On the 15th of August every year, Independence Day is celebrated, a day when we proudly celebrate the attainment of our freedom from the British, a day when we salute the brave hearts who laid down their lives for our freedom and of course, a day when we soak in the patriotic fervour and resolve to do something for our country throughout the year ahead. On the 15th of August, 1947, Jawaharlal Nehru, the first Indian Prime Minister, raised the Indian national flag above the Red Fort’s Lahori Gate in Delhi.
On the eve of our 72nd Independence Day, here are a few interesting facts and people that you might not have known about :
- The National Flag was hoisted first on the 7th of August, 1906 at Calcutta’s Parsee Bagan Square. The flag had horizontal yellow, red and green strips and they represented the key religions.
- Cyril John Radcliffe set the initial boundary lines between India and Pakistan.
- We share our independence day with South Korea, the Republic of Congo and Liechtenstein.
- Pakistan’s Independence Day was carried forward to the 14th of August since Lord Mountbatten was under pressure to attend both the Independence Day ceremonies of Pakistan and India.
- Mahatma Gandhi, the Father of the Nation, did not participate in the first Independence Day ceremony. He chose to fast as a protest against Hindu-Muslim riots in Bengal.
- While 15th August was our Independence Day, the partition happened two days later.
- Goa was still a Portuguese State when India attained independence.
- The national initially had only the green and saffron colours but Mahatma Gandhi suggested the introduction of a central white strip with the Ashok Chakra.
Coming to unsung heroes who played a vital role in the freedom movement, here are some who you would do well to look up:
- Rani Gaidinliu – This Naga political revolutionary commanded a revolt against British rule and joined the Heraka religious movement at only 13 years of age which aimed at keeping the British away from Naga regions like Manipur. She was arrested at the age of 16 and given life imprisonment by the British rulers. She got the Rani title from Nehru himself and was released in the year 1947. She is also a Padma Bhushan winner.
- Tirot Sing – Tirot Sing was one of the Khasi chiefs back in the early 18th century, fighting against the attempts of the British to conquer the Khasi Hills. He died in the year 1835 in battle against the imperial rulers.
- Benoy, Badal and Dinesh – The famous trio attacked Dalhousie Square and killed the notorious Colonel N.S. Simpson, Inspector General of Prisons, who tortured prisoners brutally. However, Badal Gupta took poison while Benoy Basu and Dinesh Gupta shot themselves to avoid being captured by the British. Dalhousie Square is now called B.B.D. Bagh after them.
- Surya Sen – The famous Masterda, Surya Sen is famous for leading the Chittagong Armory Raid. He led a 64-member group which captured the Police Armory and destroyed all the telegraph lines and telephones and dislocated railway lines to and from Chittagong. They then declared the town as the Raj of Mahatma Gandhi and hoisted the tricolour. They were eventually overthrown by the British and Sen was finally hanged.
We hope you have enough to make you think and reach out for more information! Wishing you all a very Happy Independence Day!