2006). "India's Independence Pledge". In Gandhi, Kishore. India's Date with Destiny. Allied Publishers. pp. 34–39. ISBN 978-81-7764-932-1.  
  8. ^ abGuha, Ramachandra (12 August 2008). India After Gandhi: The History of the World's Largest Democracy. Harper Collins. ISBN 978-0-06-095858-9. Archived from the original on 31 December 2013. Retrieved 23 August 2012. 
  9. ^Vohra, Ranbir (2001). The Making of India: a Historical Survey. M. E. Sharpe. p. 148. ISBN 978-0-7656-0711-9. Archived from the original on 11 January 2014. Retrieved 20 July 2012. 
  10. ^Ramaseshan, Radhika (26 January 2012). "Why January 26: the History of the Day". The Telegraph. Archived from the original on 20 January 2013. Retrieved 19 July 2012. 
  11. ^Nehru, Jawaharlal (1989). Jawaharlal Nehru, An Autobiography: With Musings on Recent Events in India. Bodley Head. p. 209. ISBN 978-0-370-31313-9. Archived from the original on 26 June 2014. Retrieved 26 August 2012. 
  12. ^Gandhi, (Mahatma) (1970). Collected Works of Mahatma Gandhi. 42. Publications Division, Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, Government of India. pp. 398–400. Archived from the original on 26 June 2014. Retrieved 26 August 2012. 
  13. ^Hyam, Ronald (2006). Britain's Declining Empire: the Road to Decolonisation, 1918–1968. Cambridge University Press. p. 106. ISBN 978-0-521-68555-9.  
  14. ^Brown, Judith Margaret (1994). Modern India: the Origins of an Asian Democracy. Oxford University Press. p. 330. ISBN 978-0-19-873112-2.  
  15. ^Sarkar, Sumit (1983). Modern India, 1885–1947. Macmillan. p. 418. ISBN 978-0-333-90425-1.  
  16. ^ abRomein, Jan (1962). The Asian Century: a History of Modern Nationalism in Asia. University of California Press. p. 357. ASIN B000PVLKY4. Archived from the original on 26 June 2014. Retrieved 24 July 2012. 
  17. ^ abRead, Anthony; Fisher, David (1 July 1999). The Proudest Day: India's Long Road to Independence. W. W. Norton & Company. pp. 459–60. ISBN 978-0-393-31898-2. Archived from the original on 21 September 2013. Retrieved 4 August 2012. 
  18. ^"Indian Independence Act 1947". The National Archives, Her Majesty's Government. Archived from the original on 30 June 2012. Retrieved 17 July 2012. 
  19. ^ abcGuha, Rama Chandra (2007). India After Gandhi: The History of the World's Largest Democracy. London: Macmillan. ISBN 978-0-230-01654-5. 
  20. ^Keay, John (2000). India: A History. Grove Press. p. 508. ISBN 9780802137975.  
  21. ^DeRouen, Karl; Heo, Uk (28 March 2007). Civil Wars of the World: Major Conflicts since World War II. ABC-CLIO. pp. 408–414. ISBN 978-1-85109-919-1. Archived from the original on 26 June 2014. Retrieved 24 July 2012. 
  22. ^Alexander, Horace (1 August 2007). "A miracle in Calcutta". Prospect. Archived from the original on 9 May 2013. Retrieved 27 July 2012. 
  23. ^"Constituent Assembly of India Volume V". Parliament of India. Archived from the original on 4 September 2013. Retrieved 15 August 2013. 
  24. ^"Jawaharlal Nehru (1889–1964): Speech On the Granting of Indian Independence, August 14, 1947". Fordham University. Archived from the original on 18 August 2012. Retrieved 26 July 2012. 
  25. ^ ab"Independence Day". Government of India. Archived from the original on 6 April 2012. Retrieved 18 July 2012. 
  26. ^"India Celebrates Its 66th Independence Day". Outlook. 15 August 2012. Archived from the original on 20 August 2012. Retrieved 20 August 2012. 
  27. ^"Barring Northeast, Peaceful I-Day Celebrations across India (State Roundup, Combining Different Series)". Monsters and Critics. 15 August 2007. Archived from the original on 29 January 2013. Retrieved 21 July 2012. 
  28. ^ abGupta, K. R.; Gupta, Amita (1 January 2006). Concise Encyclopaedia of India. Atlantic Publishers. p. 1002. ISBN 978-81-269-0639-0. Archived from the original on 26 June 2014. Retrieved 20 July 2012. 
  29. ^"Independence Day Celebration". Government of India. Archived from the original on 15 December 2011. Retrieved 17 July 2012. 
  30. ^Bhattacharya, Suryatapa (15 August 2011). "Indians Still Battling it out on Independence Day". The National. Archived from the original on 22 November 2012. Retrieved 20 July 2012. 
  31. ^ ab"When India Wears its Badge of Patriotism with Pride". DNA. 15 August 2007. Archived from the original on 1 November 2012. Retrieved 22 July 2012. 
  32. ^ abAnsari, Shabana (15 August 2011). "Independence Day: For GenNext, It's Cool to Flaunt Patriotism". DNA. Archived from the original on 1 November 2012. Retrieved 20 July 2012. 
  33. ^Dutta Sachdeva, Sujata; Mathur, Neha (14 August 2005). "It's Cool to Be Patriotic: GenNow". The Times of India. Retrieved 25 July 2012.

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