On 15th August 2022, India is going to celebrate its 75th year of freedom. To mark the event, the government of India is organizing several events under “Azadi Ka Amrit Mohatsav.” The theme for this Mahotsav is “Nation first, always first.” The government also aims to hoist 200 million Tricolours to mark the special occasion. The day is special for all Indians. The Prime Minister, yet again on the 75th year of freedom, is going to address the nation from the Red Fort in Delhi.
Britishers ruled over us for almost 200 years. It was a series of long sacrifices and a lot of courage from every Indian that helped gain us gain independence. But do you ever wonder why only 15 August was chosen as the date of our independence? Read on to know.
Poorna Swaraj: 26th January
You would be surprised to know that the initial decided date for independence was the 26th of January. In 1929, the then congress president Jawaharlal Nehru called for ‘Poorna Swaraj,’ meaning complete independence from the shackles of Britishers. Interestingly, from 1930 onwards, INC continued to celebrate 26 January as independence day till India actually gained sovereignty. However, it was the way the events unfolded that gave us August 15 as the Indian independence day. Meanwhile, in the year 1950, January 26 became Republic Day, marking the day the Indian constitution came into effect.
How August 15 Became India’s Independence Day?
Even as the struggle for Independence raged in India, the Britishers were reeling from the aftermath of World War II, which ended in 1945. When the Labour Party came into effect in 1945, Britain was a financially drained nation. Therefore talks of granting independence to British colonies, including India, grew louder.
In 1947, Lord Mountbatten took over as the last viceroy of India. The British parliament bestowed him with the duty of overseeing the transfer of power to India by June 30, 1948. But with the constant rise in communal tension and acts of violence in the country, he decided to expedite the process. Thus, he chose August 15 as the date of independence. Another justification he gave for choosing August 15 was to mark the second anniversary of Japan’s surrender in World War 2.
What Was Japan’s Roleplay In Deciding The Date?
As per the wordings of Mountbatten and as quoted in Freedom at Midnight, “The date I chose came out of the blue. I chose it in reply to a question. I was determined to show I was the master of the whole event. When they asked if we had set a date, I knew it had to be soon. I hadn’t worked it out exactly then — I thought it had to be about August or September, and I then went out to August 15. Why? Because it was the second anniversary of Japan’s surrender.”
During WWII, the nuclear bomb attacks on Hiroshima and Nagasaki on August 6 and 9 severely damaged Japan. Therefore, Japan surrendered on August 15, 1945, to the Allies. It was the last of all the Axis powers to surrender to opposition powers.
The Indian Independence Bill was introduced in the British House of Commons on July 4, 1947. Within a fortnight, it was passed. The bill called for the end of British rule in India and the creation of two separate nations. India and Pakistan, respectively.
Why Pakistan’s Independence Day Is On 14th August?
The Indian independence Bill was signed off on August 15 as the date of independence for both India and Pakistan. In fact, in his first address, Jinnah said. “August 15 is the birthday of Pakistan’s independent and sovereign state. It marks the fulfillment of the destiny of the Muslim nation, which made great sacrifices in the past few years to have its homeland.”
However, by 1948 Pakistan was celebrating its independence day on the 14th of August. One reason could be that the ceremony for the transfer of power in Karachi was held on August 14, 1947. And the other was August 14, 1947, the 27th of Ramadan, a holy and precious date for them.
To sum it up, independence was a hard-fought earning for both India and Pakistan. Special thanks to all our freedom fighters. And this year, they are cherishing their sovereignty. We wish both nations a very happy 75th year of freedom!