Independence Day, observed annually on 15
August, is a national holiday in India
commemorating the nation's independence from
Kingdom of Great Britain [Commonly known as
United Kingdom] on 15 August 1947. India
attained independence following an
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 Indian Empire 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 sectarian violence.
On 15 August 1947, Jawaharlal Nehru , who had
become the first Prime Minister of India that
day, raised the Indian national flag above the
Lahore Gate of the Red Fort in Delhi. On each
subsequent Independence Day, the Prime
Minister has raised the flag and given a speech.
The holiday is observed throughout India with
flag-hoisting ceremonies, parades and cultural
events. Indians celebrate the day by displaying
the national flag on their attire, accessories,
homes and vehicles; by listening to patriotic
songs, watching patriotic movies; and bonding
with family and friends. Books and films feature
the independence and partition in their
narrative. Separatist and militant organisations
have often carried out terrorist attacks on and
around 15 August, and others have declared
strikes and used black flags to boycott the
Main article: Indian independence movement
European traders had established outposts on
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 Rebellion 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 , formed in
1885.  :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
crystallized into nationwide non-violent
movements of non-cooperation and civil
disobedience, led by Mohandas Karamchand
Gandhi .  :167
During the 1930s, reform was gradually
legislated by the British; Congress won victories
in the resulting elections.  :195–197 The next
decade was beset with political turmoil: Indian
participation in World War II , the Congress's
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.
Independence Day before Independence
At the 1929 Lahore session of the Indian
National Congress, the Purna Swaraj
declaration, or "Declaration of the Independence
of India" was promulgated,  and 26 January
was declared as Independence Day.  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.  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.  :19
The Congress observed 26 January as the
Independence Day between 1930 and 1947. 
 The celebration was marked by meetings
where the attendants took the "pledge of
independence".  :19–20 Jawaharlal Nehru
described in his autobiography that such
meetings were peaceful, solemn, and "without
any speeches or exhortation".  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".  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
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.  :203
 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. 
The new viceroy , Louis 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.  He chose the
second anniversary of Japan's surrender in
World War II, 15 August, as the date of power
transfer.  The British government announced
on 3 June 1947 that it had accepted the idea of
partitioning British India into two states;  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.  The Act received royal assent on
18 July 1947.
Partition and independence
Millions of Muslim, Sikh, and Hindu refugees
trekked across the newly drawn borders in the
months surrounding independence.  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.  While the
entire nation was celebrating the Independence
Day, Gandhi stayed in Calcutta in an attempt to
stem the carnage.  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.  The session
was chaired by the president Rajendra Prasad .
In this session, Jawaharlal Nehru delivered the
Tryst with Destiny speech proclaiming India's
“ 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
—Tryst with Destiny speech, Jawaharlal
Nehru, 15 August 1947 
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
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.  :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.  :10
Indian flags on a bicycle on the
Independence Day in Siliguri in West
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.  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. 
A child holding the Indian national flag.
Flag hoisting ceremonies and cultural
programmes take place in governmental and
non-governmental institutions throughout the
country.  Schools and colleges conduct flag
hoisting ceremonies and cultural events. Major
government buildings are often adorned with
strings of lights.  In Delhi and some other
cities, kite flying adds to the occasion. 
National flags of different sizes are used
abundantly to symbolise allegiance to the
country.  Citizens adorn their clothing,
wristbands, cars, household accessories with
replicas of the tri-colour.  Over a period of
time, the celebration has changed emphasis
from nationalism to a broader celebration of all
things India. 
The Indian diaspora celebrates Independence
Day around the world with parades and
pageants, particularly in regions with higher
concentrations of Indian immigrants.  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.  South
Korea, is a country which celebrates its
Independence Day on fifteenth august
As early as three years after independence, the
Naga National Council called for a boycott of
Independence Day in the northeast. 
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.  With increasing insurgency in
Jammu and Kashmir from the late 1980s, 
separatist protesters boycotted Independence
Day there with bandh (strikes), use of black
flags and by flag burning.  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.  Boycotting of the
celebration has also been advocated by
insurgent Maoist rebel organisations. 
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.  The
airspace around the Red Fort is declared a no-
fly zone to prevent aerial attacks  and
additional police forces are deployed in other
In popular culture
On Independence Day and Republic Day,
patriotic songs in Hindi and regional languages
are broadcast on television and radio channels.
 They are also played alongside flag
hoisting ceremonies.  Patriotic films are
broadcast.  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.  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.  Retail stores offer
Independence Day sales promotions. 
Some news reports have decried the
Indian Postal Service publishes commemorative
stamps depicting independence movement
leaders, nationalistic themes and defence-
related themes on 15 August.  Independence
and partition inspired literary and other artistic
creations in many languages.  Such
creations mostly describe the human cost of
partition, limiting the holiday to a small part of
their narrative.  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. 
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 center on the moment of independence,
 instead highlighting the
circumstances of partition and its aftermath. 
 On the Internet, Google has
commemorated Independence Day since 2003
with a special doodle on its Indian homepage.
Independence Day (Pakistan)
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Wednesday, August 6, 2014
History of independence day
Independence Day, observed annually on 15
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